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Thread: My current setup

  1. #1
    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    Default My current setup

    I wanted to take a moment to show you all my current setup for hot forging. I believe I've mentioned before that I use a big rounder of walnut as a pedestal, and that I was using a rail spike sunk part way into it as a post anvil for very light forging. Well; I began trying heavier and heavier stuff with it, and as a result the spike naturally sank all the way down, but I've discovered that for stock less than around 1/4x1" in section, this is just suitable. I'm even using a 3lb hammer at the moment. This is the largest stock I would ever try to use this for, but for thinner stuff (small to medium knives for instance) It is actually perfectly fine.

    The domed shape does not lend itself to a lot of forging techniques, or to finish forging flats, etc, but I thought some of you who would like to try their hand might find this maybe the eisiest setup to get your hands on.

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    as you see below, i'm actually using this for roughing in the profile and bevels of my larger wakizashi:

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    these swords and my plans for a parang or two are the reason I'm planning to get the sledge hammer head for my next step up in equipment.

    So far, I have a small propane torch and these swords turn out also to be about the largest thing I'd try to heat with it. It'll heat between a 2 and 4" section at a time to forging temps. I think if I build a refractory lined forge with an inner diameter around 3-4" and design it to take both of my little torches, this would be more than adequate for everything I've got in the works at the moment.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    You need a forge and anvil!

    But you already know that.

    Get youself a section of I beam or track at the scrap yard and get on google and build a brake drum forge. You can do the whole setup for $20.

    In spite of the bashing of the chineese "anvil shaped objects" in the other thread they are still better than restricting yourself to flattening one nail on the head of another nail!
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  3. #3
    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    the problem is that in my situation, $50 for a chunk of cast iron which will last a couple years (or less if there are any defects) is a lot of money. The sledge, if I am patient will cost $10-20 used and be more durable.

    the limitations of that rail spike (mostly the face geometry) aside, It really has done more for me than I ever expected. One of these days I'll have $200 to spare while one of those used 150-200lb steel anvils is listed on craigslist, as i still see from time to time. That will leave me pleased as punch.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Is there a rail yard nearby or a maintenance hub for the RR? Maybe they have small pieces of track available?
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Can't you grind or file it flat?

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    Lone Wolf COWBOYSURVIVAL's Avatar
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    Surely you can find a discarded brake drum and a discarded hair dryer in california. Yeah, a good anvil is hard to come by!
    Keep in mind the problem may be extremely complicated, though the "Fix" is often simple...

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    Senior Member Sparky93's Avatar
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    If you can't find an I-beam or a piece of train track, if you got a welding shop around check and see if they got any pieces of 1" scrap (or something to that effect 3/4"+), a piece of like 3" square casing and a piece of something like 1/4" plate. With that you aught to be able to cobble together a decent anvil for little cost. We got a couple welding shops in my little town, one of which makes aluminum smelting pots they send all over the world. They got 55 gallon drums filled full of scrap like that, that they will usually just give you cause they don't have any use for little scrap pieces. And since you have access to a milling machine you could get all that more intricate into your anvil and have something that will last you a long time. Just weld the thick plate onto one side of the square casing and weld the plate onto the bottom and cut off all the bits that don't look like an anvil and presto!
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    It's all mental.

    You just have to decide to do it, open your eyes to the raw materials at hand and get to work.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=homem...w=1440&bih=648

    http://www.google.com/search?q=homem...w=1440&bih=648

    You can build one of the brake drum forges for less than $20 including the blower.

    Last forge I built was a small one from a brake drum off a pinto, Vega or some small rig. I kept it small due to having to use charcoal instead of coal. It did real well for small knives.

    I scarfed my RR track from the club I once belonged too. One of the guys had about 20 feet he had cut into sections and was giving away. Clubs are a good source of tools, forges and anvils. Many times these items are swapped among club members over and over.

    Estate sales at old farms are the source of most of the tooling. Back when they worked mules and horses every farmer had a small forge for fitting horse shoes. That is also why almost everyone claims their "grandad was a blacksmith" when very few were able to do any real metalwork.

    Last weekend at the historic site camp I was at one of the fellows had a forge he had made from a wooden box with fireclay made from kitty litter mixed with water. He was using a home made coffin bellows and had an antique anvil with a double horn, one on each end, and a spike base.

    The neatest one I ever saw was a sword forge made from an old bathtub.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 04-08-2012 at 10:56 PM.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I do like the ingenuity.......Thanks for posting.
    Interesting to see what can be used when that all you have , if the correct tool is not available....thinking out side the box, as it were.
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    Senior Member Sparky93's Avatar
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    I found these video last night while browsing through youtube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDWz54HsenU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShleI...feature=relmfu
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVehk...feature=relmfu

    They are a three part video, in the first two he uses a brake drum forge with a $5 bathroom vent fan as the air supply. In the last video he uses nothing but a steel tube and some rocks as his anvil and hammer to make a camp cook kit.
    "Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."
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    Minimalist Camping: Enjoy nature, don't be tortured by it. Take as little as you need to be safe and comfortable.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    That last one was pretty cool. I'm sure mankind has made many a tool that way. Nice find.

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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    I've got a great little blower i salvaged from one of the microwaves that were sacrificed to the welder project. I plan to incorporate it into next charcoal forge. for now I use it in a hand-held fashion when I fire the coffee can forge for heat treating.

    You don't get much more primitive than a stone anvil. I believe that granite was actually used in Europe through the bronze age. I've seen at least a couple references, and have wanted to try to bring home a nice appropriately sized boulder to play with.
    Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice - Grey's Law.
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    Senior Member Sparky93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canid View Post
    I've got a great little blower i salvaged from one of the microwaves that were sacrificed to the welder project. I plan to incorporate it into next charcoal forge. for now I use it in a hand-held fashion when I fire the coffee can forge for heat treating.

    You don't get much more primitive than a stone anvil. I believe that granite was actually used in Europe through the bronze age. I've seen at least a couple references, and have wanted to try to bring home a nice appropriately sized boulder to play with.
    I am on a blacksmith forum and they love when somebody comes on and ask them what they need to get started blacksmithing... Their answer "two rocks and a fire..."
    "Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."
    Thomas Paine

    Minimalist Camping: Enjoy nature, don't be tortured by it. Take as little as you need to be safe and comfortable.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    ...and in other news, an irregular meat sprocket was seriously injured this afternoon when he inadvertently unleashed an avalanche of boulders on granite mountain just south of town.

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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    my gears never did quite mesh properly. maybe that'll get 'em knocked into alignment.
    Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice - Grey's Law.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    That last one was pretty cool. I'm sure mankind has made many a tool that way. Nice find.
    He made that look entirely too easy.
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    It's easy to find something to use as an anvil. any decent sized piece of steel will work. My first forge was an old BBQ grill and the exhaust from a vacuum cleaner for a blower. I had an old chunk of rr track that a friend found in his bosses workshop. that was all i needed. well accept for a couple of hammers, (started out with a carpenters hammer and a ball paean) a hack saw, and a couple of files.

  18. #18
    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    Yeah; well, not all of us do.
    Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice - Grey's Law.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    As a small boy, there was a retired railroad guy and his wife living across the alley in our small town.

    As he was around during the day, I would hang out, watch and help in the garden or his shop, generally making a pest of myself.

    Under his work bench was a section or railroad rail, about 20 inches long, (probably smaller, but I was small, so it looked bigger.....anyway I wanted that rail, for what ever reason.

    So he says if I could carry it, I could have it....One day when he wasn't there I showed up with my wagon (my wagon got a LOT of use) and a board to use as a ramp.
    Lots of pushing, shoving, wheel blocking,.....I got it loaded up and carried it home.

    My mother saw it and ask where it came from, so I told her.....she made me give it back....That meant loading it back up, hauling it back and unloading it again.

    Some years later, I had moved to the big city, the old guy pasted away, and I learned that his son had thrown that piece of rail in the "haul away pile"...I was heart broken.

    Moral to this story, keep your eyes open, and never tell a kid something that you don't really mean, (I guess he meant I had to literary "carry it")
    I still don't have a big piece of rail............
    Last edited by hunter63; 04-15-2012 at 05:04 PM. Reason: splin'
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  20. #20
    Resident Wildman Wildthang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    As a small boy, there was a retired railroad guy and his wife living across the alley in our small town.

    As he was around during the day, I would hang out, watch and help in the garden or his shop, generally making a pest of myself.

    Under his work bench was a section or railroad rail, about 20 inches long, (probably smaller, but I was small, so it looked bigger.....anyway I wanted that rail, for what ever reason.

    So he says if I could carry it, I could have it....One day when he wasn't there I showed up with my wagon (my wagon got a LOT of use) and a board to use as a ramp.
    Lots of pushing, shoving, wheel blocking,.....I got it loaded up and carried it home.

    My mother saw it and ask where it came from, so I told her.....she made me give it back....That meant loading it back up, hauling it back and unloading it again.

    Some years later, I had moved to the big city, the old guy pasted away, and I learned that his son had thrown that piece of rail in the "haul away pile"...I was heart broken.

    Moral to this story, keep your eyes open, and never tell a kid something that you don't really mean, (I guess he meant I had to literary "carry it")
    I still don't have a big piece of rail............
    Get an oxy accetaline torch and go visit an abandon railroad spur.

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