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Alan Longmire

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Posts posted by Alan Longmire


  1. If using short tooling in tongs, make the tooling as short as possible for the reason Billy mentioned. I use short tools under the treadle hammer quite a bit, and freehand when I need to, which is usually when I want to use a tool I only have in the short variety.  Not having your hand in the way is a great confidence booster when you need to take a mighty swing, plus it saves getting burned by radiant heat when punching eyes and such. 

     

    Under a power hammer the tools are completely different, and are much shorter and fatter. Using a tool like the one you pictured under a power hammer, especially a mechanical hammer that has certain space requirements, is dangerous.  The slightest bit off plumb and the tool, the work, or both are going to go shooting across the shop at high velocity.  

     

    Forge Work by William Ilgen (http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/53854, or http://bamsite.org/books/Forge_Work.pdf) has a whole chapter on tooling for use with the steam hammer.  He was writing in 1912 and was thinking of 300lb and up hammers, but the principles are the same for smaller ones.  My 50lb hammer is just less likely to dislocate my shoulder or impale me with a punch if I screw up.  Get one of those free downloads and study it.  It's a great book in many ways, and covers stuff the newer books do not.  


  2. That sure looks like a top plate to me.  Look at the weld line just behind the step.  If you have the serial number I can take a look in the Tome and get a rough date.

     

    At any rate, milling it off flat will take the hard face off completely.  It's shallow-hardening steel and if it's a top plate is only hard for about 1/8" deep, if that.  If you feel you must, rather than milling or grinding, use the Sandia instructions. https://www.anvilmag.com/smith/anvilres.htm  Note it is important to use the exact rods mentioned.  


  3. 2 hours ago, Daniel W said:

    I've been told that the lunge stance is highly inefficient

    Are you by chance very tall?

    It's not that it's inefficient, it just can lead to other problems, especially tendon-related. When you're standing back, feet wide, throwing the hammer at the anvil, you are forced to grip tighter than you should.  Plus it's kind of silly-looking.  I once took a class in which there was a tall, lanky giant of a guy, I mean thin and maybe six foot nine tall.  He chose the lowest anvil in the shop for his forge station, and refused offers to block it up higher.  The anvil face hit him literally just above the knee.  He'd take a lunge position with feet well apart, right foot forawrd, and with both arms fully extended, tongs in one hand, hammer in the other, and wail away on that anvil with his back slightly bent at the waist.  He looked very much like Pete Townshend doing his windmill guitar lick style, except with hot steel.  It was a five day class, and he lasted two days.  


  4. A lot of pocketknife makers use CPM-154. It requires the long soak and cryo treatment, but the advantage is you can grind it without worrying about the temper, because for blades it is tempered at around 900F. Bare hands and you'll never get it hot enough to hurt.

    Some people think 440C and AEB-L are old fashioned, and they are. But 90% of industrial cutting stainless is still 440C and almost every surgical scalpel blade and disposable razor blade is AEB-L/12c27.  The newer "super stainless" steels hold an edge longer, but require 3 to 5 times the effort and abrasives to grind, and may not get as subjectively sharp due to very large carbides.  Like everything else in the world of blades, it's all a trade-off. 


  5. Like Geoff, I am a carbon steel guy, but I have been investigating stainless for pocketknives.  Forging is out for most stainless alloys suitable for blade work, except maybe 440C. 

    For stock removal, your heat treating setup is your limiting factor.  Most blade stainless steels need a long soak at 1900 - 2100 degrees F. This means for most of them you will need a programmable oven like a Paragon or Evenheat, or you will need to send the blades out for heat treatment.  

    The exceptions to this are Uddeholm-Bohler AEB-L and Sandvik 12c27 and 14c28. People have been having good results from these alloys using a well-controlled gas forge to soak in.  These are relatively simple alloys for stainless steels.  

    That said, I have no personal experience with them yet.  I intended to by now, but life keeps getting in the way. 


  6. I use a hand drill on copper and silver for that very reason.  An eggbeater-type hand-powered drill, not a handheld electric drill.  No downfeed pressure, very sharp drills, just let it cut with its own weight.  Turn the crank at around 60 rpm.  If you try to force it it will grab and snap the bit, even hand-powered, up to 1/8" bits, anyway.  


  7. Campo is pretty soft, actually.  I assisted Chris Price in cutting up a similar chunk at Fire and Brimstone 2012 and the bandsaw had no problems at all.  The meteor itself is kind of crumbly, though, so expect to lose about a third of it to bits falling off.  Use plenty of oil and go slow, it won't hurt the Widmanstatten pattern on the remaining chunk that you don't forge.  Although IIRC the pattern in Campo isn't that great in most chunks.  Hopefully you got a good one, it's pretty darned cool when it does show up!  I'd love a nice big hunk like that.


  8. Found the thread, you might like it.  If you want to see a really wild one, look for Tai Goo's "flogging hammer."  It's a doghead that's all cross pein with a curved handle that curves the wrong way.  He copied it from a Mexican coppersmith's raising hammer.  

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