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Paul Rohrbacher

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About Paul Rohrbacher

  • Birthday 01/12/1939

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  • Location
    Scotch Grove Iowa
  • Interests
    Blacksmithing, tool making,Woodturning, Hunting, Fishing

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  1. Thank everyone for identifying the cause of my forge explosion, (I have been formally initiated into a large Forge Explosion Club). I ask very knowledgeable Blacksmiths about the explosion. (Interesting, that all experienced the same forge explosion under the same set of conditions.) The forge explosion is caused by adding green or wet coal over a hot fire and not running the blower. I received a response from this forum, Mark Aspery and from ABANA, Bob Valentine. All the responses are basically the same, keep the blower going when green/wet coal is added to the fire. The green coal over a hot fire will make a lot of smoke. The smoke is flammable and will burn the top of the fire. The flammable smoke coming off the top of the fire didn't cause the explosion, this smoke goes up the chimney or burns off. Explosion conditions: The input to the fire is the problem causing the explosion, adding green/wet coal with no air supply. Coal gases formed which is heavier than air so it settles in the lowest part of the forge system, the tuyere, flex air tube and blower. Turn the blower on and Boom! From what I have read since my explosion, the Bellows were always placed high above the forge. If the bellows were placed at or below the forge fire, the coal gas would no only fill the air tube but the large volume of the Bellows.. A Bellows full of coal gas made a very spectacular, damaging and deadly explosion Conclusion: To prevent the Side Blast Forge from exploding after adding green/wet coal , keep the blower running for a positive air flow. Using a plate over the fire hot spot increases the heat of the fire, ( something I have been doing this year with very positive results). The plate over the fire reflects some of the escaping heat back into the fire, making the fire hotter. I have been experimenting lately with using a Fire Brick over the fire which appearers to works a little better than the steel plate. If any one reading about covering the fire with a plate or fire brick, tried this procedure and have either positive or negative results, please respond to report your findings.
  2. F This is the forge. The blower is connected to the tuyere by a long flex hose. This is the hood/chimney sucking the flames from my start up fire. This picture shows a little smoke being drawn into the hood. Today, the green coal was putting a significant volume of smoke! For the third time today, I fired up my just finished Side Blast forge. I had a good fire going and decided to add a couple shovel full of Bituminous Coal. I was getting a lot of smoke from the new coal that was placed around the edge of the fire to coke up. Since the Blower was off at the time I did a few tasks around the shop. The Supper Sucker Hood was doing a wonderful job of pulling the huge volume of smoke from the newly added coal . I turned the blower on and BOOM! My guess is the coal gas from the new coal had backed up back thru the Tuyere and into the Blower. The BOOM was as loud as a 22. pistol shot. There wasn't any flying red hot coal luckily. I have heard of coal forges exploding but never thought about it as a problem. If the explosion had been bigger, the red hot coal could have sprayed all over the shop and Nr. 1, me. Has any of you had a similar experience? What do you suggest to prevent the coal gas explosion in the future?
  3. From what I have read, Brass wasn't available during the Viking times. Bronze was the metal that they had to use. If the Brass was exposed to Ammonia fumes it would tarnish in a few hours to look like old Bronze. I have a good supply of Copper Sheeting and old 1" copper pipe. I think that it could substitute for Bronze if aged with Ammonia fumes. does anyone have any other comments or ideas for the metal work in the viking Sheaths?
  4. This is an overall view of the Forge and Hood This is smoke being drawn into the supper sucker Hood. The draw of the chimney system is much better than I anticipated. This is the Duck's Nest with the tuyere to the left and the hood to the right. This view shows the bosh that is connected to the tuyere with hoses. the blower is mounted on the table with the forge. The flex pipe can be removed to clear any blockage that mite occur in the Tuyere. The heated antifreeze flowed thru the tubing into the Bosh. the top tube gets warm and the bottom tube is cold. In the summer, the system will get much warmer and possibly boil. Are we having fun yet? Paul PS: Thanks for the warning about IFI.
  5. Chimney -10" grain auger tube that was scraped, now repurposed. This is the rear of the tuyere. The Hot water pipe goes out the top and a similar pipe goes out the bottom. The Guillotine air Controller is used. This is the flames being sucked into the Supper Sucker Hood. The Bosh is connected to the Tuyere with Hot and cold piping. I am using antifreeze as a coolant. My Smithy is in an unheated building where the temperature can have a minus sign infant of the temperature. This is the Hearth. I usually place a steel plate over the hot spot in the fire. This forms an oven to make heating much more efficient. The heated item is a blank to make a Viking Broken Back Knife. This is the Blower. The silver covered Flex Pipe can be easily removed for poking clinkers out of the air tube and reconnecting to a hand crank Blower. The Pulley on the motor can be adjusted to increase or decrease the diameter and thus change the air volume. I will take pictures of the entire forge assembly for the next post. The Mark Aspery Side Blast Forge design has the Tuyere welded in the Bosh. This is too heavy for me to move. So, the Tuyere and Bosh are separated and connected by piping.
  6. Gerald, I used your instructions to make an Axe Head. Your instructions were great! It took me one try failure to get the process down. Then, I made two successful axe heads and have the third axe head ready for the Bit to be welded in. After hardening and tempering, the edge is ground and honed. The hammer marks are removed by grinding, draw-filing and finish with sanding to 600 gr..
  7. Please go to the "I Forge Iron" forum where I just posted pictures and a description of my Side Blast Forge, Mark Aspery design, and a Supper Sucker Hood. By using antifreeze, I hope to avoid rust out of the water system. I will collect more antifreeze to replace the evaporated antifreeze. More thinking, it may be possible to replace the Bosh with an auto radiator in a closed system. A fan can cool the radiator. When I was building the Bosh, I filled it with water to find then leaks, many leaks were found. the water started to rust the interior of the Bosh. When the Tuyere was water tested. it was filled with water for over a week. Rusty water came out after the test was over. My big reason to use antifreeze is my forge is in an unheated building in Iowa. I expect to see temperatures with a (- F) many times over the winter. Draining 12 gal. of water at the days end and then lugging the fresh water from the well would be a real pain. I hadn't thought about the antifreeze being boiled off. I will keep a sharp look out for this problem. I believe that the boiling point of antifreeze is higher than water, how much higher??? Thank you for your response, Paul.
  8. The forge rebuild, top topic, is from gross rust out of the components that are part of the water cooling system. From what I have read, the water filled components will last about 7-10 years use before rust thru becomes a problem. I decided to cool my forge with antifreeze because the forge is in an unheated out building. 1, Antifreeze won't freeze in my unheated out building blacksmith shop. 2, Antifreeze has rust inhibiters so the life of the Side Blast forge should be greatly increased over using water. 3, Antifreeze can be gotten FREE from your local car dealer. 4, Antifreeze is amore effacing cooling agent over water. 5, Disadvantages antifreeze is poisonous so it must be kept from animals. I went to our local Ford garage with two each 5 gal. containers. They were filled with used (free) antifreeze which is now filling my system. Time will tell if the advantages of using antifreeze make good sense. I will be taking pictures of my new Side Blast Forge with a Supper Sucker Hood when it becomes fully operational. The 10" chimney was installed with the top rising over 4" above the roof peak. The chimney is a reclaimed grain auger tube that had a kink in the middle. The forge can be moved to be closer to the hood. Initial tests indicate that at initial lighting of the forge, a temporary tube may be needed from the fire to the hood opening to keep the start up smoke going up the cold chimney. am alternative would be to role up newspaper, light it and place the flaming paper inside the hood to start the draw. I place the flame from by Brush Burning Torch into the hood and noted that the flame was drawn into the hood, a strong draw. I will need to add a steel plate behind the Tuyere to keep the stored coal ready to be raked into the fire. The bed of the Hearth is filled with wood ashes with a small ducks nest dug in front of then air opening. I may cover the ashes that are filled up with wood ashes to the top of the hearth's sides with a steel cover on both sides of the hearth, leaving the duck's nest open for the coal. I designed the forge to be fully accessible from either side. So two blacksmith can work the forge from opposite sides. I have several 130+# anvils that can be placed on each side. At the end of the forge, there is a huge Leg Vice that is accessible from either side. The vice is fastened to a 3' x 4' 1" thick steel plate welding table. More information and pictures will follow when the forge is fully fired up for some heavy blacksmithing work .
  9. I have just finished building a Side Blast Forge (Mark Aspery design) with a Super Sucker Hood and 10" chimney. Now for the testing of the forge. The Bosh is connected to the Tuyere with a bottom cold water tube and the top is connected to the hot water tube. I am using used antifreeze as a coolant for two reasons, 1, shouldn't rust the Bosh and Tuyere, 2, my shop is in a unheated outbuilding. Tonight it will approach 0 F. The Hearth is covered with firebrick and wood ashes are being used not sand to fill the Hearth. The 10" chimney was salvaged from a grain auger tube that had blown over and kinked in the middle. The chimney is 4' above the shed's roof peak. the Top Hat is a 15" sq. steel plate mounted 10" above the top of the chimney by two steel posts.. The first test fire gave mixed results. I was using Anthracite Nut coal from Tractor Supply. I didn't have enough coal in the forge to make a large mound so the steel bar was inserted in the hot spot in-front of the Tuyere air outlet. the bar heated quickly. The Super Sucker Hood started drawing out the smoke and flame. Then, I opened the big door to the shed and the chimney stopped drawing the smoke. Why??? Anyway, I decided to move the fire much closer to the hood opening which should solve the draft problem. The clinker was fished out of the fire with the three prong rake I made in the test firing. The next test fire will be done with blacksmith coal and the coal will be piled much higher. Water will be used to control the fire size if it grows out of the hot zone. My criteria for the permanent size forge was to make no component over 50#. The steel tube frame comes apart in 3 pieces. The Hearth is 2' square by 9" deep with handles. The Tuyere is not part of the Bosh, but it is connected to the Bosh by cold and hot tubes/hoses. The Blower is an old motor driven Champion blower run by a 1/3hp motor running with a 1-1 ratio is connected to the blower with a belt. The air flow is controlled with a Guillotine that is lever operated. With the Guillotine closed. the air leakage will keep the fire from dying down . to meet the 50# criteria, the Bosh was cut down to hold a little over 10 gal. If this size is too small, the top water tube will be run to a screen mesh cooling system that will set on top of the Bosh. This system was used to cool gas engines around the early 1900's. At the next test firing I will take pictures to post. .
  10. This is my Seax imitation sheath, first try. The copper trim is formed over the top. The question is the copper trim is formed over the top of the sheath traditionally correct. Or is the trim just on the sheath sides and riveted in place? The leather edge would now be seen between the copper sides. On Youtube one of the better videos has the trim in three pieces. The pieces are soldered together to make the "U" trim over the top and encompass the top and the entire end of the sheath.. This is the copper trim removed from the sheath. The trim was made using a Bending jig . This is the Bending Jig. The top bar is the width of the leather being covered. The copper sheet is center positioned and the top 3/8" bolts are fully tightened. The copper is soft enough to by finger pressure bend both sides up against the side of the bar. Then, using a piece of leather glued to a flat paint stirring stick the stick is hammered on the bend to make the bend as sharp as possible, both sides. If both the "U" shape and side only trim are traditional then my approach would be valid. If the trim is only on the sides and riveted in place, then I am wrong with the "U" trim. The Gotland style shown above and Alan's comments indicated that the correct procedure uses the riveted side trim bent around the tip section and side trim on the remainder. The fill in trim is"U" formed over the top..
  11. I have been looking at Seax Knife sheaths. They usually have a Brass or Copper edge over the Stiching. My question is: The metal fooled over the sheet top to male a "U" shape the length of the stitching. Or, is the metal just riveted to the sides over the sticking. This will leave the edges of the leather exposed. Which method is correct? Or are both methods correct?
  12. This is my approach to forging Copper Wire Rivets. You will need Number drills 45, 35, 32, and 20, steel blocks, 3/8" threaded rod, nuts and Wing Nuts, a spacer card (business card), 3/8" x 16 Tap and marking number punches. The drill size is marked on the block so when drilling the sheath, the correct Number Drill will be known. I am in the process of making a test sheath for my prototype Seax style knife. The Rivet Swage is now made. The next jig will be a Bending Break to bend the Copper sheeting into the hardware around the top of the Sheath. In the Viking period, I don't think Brass was possible to make. We have the Copper Age, the Bronze Age and then Iron Age, but no Brass Age. Bronze is a mixture of Copper and Tin which was harder and more brittle than Copper. Brass is a combination of Copper and Zinc. The Zinc melted long before the Copper melted so they were not able to blend the two metals to together. I think that using Copper Sheeting and Copper Wire as Rivets would be period correct. #6 Copper Wire can make very solid Copper Rings. A lap joint can be soldered to complete the Ring. Since the aged Patina of Copper, Bronze and Brass look much alike, I viewed one sheath maker who places his Brass parts into an Ammonia atmosphere until the desired Patena has been achieved. I used scrap steel to make the Rivet Swage. Copper Wire Rivets are forged using two blocks of steel that are bolted together. My steel blocks are 3/4" x 1-3/4" x 3". A bar stock Handle was added. Two stiff compression springs are located on the two bolt in a recess between the two blocks. The springs forces the blocks open when loosening the wing Nuts to removing the Rivet. The bolts keep the blocks aligned. The Swage was made by first match bolting the two blocks together. any block mismatch on the top surface was milled off .To drill the holes a business card was placed between the blocks to add a clamping space. #12 wire holes were drilled with a #45 drill, #10 wire, a #35 drill, #9 wire, a #32 drill and #6 wire a #20 drill. The #12 and #10 wire are for Copper Sheath Rivets. The #9 hole is for Annealed steel wire rivets and the #6 hole is for large Copper Rivets to be used on other projects. By spacing the blocks with a business card, the drilled holes are no longer round when the card is removed. The clamping force by tightening the Wing Nuts holds the wire quite firmly. The short hole is 9/16" deep and the long hole is 3/4" deep for the #10 & 12 wire. The inserted wire bottoms in the hole. I have seen other approaches in videos where the end of the wire tip is melted into a ball and just use a hand held vice to hold the wire. for hammering was used. They all work to make a Rivet. When lightly tapping the wire with the hammer, observe to make sure the Head doesn't wander off of center. If the head is swaging off center, tap the hammer in a sweeping or glancing motion to force the head back to center. Photos: #-47 swage with wire inserted, Hammer and Tin Snips--- -#-49 swage with wire ready to be Headed. #51 the Headed Rivet, #-53 completed Headed Rivet. #-56 swage block open to see drilled holes.
  13. Please view on Youtube "That Works" "How to forge Bevels on a Blade-The right Way". The video shows how to forge the blade bevel without making the blade curve and the correct way to use a hammer. My question is they dipped the hammer in water and wet the anvil face print to forging., While forging, the hammer tapped the anvil to get water on the hammer's face. There wasn't any POP or evidence that the water turned to instant steam. I am assuming that the water removed the scale from the forging peace. The water didn't appear to cool the blade either. Can anyone comment to forging with water on the anvil face and hammer their experience using water as seen in the video.
  14. Thanks for the mind blowing information. The best way for me to make a blade with carving would be to make a laminated blade. The 1018 outer layer could be carved and an inlay applied after hardening. With experience, the 1018 could be forge welded in the Damascus pattern where the inlay would be located. One of the patterns showed a laminated section where the edge steel is located. Thank you for the guidance information.Tthe blades were significantly more complicated than I ever would have imagined.
  15. I have been searching information on the Seax knives and sheath design. My search has come up with you as an Expert on the correct design of the Seax knife. Could you point me in the correct direction to the dimensions for the "Honey Lane" blade? The Honey Lane blade as shown in the British museum pictures doesn't give dimensions other than the overall length, including the Tang as "266mm". The Honey Lane knife has twisted silver/copper wire embellishment inlay. I would assume that the original blade was Iron or unhardened steel of the day. Is there any way to make a hardened/tempered blade and soften the spine area enough to make the inlay work? The silver/copper inlay would melt at heat treatment temperatures. From my limited search of the forum, others have make the seax knife Ie: Robert Suter in 2011. The sheath is equally important to correctly complement the knife. Can you point me in the direction of the correct Sheath design? It appears that the sheath may not be sewed but secured with a rivet every 4-5 cm. rivet iron or copper? Bronze would be too brittle to reliably forge the Head and upset. Copper and bronze plus iron/steel were the metals of the day. I would assume that most Seax knives were very basic, with no embellishments. The embellished knives probably would have been owned by the wealthy and leaders of the day. From my google searches, the knives and sheaths shown fall into the "seax-inspired" category.
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