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Starting (again)


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Been a rough year, the VA never makes anything easy, but now I am able to try and get started in this again.  And getting started is an understatement, Zero tools.  no luck finding a decent anvil, coal or gas forge or even tongs.   I want to make these all myself but where to start, I doubt i would even know where to get a piece of RR track for a starter anvil if i tried.

Whats the best "Start: HERE" for me to focus on (within a VA Disability budget)?

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for the anvil id recommend going to the junkyard and getting the biggest hunk of metal you can find, for the forge id say a leaf blower or hair dryer with a pipe running under and into a tire rim through the hole with a cap with holes drilled into it for the filter (use a pipe thats just small enough to fit through the hole, so that the cap will be big enough to sit on top of the hole) this avoids welding. and i started out with just a pair of old pliers as tongs, good luck!

oh yea and make sure the pipes or cap are not galvanized

Edited by Simonet
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Hello! 

I hope you are able to get everything going one way or another. I've been on the receiving end of having minimal space and equipment to work with on multiple occasions, and the best thing I have learned is that ingenuity is your best resource. Just about everything that I would recommend at the start I've put over here--

[blog post link]

If you are trying to build a forge, I have literally taken a shovel and used it to dig a hole in the ground to use as a forge. It doesn't need to be anything fancy, complicated, or expensive. As long as you have a fuel and air source, you are in business. Bellows or a hair dryer or an air mattress pump will all do the trick, or a gas forge instead of solid fuel. Either way, there are almost unlimited options for you to take. Having built multiple gas forges, I can say that they are a lot simpler than you might think. Solid fuel forges are a different beast, but no more complicated (easier if you allow them to be). Do a quick search on the forum for whichever suits your fancy and there will be more tutorials than you need. 

At the end of the day, the only real limiting factor you have is what you are willing to work with. Too many people get wrapped up in the romantic idea of what a shop and its tools should look like (myself included), which inhibits the ability to actually get the job done. It turns into the game of 'I can't forge until I have an anvil that looks like an anvil' or 'I'll get started when I have a real forge' or what have you, but realistically, I can get by with what I can find walking out into the middle of a forest. Sure, there will always be more expensive and purpose specific tools to help you along the way, but the overwhelming majority of the situation is attainable in adapting and overcoming the limitations that you have to work with. 

Hopefully this helps a little

 

John

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The devil forges look like farriers or artisan forges. Those open sides make it impossible to create a reducing atmosphere (where oxygen is restricted). This is something you'll want if you ever get into pattern welding. (It's possible to pattern weld in a non-reducing forge that gets hot enough, but harder.)

I'd say either build your own forge (tons of tutorials on how to do that on this forum. Use Google and this search:

site:bladesmithsforum.com "forge build"

Or any search term you want between the quotation marks.

Or, if you want to buy a pre-made forge, I recommend ChileForge.com. I own two of them, and they work great. (No affiliation).

Tons of other good forges out there to buy too. Just make sure the forge is designed for bladesmiths (i.e. reaches welding temp and has an oxygen flow restriction on the air feed) and not designed for other metal working crafts that don't forge weld as much as we do.

Luck in the craft.

Dave

 

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I don't know about farriers anvils. Alan is our resident anvil guru, so perhaps he'll pipe in.

In general, as long as you can avoid one of the cast iron "anvil like objects" sold via many on-line catalogs, you'll be fine with almost any anvil in bladesmithing. Sharp anvil edges are nice for setting tang shoulders, but it's a "nice to have," not a "need to have."  Just do the same google search I recommended on "beginners anvil" or something similar and you'll come up with a ton of recommended starter anvils, including DIY models using railroad tracks, sledge hammer heads, and fork lift tines.

My favorite recommendation to new smiths that want a cheap anvil that's still a real anvil is the 4x4 anvil from Old World Anvils. http://www.oldworldanvils.com/anvils/4x4.html

For under $100 bucks you can't beat this little anvil. They also have a stake anvil version (i.e. with a stake on one side so you can drive it into stump or log).

I wrote them a few years ago and asked if they could slice off a longer chunk of the 4x4 anvil stock. I got a very reasonably priced 18" x 4" post anvil that is a favorite of mine.

BTW: I have no affiliation with Old World Anvils. 

Luck.

Dave

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Those Lithuanian forges also are not coated.  The lining isn't, I mean.  This is a Bad Thing.  You can build your own for cheaper and have a far better forge and no wait for shipping.

As for anvils, Geoff Keyes just wrote a new sticky about them at the top of the Tools and Toolmaking subforum,      I recommend it.  Farrier's anvils are far better than no anvil at all, but they are a specialty tool, particularly the really far-out looking ones with almost no waist and a huge horn.  We want mass under the face, and farriers want a big horn and long narrow heel with very little mass.  

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I've not seen a Devil Forge forge up close and have some reservations about them, much as with anything built down to a price.

I recently bought one of their DFP burners to play with and have not had the chance to do so yet. It does have a screwed choke adjustment which seems nicely progressive and, assuming it draws enough air fully open for a near-neutral flame, looks to offer good control of atmosphere and flame temperature.

I got the standard DFP because the choke adjustment on the more expensive DFPprof does not look as sensitive in the pictures. I usually use burners based on Amal atmospheric injectors, which have very fine control. 

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Try looking at Old World Anvils.  They carry a 4X4X4" stake anvil and will custom make one to the length that you want.  Something that size will put all the mass of the anvil under your work.  I got a 7X6X8" block of H13 from a steel supply house in St. Louis that sells their cut offs on Ebay.  It cost me $140 shipping included to central Illinois.  It doesn't have a hardy hole or a horn but there are ways to work around that, like with a leg vice.

Doug

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I still have my chunk of rail from a local scrap yard. working on my third forge. this one is a brake drum from a large RV chassis. I'll post some pics soon.

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I found my chunk of RR at a local scrap yard in  Ripley TN.  They cut it to the length I wanted, so definitely check your local scrap yards.  I want to thank Dave for the link to old world anvils.  I have seen and exchanged emails with a gentleman in china that has two anvils about the same size as the ones Dave is talking about.  Fancier but the seemed to work well.  BZ Dave thinking seriously about the stake anvil since my vise and RR are mounted on stumps.  LOL 

S Cruse thank you for your service.  I spent 26 years in Navy and am now totally retarded  Oh I mean retired.

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Hello again

Robert here again S Cruse I don't know where Springfield Missouri is in relation to Memphis but while out and about this afternoon I found a place in Memphis that sells it. It is a scrap yard and they sell it for .25 cents a pound.  There name is ISKIWITZ METAL CO.  604 Marble Ave.  Memphis, TN 38107  phone number is 901-526-8944.  It might make a good day trip down to pick up a piece of RR and go see the new Bass Pro it is awesome.  They have been around since 1925.  Now I don't know how it is going to work but Worley's scrap yard bought an old foundry and I found a piece of steel 13x39x1.5 inches hope it will make a fair anvil if it does not I am only out $25.  Was going to upload a pic but does not like my file.   Keep looking S C you will find something. 

Robert

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