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Alan Longmire

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Everything posted by Alan Longmire

  1. I may have done more research, but I didn't put hammer to steel until 1998. You beat me to that!
  2. Yeah, your mileage may vary, depending on how big a billet you have and how fast you are. I forgot one major thing, though: you need at least 3 or 4 inches of coke between the air blast and the steel, and another inch or two on top. Don't get closer to the blast or you'll either burn the steel or scale it so bad it won't weld.
  3. Yeah, the movie has the same name as the book, but that's where any resemblance ends. Conner, if you decide to make charcoal you don't need hardwood. Soft woods usually make better charcoal for smithing purposes.
  4. I figure on 100 hawk heads per file, but that's the old USA Nicholsons. Zero work for the Mexico file-shaped Nicholson objects, everything else is somewhere in between. I'm not familiar with Mercer, I'll look them up.
  5. That does look nice. If my shop were more enclosed and/or less ventilated I'd certainly get something of the sort, but with the chimney over the forge and the 2" gap around both garage doors the hot gasses vent as they should. Unless the stove backs up, but then the coal smoke lets you know something's amiss well before the CO alarm goes off. But yes, I get the point. Respirators are expensive until you price a lung transplant, safety glasses only work if they're being worn, etc.
  6. Mine's a Blackhawk or something, whatever they sell at Lowes. It's the cheap one that only displays if you push the reset button, plugs in with a 9v battery backup. The one that reads in real time display was a little steep, like $75 or so.
  7. You've certainly made that style your own! And come a long way as well. Seems like yesterday that I got on the net, found a site called keenjunk.com, and encountered some high school kid from Texas going by "Stormcrow" asking the same questions I was. But that was 1996!
  8. Looks great! I like the wood, not familiar with leadwood, but it looks nice.
  9. Actually, this one: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Special-Kitty-Natural-Clay-Cat-Litter-Unscented-25-lb/10293705 You want unscented pure clay, non-clumping.
  10. I have not. I weld in coal all the time, and I use anhydrous borax. The practical size limit of a billet depends on the size of your firepot. I use a Centaur rectangular pot, and it can handle up to a 2"×2"×6" billet. The trick to not burning it and getting an even heat is to 1. Use enough coal. Huge deep fire. 2. Be sure it's coked. Green coal will ruin a weld if it's under the billet. On top is fine. 3. Heat slowly. I use a hand crank blower and for large billets it's barely turning until the billet is up to heat. 4. Watch it. Don't stare into the fire, but keep an eye on things. 5. Know that you're only going to be able to weld two inches or so per heat. Don't stress about it, just weld what you can and back in the fire at full blast.
  11. Also note! Don't get the clumping litter, just plain clay. It's bentonite clay, which is a good fireclay.
  12. Dude. Just get the cheapest bag of unscented kitty litter at the store and mix it with enough water to make a paste. Note this is for solid fuel only! Do not attempt with propane.
  13. The short version is, for welding in coal use borax and don't let it spark. A spark or two on mild steel doesn't hurt much, but with high carbon damascus sparking is very bad. The dry stack is for gas forges running rich, and the WD-40 and kerosene are for cannister welds in gas forges.
  14. And for Elmax, critical is far above a red heat. You need to get it to yellow and let it cool slowly in the flame. It's an air- hardening steel, so to soften it at all you need to take at least 20 seconds to cool it from yellow to red. An air cool from red should be okay afterwards.
  15. I don't mean to say that fans are useless at all, just that they won't help in an enclosed space with no ground-level vents. That's how utility workers die under open manhole covers. A slightly open door and a chimney/roof vent is often good enough for what we do, providing the forge is properly tuned.
  16. That's the first one I thought of, and there's also this one:
  17. I'm not making the rules, that's for you guys to decide! I was merely offering the prevailing opinion of what makes a "blacksmith's knife," which is that it is forged from a single piece of steel with the handle formed by drawing out and curling over the tang. You can rivet the tang to the ricasso where it touches, or weld it like Gerhard if you want, or leave it free and loose. If you want to do some riveted cross-bracing inside that looped handle, I say go for it, if everyone else approves. All I meant was no riveted-on handle slabs that hide the construction details. And again, not making the rules, just an opinion. Y'all get to set the rules.
  18. Plus it's not a good way to go. It's heavier than air so fans don't disperse it, it can be explosive in the right concentrations, and if it's strong enough to knock you over, it can do that to anyone who tries to drag you to safety. When I was in graduate school I toyed with the notion of going into forensic anthropology (well before any of the CSI-type shows were around, I may add!), and as such got to work with Dr. Bill Bass, famous operator of what we called "The Facility," but which the rest of the world knows as "The Body Farm." This is a facility where the effects of various environmental factors on human decomposition are studied. Once each experiment has run its course, the remains must be gathered. From this experience I can tell you that the purple you turn from CO poisoning is permanent (assuming you die from it), and renders you poisonous as well. Prepare for a closed-casket service.
  19. OSHA regs specify you may be legally (not necessarily safely) exposed to 50 PPM of CO per hour, averaged over an eight-hour period. That said, exposure to 70 PPM will cause noticeable symptoms in a few minutes, over 100 PPM can cause death if symptoms are ignored. My detector goes off at 20 PPM, and has only done so when the coal stove has a backdraft. Here's what OSHA has to say about it: "Carbon monoxide has over a 200-fold greater affinity for hemoglobin than has oxygen (5.18, 5.19). Thus, it can make hemoglobin incapable of carrying oxygen to the tissues. The presence of CO-hemoglobin (COHb) interferes with the dissociation of the remaining oxyhemoglobin, further depriving the tissues of oxygen (5.15, 5.16). The signs and symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, mental confusion, hallucinations, cyanosis, and depression of the S-T segment of an electrocardiogram. Although most injuries in survivors of CO poisoning occur to the central nervous system, it is likely that myocardial ischemia is the cause for many CO-induced deaths (5.18). The uptake rate of CO by blood when air containing CO is breathed increases from 3 to 6 times between rest and heavy work. The uptake rate is also influenced by oxygen partial pressure and altitude (5.20). Carbon monoxide can be removed through the lungs when CO-free air is breathed, with generally half of the CO being removed in 1 hour. Breathing of 100% oxygen removes CO quickly. Acute poisoning from brief exposure to high concentrations rarely leads to permanent disability if recovery occurs. Chronic effects from repeated exposure to lower concentrations have been reported. These include visual and auditory disturbances and heart irregularities. Where poisoning has been long and severe, long-lasting mental and/or nerve damage has resulted (5.15). The following table gives the levels of COHb in the blood which tend to form at equilibrium with various concentrations of CO in the air and the clinical effects observed (5.21): Atmospheric CO (ppm) COHb in Blood (%) Symptoms 70 10 Shortness of breath upon vigorous exertion; possible tightness across the forehead. 120 20 Shortness of breath with moderate exertion; occasional headache with throbbing in the temples. 220 30 Decided headache; irritability; easy fatiguability; disturbed judgment; possible dizziness; dimness of vision. 350-520 40-50 Headache; confusion; collapse; fainting upon exertion. 800-1220 60-70 Unconsciousness; intermittent convulsions; respiratory failure; death if exposure is prolonged. 1950 80 Rapidly fatal."
  20. Thousand-year-old churchyards in the English countryside are good spots...
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