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AndyB

Hot Cutters

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 I've been researching on hot cutters and I've come to ask this.  Would it be easier to make my own or just buy one.  I've been seeing the hot cutters go for around 50 bucks.  I also know that I could just as easily make one.  Which do you guys think would be better, just to make it or buy it?  Also too my Harbor Freight ASO does fortunately have a hardy hole.  However if I make the hot cutter for that aso I would probably have to make a new hot cutter for a steel anvil if and when I eventually get one.  Now the next question being are most hardy holes on anvils generally speaking the same size?  Or do they differ in size depending on the size of the anvil?

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Hardy holes are generally, different sizes depending on brand, weight, forged or cast. 

 

For just starting out, make your own slitting chisel. Either grind one out or forge one.  For working on small stuff, it's all your going to need.  But your also going to need to learn how to hold your tongs between your legs.  To help with making long cuts, make a radius faced chisel, it will 'walk' a cut instead of attempting to shear off stock with a flat faced chisel.  I use both for different tasks. 

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You probably want to be careful about putting a hardy tool in the cast iron HF anvil.  It wouldn't take much to pop the heel off the anvil.  Especially if the hardy tool is a bit tight in the hole.  It might be better to just use a chisel as Daniel described.

 

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As I've been building up my tooling a hardy hot cut was on my list, But I noticed that I didn't need it nearly as much as I thought.  I found that an hardy block/anvil block, is something I could use more.  When forging leaves (it's similar to a knife) I'm constantly looking for a good spot to bevel down my edges and I'm fighting over the edges of the anvil, the heal the horn *poke* ouch.

I try to use the transition point of the cutting plate and anvil face to work bevels,  but this usually means I'm getting poked by the horn as I try to flip the piece over and have to work the second edge as I have to walk all the way around the anvil.  Where speed is key in hitting it while it's hot, this gets cumbersome. 

As my work was looked over last time by a pro smithy friend of mine, he suggested the block.  With this tool its just *bevel bevel flip, bevel bevel* Plus you can get a much steeper angle.

 

I use hardys when I go off to workshops, it is easier to use but not necessary if your just building your tool box in my opinion.  Other than learning how to handle your tongs by your hands, learning how to handle them between your legs is very beneficial. Hold downs never hold quite enough. In my last class of the fall this past year, My friend and teacher had to help me a little with this technique, and I've found it essential ever since.  

Edited by Daniel W

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6 hours ago, Daniel W said:

Hardy holes are generally, different sizes depending on brand, weight, forged or cast. 

 

For just starting out, make your own slitting chisel. Either grind one out or forge one.  For working on small stuff, it's all your going to need.  But your also going to need to learn how to hold your tongs between your legs.  To help with making long cuts, make a radius faced chisel, it will 'walk' a cut instead of attempting to shear off stock with a flat faced chisel.  I use both for different tasks. 

I am trying to work ways around having to hold Tongs in between my legs lol.  Yes I've seen some you tube videos of folks doing that to cut material  with their hammer and chisel.   Im a dv with a couple of bad shoulders and a messed up knee.  So the less multi tasking and stress on my shoulders the better.

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Just now, Daniel W said:

 

For just starting out, make your own slitting chisel.

Why would he want a slitting chisel? :-)

 

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The original hot cutter, so to speak!! Meet Goliath the hot cutter/forming tool! I can't believe this is the only pic I could get in a search!! Somewhere I have the pic of the original!

See the source imageWell if I can figure out how to steal back my photos from Photobucket I have pic of the original!!!
Edited by C Craft

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As far a the size of your hardy hole goes, if it's too small for the stake of your hardy tool you can grind of file it down to fit.  Just don't make it too tight or you might break off the horn or heal of your anvil.  If the hardy hole is too large you can forge out some shims.  Just make them L shaped so the the short leg rests on the face of the anvil.  Again be sure that you make the shims thin enough so that they don't wedge the hardy tool in tightly.

Doug

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I have been using my 110# HF ASO since 2006.  The hardy hole is about 1.125" square on the diagnol. When using the hot cut, the blade is at a 45 degree angle to the centerline of the anvil face.  I forged a hot cut from a slice of very old rail and is soft as heck.  As mentioned, I shimmed the shank.  An occassional trip to the grinder to sharpen is all it needs. And I have never broken the heel.  I say "go for it!".  The first effort is for practice, the second time you forge another, it will be better. My shim was from a piece of 1" x 1" tube that I jammed the shank into.  Rattles around a little in use but it is only in use a few seconds.

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I've found that in most cases, it's easy enough to just set the piece down on the anvil/cutting plate/whatever and drop the tongs. Using a bit of control of where you direct the force of a hot cut or chisel is often plenty to keep it in place. If the bar is quite long, possibly forging a hold-down or something, but again, for the overwhelming majority of cuts I've made it is usually easier to just set the thing on a flat surface and  have at it. As far as hardie cutters, they have all worked best (i.e. worked at all) when fitted to the particular anvil, even if the dimensions are close. It's easier for me to be precise with a top tool because you can always see the cut and avoid double striking a line. But, if the thing is huge I prefer a hardie because I can really wail on it and use the mass of the bar to hold it in the right place once the cut is started. Just a preference...

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