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Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-08-28 07:34am
by His Divine Shadow
Apparently I need yet another hobby in addition to the woodworking and metalworking I do. I built a very cheap forge.

Start with two 200l oil drums
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Make a cutout
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Put in some bricks, arrange them around until it looks good
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Fill with sand and clay and mold a firepit with an intake for air from the side
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Burn in the clay with a fire
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Oh yeah the 2nd drum is the chimney
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Time to try the real stuff, actual coal (coke), never seen it in my life before, this is the big villain killing the planet and now I am burning it too....
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Works.

Next time I bring out my anvil too
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Started working on a poker to rake coals with
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Was gonna draw out this part but a sudden downpour made me stop and I had to close up shop for the day...

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I rebuilt the firepit again, by smashing the clay and sand mix and remixing it with water, also mixed in the ash. It's all good.

Second burn in
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With the hair dryer going there is no smoke from the wood fire just a heat shimmer from the chimney. And it gets steel pretty hot
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And that's where I am now. I am currently reprofiling a cheap hammer head to a more suitable weight, the 2kg sledge is a tad heavy...
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Thinking I will anneal the whole head on the forge so I can machine it, then reharden and temper. A hammer doesn't need to be super hard, especially not for smithing so I think I will temper it a bit softer than it is now. Cheaper to dress a hammer than repair an anvil.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-08-30 08:32pm
by Knife
Cool. My brother picked up this hobby. It looks fun and interesting.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-08-31 01:24am
by The_Saint
Nice. I need to get off my backside and rebuild my old inherited forge. Needs a new drum and legs.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-08-31 02:52am
by His Divine Shadow
I finished the hammer reprofiling and made a new shaft from ash
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Then I was able to finish my coal raking thingy for the forge.

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The new hammer feels a lot nicer to work with than the old 2kg sledge (too heavy) or the 500g peening hammer (too light). I am really trying to focus on correct hammer technique to not stress my arm.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-08-31 02:54am
by His Divine Shadow
I also built a fan unit from a computer fan with a PWM and potentiometer so I could have an adjustable blower, but the computer fan was just too weak. I will have to spend some more money and buy a proper fan, a 12VDC one so I can control it with the PWM.

Back to using a hair dryer now. Forge total is around 20 euros btw. + Fuel.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-09-02 05:49pm
by Sidewinder
Cool. Do you plan on making your own swords?

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-09-03 01:37am
by His Divine Shadow
Swords don't interest me much, but making tools does, stuff I can use myself, or maybe even sell.

Hammers, chisels, woodworking knives and axes in particular, small woodworking axes, hewing axes and so on. Gardening tools as well. I'm particularly interested in making finnish and swedish style collared axes for woodworking with mild steel bodies and forge welded bits.

To start out with however I believe I will be making hooks of various kinds, I need hooks to hang tools from. Also bottle openers seem like a thing one could make and sell. Once I get good enough to make stuff that's sellable anyway.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-09-03 03:44am
by LaCroix
@Sidewinder
Making swords is a thing of it's own, I don't know how many heat treat ovens I have built until I finally settled on the one I use now...
It's nice&easy to make wallhangers, but once you want them to be functional (like in HEMA training), there is a big jump in precision heattreating needed to get proper results.

@HDS
Cameras always lie when it comes to glow color. Are you getting orange heat or is it still cherry?
You may want to coat the back inside of the barrel in a few cm of clay, as well. Maybe create a little dome with a top hole above the fire.
You will get a better result if you are not loosing that much heat out to the back of the oven, but have something retain and reflect it back into the fire. Doesn't seem a lot, but it can be the difference between a forge and a weld-capable forge. Will cut down on fuel use, as well.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-09-03 05:01am
by His Divine Shadow
The camera was pretty true to life in that photo. It was only a red heat and not orange. With coke I get orange in my latest attempts.

For my next forging session I am gonna have a much bigger pile of coke just for the insulating effect that you mention, I also stack bricks on the side to help make the pile taller. Good thing about coke is it doesn't catch fire and burn on it's own so it's easier to keep the fire under control that way.

I am interested in eventually building a side blast forge like this, my current forge is also based on the side blast principle but the tuyere is a pipe of a type I have plenty off, sacrificial type:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypahcig1KQw

But before my next forging session that I need to build a better blower. In a few years I might weld up a water cooled one like above once I have built a house to keep the smithing stuff in. This is where I am with that project at the moment, mixing 1.35 cubic meters of concrete with a tombola mixer was kinda hard.

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Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-09-09 05:36am
by His Divine Shadow
Used a bigger pile this time and it sure got hot. Damn annoying though since bits of coke kept falling out the front. Gonna try something like this next time to contain the coke:

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Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-09-14 01:39am
by His Divine Shadow
Damn rain, keeps seeping in and getting the adobe soggy wet despite having a roof, caulked up some joints and now I am drying it out again, using charcoal:

https://i.imgur.com/70BVMSR.webm

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-09-28 06:57am
by His Divine Shadow
Attempting my first pair of tongs, had a brain fart when doing the twisting and put in a 90 degree bend but I think I can hammer it back out flat and twist properly. Drawing out from flat bar. Want to try the other method later where you use square (or round I guess) stock, like this:
https://youtu.be/-e3Wox3pxK4?t=470

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Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-09-28 07:29pm
by Broomstick
I find this a very interesting thread, especially in regards to small-scale working with steel. In part, that's because I live near to some major steel works including the largest blast furnace in the Western Hemisphere, the Number 7 furnace at Indiana Harbor in East Chicago, Indiana. (That heavy industry area is occasionally called "Mordor" by the locals) The operations are supplied by entire freight trains of coke 2 kilometers long.

And you're working metal in your backyard in a steel oil drum. Amazing the difference in scales.

Pity you don't live nearer to me - I could probably supply you with coke with what falls off the train cars around here.

Please continue to post. I probably won't say much, but Iook forward to watching your progress.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-09-29 07:30am
by His Divine Shadow
Good to know it interests someone. I only get a few hours a week for forging though, usually on sundays.

This was the latest iteration of my blower setup, wonky looking but budget is the name of the game, fan works well though, should get another one of these for my new solar air heater I just built for the shop:
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Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-09-29 07:58am
by Broomstick
His Divine Shadow wrote:
2020-09-29 07:30am
Good to know it interests someone. I only get a few hours a week for forging though, usually on sundays.
Yeah, real life keeps interfering with my hobbies, too. :lol:

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-10-05 01:20am
by His Divine Shadow
Finally got the tongs done, not that happy with them but I guess the first pair are never gonna be the best:

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The rivet is an M8 bolt, all I had, shoulda been a bit longer. I had it in the forge to get rid of the zink coating first. I think I could turn some nice rivet blanks on the lathe from bigger M10 bolts.

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Also found some spring steel (a whole bunch, 8mm ish) and I made a chisel and punch from it.
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On to the next pair of toongs soon, perhaps some hooks in between. For the next pair I will use thicker material, 10mm plate I think.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-10-05 09:11am
by Broomstick
A couple of questions from basically the whole thread so far:

You said you "burned in" the clay firepit - was that to eliminate moisture in the apparatus? It seems to be that moisture could be a big problem in this activity. Did it somehow fire the clay? For some other reason?

You used a hair dryer as a blower initially? Nice use of available materials! Was it just to direct a blast of air, or did the warming effect also help your forge?

I like how you're getting usable tools from a set-up that heavily involve recycled items, great re-use of stuff.

It's official - come the post-apocalypse you're official someone anyone would want on their team. Re-creation of small-scale metal working would be vital to rebuilding/restoring civilization post-collapse.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-10-06 01:33am
by His Divine Shadow
Yes I burned it in to remove water and to kinda fire it in like a clay pot, it gets harder from being fired in. That way I get a more stable pot than just a pile of dirt. Still it's so hot in a forge fire pit that it degrades with usage. I've reshaped it several times now, trying different sizes and shapes while I am at it.

Next thing I want to modify is adding a larger tuyere (air pipe), I think the one I got now is too small for the fan to work effectively all the time, the air flow is eaisly blocked and sometimes I get welding heat from the forge, sometimes I have problems keeping it going.

The extra heat in the air from the blow dryer does nothing, the air and the oxygen in it is what's important. Some people disconnect the heating coil, but my SO wants the hair dryer back so I didn't do that.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-10-06 04:42am
by The_Saint
I've only got a measly hand crank blower but one of these does help get things going.

What's the matter with the tongs? Loose rivet or wonky jaws?

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-10-06 05:42am
by His Divine Shadow
Just a lot of mistakes in making them, using too narrow stock (5x25mm) and I did not get the bits as nicely fitted as I wanted, not entirely straight but you can't see it in the pics from said angles. One of the bits is narrower on one side from being drawn out too much and I did not get it properly centered, but it holds things atleast.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-10-06 04:26pm
by Broomstick
Guess you can use them to make better tools the next time around.

Have you seen the How To Make Everything YouTube channel? They started a series to re-create the technologies of civilization, starting with flint-knapping. He's just gotten around to the Iron Age. Some of his "early metal-working" attempts make your set-up look lavish. Then again, he's often starting with smelting his own ore. His results tend to be quite crude because he's not concentrating on refining just one craft, but I thought that folks following this thread might find something of interest there.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-10-12 02:54am
by His Divine Shadow
I used to watch it, a few episodes but mostly the stuff he made never turned out that well so I kinda stopped watching.

Haven't done much lately, since wednesday since the both kids got surgery on their right hands and we've been busy with that. Hopefully the last time they need surgery. Barring future medical breakthroughs anyway, which might become a possibility when they're adults, not holding my breath though.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-10-12 05:17am
by Broomstick
I think the HTME guy is proving why people started specializing in various crafts - you can't be good at everything.

Hope the surgery went well and both are having uneventful recoveries.

Re: Blacksmithing

Posted: 2020-10-12 07:52am
by His Divine Shadow
They're both fine, biggest problem is they need to be careful for a week at least so things can heal up, gonna hae the bandages for 3 weeks or so before removing them, then splints, then splints only during night for many weeks yet.

I did forget to mention I redesigned the firepit once again and replaced the tuyere with a pipe that is probably 40mm or so with a 25mm (1") hole. I expect the forge will work a lot better with the ability for a much increased air flow, more volume but less pressure.