Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hammer and top swage

I finalized all my power hammer tooling for making hand hammers, so I made my first hand hammer under a power hammer this evening. It's a will be a little less than 2 pounds once it is totally finished.....I still have to polish, harden, temper, and handle.

The starting piece!

The hole punched!


The tooling needs a bit of tweeking but it worked pretty good.

I made a tool called a top swage the other day. It turned out ok, especially considering I've never made one before and never seen one made either!

And in a shocking turn of events.......

Back in the winter of 2010 I built a properly scaled down model of the wooden boat I eventually hope to build. The model was 1/8-scale, and was quite detailed, with seats, pins for holding the sail ropes, and basically a 100% working model. It would sail great all around our pond. Here are some pictures of the boat and building process.

Back in the spring or summer of 2010, I was sailing the boat in the pond, when it suddenly sank without warning. I still have no idea what happened. It was fine one moment, and then it went straight down. I knew where it sunk, but the water there is 20 feet deep, extremely dark, and extremely cold, even on bright, sunny, warm, days.

Today, we were out fishing. The line on one of the poles I was using, suddenly went taunt, and the pole started jerking. I grabbed the pole and attempted to set the hook. The fish had let go by this time, but there was an immense amount of dead weight on the line. I started pulling, and felt that whatever the weight was, it was being pulled along. I gently continued pulling, wowzers.......up came my boat. Here are some pictures of a model boat that's been sitting 20 foot under water, in all weather, and in the mud for a year and a half.


So now I suppose I'll get some experience in boat restoration!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Sledge hammer and cupping tool

After the heavy forging Chase Saxton and I did, I realized I needed a second heavy sledge-hammer in my shop. I have a 10 pound sledge right now, that is a pretty decent one, but that's it. I stopped by the old antique store in town (where I got my last sledge head,) and picked up a 16-pound funny shaped sledge. It was all they had, but I figured with a little work, it would do.

I sawed off the original faces to decrease the weight as well as to get rid of some chips and pitting. Then I set to work to shorten the hammer-head by "upsetting" the material. I made one of the hammer faces round and one face flat.  By the time I cut, forged, and ground it into a usable piece of hardware, I had a 13.25-pound hammer head, that weighed 14.25-pounds with the handle.

Here is the original hammer head!

Here is a sped-up video of making the hammer-eye drift for this project, and then the work involved in upsetting such a large hammer head!

Here I am forging a "cupping tool" in the new striking anvil with the new sledge hammer.
And yesterday I made my first "top-swage." Here are some pictures!

Off to work for today!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Heavy Forging

Well the title pretty much says it all!
Last week, I did some serious heavy forging here at the Fiery Furnace Forge Blacksmith LLC studio.

For some time now I have wanted a "striking anvil" for students to use when they come, and for myself when I make anvil tools. A "stiking anvil" is a flat, plain anvil made from cheap steel. The idea is, if a student swings a 12 pound sledge and misses the hot metal and slams it into the face or corner of your striking anvil, he may dent or break it, but it is an easy repair or a cheap replacement.
On the other hand, if a student misses and hits your real anvil and takes a chunk out of it, you've just broken a $500 shop tool.

So a striking anvil is a cheap and very smart investment. Plus in general tool making, it saves wear and tear on your anvil.

So last week, I up-'n-decided to make me a striking anvil.

The venture began with a trip to the steel yard where I obtained the following materials.
2-inch square steel tubing for legs
3/4-inch thick plate steel for the anvil base
1-inch square tubing for leg supports
5/8-inch plate for feet
and a 2-inch x 5-inch x 16-inch solid piece of flat bar steel for the anvil itself.....this piece alone weighed 45 pounds.

The next thing to do was build the stand for the anvil. This consisted of everything accept the flat bar piece that was the anvil iself.


Base plate before welding and cutting!

Base plate after welding and cutting. (Remember the square holes.....they are important.)

The feet! Notice the round holes....these are for bolting the stand down to the concrete, once it is finished!

One leg welded on! The legs are welded on at a 9 degree angle. This is an unimportant, unintersting fact that I just randomly decided to put in!

I kind of forgot to take some inbetween shots here. But basically the legs were filled with sand (to increase weight and decrease vibration,) then the feet and braces where welded on.

Now in an anvil, you have a square hole called a "hardy" hole. A large variety of tooling can be made for different processes, to fit in the hardy hole. So in order to make a striking anvil, I had to put at least one "hardy" hole in it. I decided to put two in mine. The standard hardy hole size is 1-inch so I decided to put a 1-inch hole in my striking anvil. My big shop anvil has a 1.25-inch hole though, so in order to make tooling for it, I decided to also put a 1.25-inch hole in my striking anvil. That is the reason for the two square holes in the stand. They are not the hardy holes, but they are clearance holes so that the base plate does not get in the way of the hardy holes in the actual "anvil." (Told you it'd be important!)
So anyway, there are two ways to get a square hole in a 2-inch x 5-inch x 16-inch chunk of steel. Hire someone to machine it.....perfect but EXPENSIVE, or "drill and drift" the holes yourself. I opted for the latter.
So what is "drill and drift?" Well drilling is the process of starting with a small drill bit and drilling a "pilot" hole through the material. Then you work your way up in consecutive sizes to the finished size. I drilled a 3/4-inch round hole where I wanted the 1-inch square hole to be, and a 1-inch round hole where I wanted the 1.25-inch square hole to be. It took about an hour to drill these two holes.

Marked for drilling!

During drilling!


Now what is "drifting?" Drifting is the process of taking a round hole, like the ones I drilled, heating up the area around the round hole, and then driving a square tool called a "drift" through the round hole. The square drift being the desired size of the finished square hole. In order to heat such a large and heavy chunk of steel up, I needed some handles on it. So I welded some scrap steel handles on.

Next I needed some way to support the piece while I drove the drift through. So I made this "make-shift" stand to get the job done.

The drifts!

Now I knew I wouldn't be able to drive these gigantic drifts through this gigantic steel by myself. I needed a little extra umph, and extra hand, and an extra sledge hammer. I didn't need the extra ego, but that kind of came with the package! :D Enter Chase Saxton, my blacksmith friend from Bowling Green Ky.
I asked Chase to come over and help me drift the two holes square and then in exchange, we would make him a new forging hammer. He agreed, and came over to help with the big work.  We did not take pictures of the process but we recorded it all and made some videos!

We got it all done and here are some pictures!

I also built a bandsaw stand last week! Here are a few pictures!

I do have some pictures of the hammer Chase and I made as well as some other heavy forging I've been doing, but this is all I have time for right now!