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Hmmm, happy with the result, butttt.

 
1. Hammer handle is to large in circumference
2. Forge gets hot enough but not quick enough
3. Hammer face is to flat
 
So need to grind the hammer face into more of a rounded surface, I have done this but not enough and have knocked marks into the anvil due to miss hits. Need to belt sand the circumstance of the hammer handle down to around 38mm, it’s to large to get good control (ultimately need a better hammer, but that’s not the major problem for now). I changed out the mig tip ( jet ) from a 0.6 to a 0.8mm thinking more gas would be better. I’m now thinking the larger jet reduces airflow therefore giving a leaner mix. I’ll change it back and see what happens.
 
Learnt a lot about moving the work around the anvil to get a desired shape and drawing out the stock.
 
Anyway good fun.

4A901C7E-25DD-4005-B95C-6BEEA8349561.jpeg

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Welcome to the addiction, David.  

6 hours ago, David Heron said:

2. Forge gets hot enough but not quick enough

How slow are you talking about? And what's you criteria for hot enough?

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Hi Billy, thinking through it I don’t have enough experience to know if it takes too long or not, it just “seemed” to take a long time. I think if I had better technique I wouldn’t have to keep putting the piece back in the forge. I also don’t have tongs so I was working with a 500mm round bar, so it would have acted as a heat sink drawing the temperature out. To answer your question I reckon it took up to 8 mins to heat up again. Probably not that long if I think about it.

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3 hours ago, David Heron said:

I was working with a 500mm round bar,

I hope you mean 50mm.   8 minutes to heat a 500mm bar would be blazing hot!B)  Anyway, 50mm is about 2" round and that will take a while to get to heat.   You weren't using the stock that you show in your post on the 23rd were you?  How'd you do that without tongs?

2 hours ago, David Heron said:

I reckon it took up to 8 mins to heat up again

So after each forging heat, you'd put it in the forge and it took 8 min to get back to a forging heat?  That's not terrible for 2" round bar for a forge that size.  

 

There's not much mass to that forge, so it will take a little longer to re-heat because it's heating pretty much solely from the burner and not getting much heat from the forge itself.

 

Did you block up the front a little?  If I'm reading correctly, your forge is made of bricks? How long before the side bricks turned orange when you first fired it up?   

 

This won't be a fair comparison, because my forge is WAY overbuilt and heavy with a lot of thermal mass to hold heat for forging larger pieces, and it takes about 45 minutes to get the forge up to a uniform heat, but work will re-heat a lot quicker.  Depending on how cold you work the piece down to,  when I was working on 2" square stock for animal heads, it'd take about 5 minutes to re-heat from a black heat to a bright orange.  

 

 

 

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On 5/24/2020 at 11:02 AM, David Heron said:

 

Thanks for responding so quickly Billy. Just to clarify, the stock I was using was 1/2” round bar, 500mm long, so thinking the heat time was disappointing. Having said that I’ve mucked around with the jet and it’s position in the tube and the thing is incredible. It’s a different forge. Amazing the difference with such small tweaks. It got the same piece of stock bright yellow in about 3 minutes.

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On 5/24/2020 at 11:02 AM, David Heron said:

 

Thanks for responding so quickly Billy. Just to clarify, the stock I was using was 1/2” round bar, 500mm long, so thinking the heat time was disappointing. Having said that I’ve mucked around with the jet and it’s position in the tube and the thing is incredible. It’s a different forge. Amazing the difference with such small tweaks. It got the same piece of stock bright yellow in about 3 minutes.

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Ok, so the refaced hammer worked much better and is a joy to use, it’s also helped the anvil not being damaged by my miss hits. The forge now is an absolute beast, I cannot believe the difference in the thing. I’ve been using a piece of 1/2” round bar and it gets bright yellow in around a minute set at 5 psi. Before the adjustments it was taking 8 minutes to get it to a dull orange at 24 psi6312EDA2-93F6-42CF-B839-FA166FBFF341.jpeg. Is there such a thing as too hot? Wondering if I should dull it down a little.

7B44CCE8-D85A-44EA-A038-6862903F97F3.jpeg

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, David Heron said:

Is there such a thing as too hot?

Well.....yes, but for general forging practice with mild steel don't worry about it, you'll notice if you're starting to burn the steel.  In fact, it might not be a bad idea to have one of your next forging sessions to experiment and find out if your forge gets "too" hot.

 

 You'll want to find out the forging temps of whatever stock you're using.   And if you are making tools (knives included) then you'll need to learn a bit about how high temperatures can encourage grain growth and how to thermal cycle the steel to refine the grain again.

Edited by billyO

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yep, you're hooked. B)

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Hmmm, thinking you’ve nailed it Alan. My lack of knowledge and skills is frustrating but hey, that’s the whole point. Thinking I could probably do an ok job with making a drift and a hardie And will have a go at the heat treat process. Then make some tongs. At that point hopefully will have developed to the point I’ll have a crack at blade.

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My sincere apologies for my lack of editing skills, matched only by my lack of forging skills. I made this to send to my father, he’s keenly interested. Would be great to get some feedback on the functionality of the forge. 

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On 6/14/2020 at 3:41 AM, David Heron said:

hardie / hardy (which one is it)

Either.  Sadly, this is one of those things where the name became standardized without a standard spelling.  You'll find it both ways all over the place.  

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The hardy or hardie is the cutting tool that fits in the hardy hole.  And yeah, it's correct either way.

 

Well, your forge is working well, looks like a fairly neutral atmosphere as you're not getting a huge amount of scale.  The end of your burner isn't going to last long being outside the insulation, though.

 

One safety thing I will mention, as it's drilled into new smiths in formal class settings: Never leave the hardy in the anvil while you're not actively using it.  That's a good way to lose a finger or two.  Especially with one that long.

 

One other thing, unless you're forging something massive that throws scale and flux all over the place, it's good practice not to have a glove on your hammer hand.  Gloves (except the grippy gloves mechanics use) force you to grip the hammer hard just to keep it from slipping.  Gripping too hard is the best way possible to give yourself tennis elbow.  I will wear a very thin goatskin glove on that hand when I'm welding up a billet or axehead because when I don't I always seem to get a glob of hot scale or molten flux between my hand and the hammer handle, but otherwise no.  

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Glad things are working so well for you.  Three suggestions regarding your forge:

  1. Your burner flare is too deep inside the forge.  At the heat it sees inside there it will scale pretty quickly and you will need to replace it.  The flare should be at most around 1/2 way into your insulation layer.  Ideally the ID of the top of the hole in the insulation should match the end of the burner flare, and then the hole for the burner should taper a little to enlarge slightly at the inside face of the forge.
  2. Doors:  If you think things get hot now, wait till you start using doors on your forge.  With a Naturally Aspirated burner you shouldn't ever close off the front of your forge all the way, but if you are only working 1/2" stock there is no need to keep the front open that far.  Soft brick doors insulate better, but break pretty easily when moved around.  A half brick split of hard firebrick makes a pretty good door and is robust, but you need to have a way to move it back and forth (tongs...)
  3. Yes a forge can get too hot.  If your steel starts burning or melting, or your forge liner melts or erodes, the forge is too hot for that application.

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Thanks for your great feedback Alan. I did have the burner flare flush with the brick but changed it out for a stainless version that was slightly longer. I’m reminded of JohnN’s advise that we all start off wanting to make a “pretty” forge but after 50 adjustments..... I was interested is your comment “neutral atmosphere” Am I right in thinking a lean forge (to much air) produces more scale? 
Hadn’t thought about the hardie tool and it’s potential to become a very effective finger amputation tool. I will never leave it in the anvil and need to consider storing various tools on the anvil base.

I don’t use a glove on my hammer hand, (would feel weird)

Once again, thanks so much for your advise.

 

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Hi Dan, really appreciate your comments. I’ve learnt so much from all the great feedback and think at some point I’ll rebuild the forge. I tig welded (poorly) the shroud together but the rest of it just bolts together, so not a lot of money or effort to rebuild it. My thinking is, for now, stop mucking around with the forge and start using it. I’ve banged out a number of leaves, and are comfortable with the broad process of isolating some stock and moving it around. I’m going to make some tongs to further improve my skills and get some tools I need. When I’m comfortable, I’ll attempt a knife blank out of mild steel and have a crack at grinding it. There’s so much to learn. 
 

All that said, I’m having a ball and have learnt so much from this forum and my own stumbling.

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yep, running lean produces scale and causes decarburization. You want neutral to slightly rich. Just beware of carbon monoxide if you're running rich in a shed, it builds up fast.

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Hi Alan, I just watched that video again, I was wearing a glove on my hammer hand. What an idiot! Thanks again for your advice. 

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Just started the tongs, not bad I thought for a first go. Thinking I need a pass through. I think I can do without it but would have been helpful. Took me about 45 minutes, not sure if that’s good or bad but really don’t mind at this point. Rookie error, ran out of gas! 

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