Monday, November 19, 2012

Utah Bound

I’m on my way to visit my son stationed in Utah for Thanksgiving. Last year when I was there we went to the Golden Spike National Monument. You can see in the picture how exited he was to be standing at the place where the two railroads joined (ya not really). He did like the trains though. This year I have more excitement for him as I brought my rock hammer and geological maps. Utah by the way Rocks!..... I didn’t mean that as a pun.

I forgot to take detailed pictures of my forge as Cincinnatus requested, but I did include a photo of the fire box and clinker breaker. I purchased it from Kayne and Son Blacksmithing Supplies out of North Carolina. Yes it was expensive, and yes I could have welded one up, but it was easier to buy one and in the end it will outlast and work better than anything I could have cobbled together.     

The clinker breaker is the three sided iron item in the photo. The metal rod next to it is the lever to turn it back and forth. The clinker breaker is held in place between the fire box and cast iron elbow. In use the flat part is oriented to the top creating a gap around the side. The gap is small enough to prevent coal from fall though, but big enough to allow air from the bellow to pass unrestricted. When it gets clogged with ash and clinkers the handle is rotated back and forth breaking up and cleaned out the obstruction. By 
the way the disk with the handle is the ash dump that goes on the bottom.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Happy Days the Forge is Running

Happy days! I finally got my forge shed up and running. I’d been using a small rivet forge in the past and it was a real pain. It was tough to get metal up to heat and it always clogged. Weather was a problem as well as I forged outside and always had to fight the wind.  Now I don’t have to worry about the ever changing weather in Nebraska and I will have something to do all winter.

My bigger forge works great. It was given to me by a friend free of charge. All I had to do to was put in a new fire box and line it with heat resistant concrete to give it more heat retention. The best thing about it is that it has a clinker breaker. This is a device for breaking up slag and gunk that builds up in the air hole. No more clogged air holes. The blower is also way bigger than I had before and requires very little effort in cranking and it puts out a large volume of air.

For today I made a new holdfast for my bench, a part for an 18th century candle holder, and a hook for a door. I got carried away with putting bees wax on everything for finish and coated my hold fast. Now it doesn't  "hold fast” so I will have to burn off the bees wax in the forge to get it to work. My other hold fasts (you can see them on my previous work bench post) worked fine, but would get in the way when I used my plow plane as the arms of the fence would run into the bent arms of the hold fast. I wanted a new one that had a very low profile like the one used by the Dominy’s.  
Lots to learn as I know little about blacksmith, but boy I sure like it!  I intend to learn how to make hinges and other hardware for my furniture and tool projects. One thing I am getting better at is making nails and I plan on making a lot of them this winter.