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DALE'S FIRESTORM OF HOT IDEAS – Includes forge, foundry, pottery and glass kilns and a heated pool.  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
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DALE'S FIRESTORM OF HOT IDEAS – Includes forge, foundry, pottery and glass kilns and a heated pool. ---FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS--- and get a glass of water. Just reading about so much heat will make you thirsty.

Related links --- Charcoal/Bio-char Production – Utilizing the volatile gasses, reducing pollution and fire risk http://www.permies.com/t/19523/stoves/Charcoal-Bio-char-Production-Utilizing --- Dale's Outdoor Kitchen - Rocket Stoves - cob ovens - Bio gas Start Up - Charcoal Option http://www.permies.com/t/19774/stoves/Dale-Outdoor-Kitchen-Rocket-Stoves ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IT STARTS DOWN HERE
Vast quantities of forestry waste and other tree waste are burned in my area each winter in outdoor burn piles. All of my fuel will serve to reduce that sort of thing, so any use that can be made of this resource will not add to pollution or resource depletion. Some of it will be used for soil improvement and some will be burned for fuel. There will be a net reduction in pollution and it reduces oil, gas and electricity consumption.
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BLACKSMITH'S FORGE
I've decided that I want to eventually have a forge on the property. It's something I've toyed with a few times in the past although my metal working experience is limited to cutting and drilling with a little fire treatment of tools thrown in. I hope to learn all about the craft but that is a secondary motivation. My reasons for wanting a forge are as follows.

1. Tourist draw - Forging is fun to watch. I'm looking to have a wide array of events and structures that will set my place apart from the crowd as a tourist destination. I'll invite professionals and amateurs to practice their craft using my equipment and space for a reasonable price. A forge building will have cob covering almost all flammable surfaces and an earth covered roof. There will be a spectator viewing area and the warm building will serve other functions in the evening.

2. Marketing Charcoal – Making Charcoal and Biogas --- I have large quantities of wood waste available to me and can get paid to take it away. I plan to use much of it in hugelkultur but also am looking for other uses for it. The idea is that I am not perceived as a waste disposal plant. A small touristy industry that consumes lots of charcoal is a perfect fit for a wood disposal business. Certain metals such as lead and zinc will be banned completely. I want ashes to be a safe soil amendment and to avoid airborne pollutants.

3. wood gas --- The production of top grade highly carbonized charcoal entails production of a large quantity of volatile gasses, mostly methane and carbon monoxide with a bit of alcohol etc. This gas represents about 75% of the total energy available from the wood. Most small charcoal producers waste this energy or only use a bit of it. All of the other energy intensive items listed below can utilize wood gas.
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SMELTING - This is the melting metals for casting. Many industrial sized foundries are extremely noisy. These things often include hammer or stamping mills. Any hammering at my place will be limited to hand held hammers. I'm looking at providing a space where artists could cast a bronze statue or where the blacksmiths could sand cast using recycled iron as a feed stock.

Raw ores high in sulphur or other airborne pollutants will not be welcome. Most artists work with metals that are already refined. Wastes will not be kept on site. Certain metals such as lead and zinc will be banned completely. This requires some research but broadly, I don't want to host anything that produces dangerous wastes. The cost of crucibles and furnaces are prohibitive for most part time artists and the majority live in the city and simply don't have the space. A facility like this would spread the costs amongst many users. Wood gas from charcoal manufacture has been used successfully for smelting metals. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

POTTERY KILN --- Wood fired pottery kilns are popular amongst clay artists because of the many special effects that can be attained in the glazing. The skill required to produce a suitable kiln and to manage it is more than I care to take on. I'll be seeking a long term tenancy agreement combined with a deal on providing wood gas and/or stick wood for firing the kiln. The kiln would be only part of a workshop with plenty of work space in a beautiful setting. There are already many amateur and professional potters in the area. I would like to entice a professional to move to the property. They could give classes and deal with all matters concerning the kiln. The professional potter would be given an area to store supplies to be marketed to the hobbyists. I would have no stake in that little business.

I would charge customers a monthly fee to use the space which would include work and storage space so that they never have to haul their supplies back and forth. I'd also take a slice of workshop fees. Customers would pay for firings according to kiln space required. All of the potter's own production and anything made from material sales would be theirs alone and they would be paid to fire for others. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GLASS KILN
Most glass artists use natural gas as their heat source. Methane is a chief constituent of wood gas. Historically, wood and charcoal were used by glass works. I'll have to see if there is interest amongst that crowd. I'd expect to heat the main furnace with wood gas, but propane may be required for torch work. Annealing kilns could use charcoal or wood gas. Glass is much more picky about temperature during cool down than is pottery. I think it would come down to the affect of ash on the finished products and whether annealing temperatures can be met. Electric kilns are often employed in glass work. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GETTING OTHERS TO BUILD OR FINANCE THE IMPORTANT PARTS
I will seek to get a blacksmiths guild, sculptors guild and a potter or group of potters to finance the building of the forge and kiln(s)etc. I would build all storage and supporting space, including public viewing area, but let them deal with the technicalities of their particular craft. They would own the forge, furnace, crucibles, kilns etc. for a given amount of time after which all rights of ownership revert to me and we'd have a simple tenancy agreement. We'd have to come to an agreement concerning parking, hours of operation, noise etc.

No such deals will be struck without a legally binding exit agreement which could be initiated by either party should we develop irreconcilable differences or health or personal reasons requires the resident potter or leader of the other activities to move on. The terms of these agreements will depend on who finances the building of everything, since some require a large investment. If I build everything, we'd just have to agree on the length of notice required. If the clubs or individuals pay for assets, we'd need a deal that prescribes reimbursement of some of the cost of construction when our relationship is severed prematurely. It's quite likely that I'll take on an older person who may need to retire at some point or a young couple who would eventually want to buy their own home and studio in the case of the potters. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AND FINALLY THE HEATED POOL
I want the whole property to have a spa sort of atmosphere. To me, that means there must be either a giant hot tub or a small pool. Solar heating is all that would be required during summer, but when it's cold outside, wood heat is needed. The pool area is right by the best site for the potters kiln. The building enclosing the pool would be built in much the same shape as a bread box water heater with insulated walls except for a large wall of glass to the south. I'll never understand why anyone would build an outdoor swimming pool in climates where they are too cold for 9 months of the year. It's a common practice. I expect to keep a hot tub at a pretty constant temperature but to allow a larger pool to fluctuate in temperature to some degree. If you get cold, go back to the hot tub. I could see heating it more on weekends and during special events. The kiln would be just north of the swimming area with most of it protruding through the north wall. The two buildings will be joined along this wall. Only the door of the kiln will be within the potters studio. Each building will have a separate RMH heating system since kiln firings don't happen every day. I won't build or plant anything big near the east or west walls. This will allow for additional kilns in the future and expansion of the pool and recreation area to the south.

I once heated a home exclusively through the use of two pottery kilns that were fired on alternate days to achieve a fairly constant supply of heat. As the kiln count goes up, it becomes easier to manage space heating through this method.
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AUTOMATED WOOD FEEDING --- These two threads discuss various ways of feeding RMH and other wood burners.rocket stove slide allows for burning of 6 foot long firewood http://www.permies.com/t/10419/stoves/Rocket-stove-slide-burning-foot --- RMH Auto Feeders - Water Clock Feed Belt –for dust,chips,chunks-Rope,Pulley,Slide - OTHERS METHODS http://www.permies.com/t/19863/stoves/RMH-Auto-Feeders-Water-Clock
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TIME FRAME
This is a long term plan. The only items I expect to produce within the year are a hot tub and terra cotta kiln and bread oven. The property is much more presentable now that it was last year, so my next step is to contact the various artist groups to gauge interest. There's a wood working, knitting and other craft sort of club not far away but they don't have fire centred activities. My best guess is that if I build it, they'll come and if I expect them to build it, they'll think about it.

Does anyone have ideas for other energy intensive activities that would serve to enhance the experience of visiting a tourist centred farm and campground ?

Thank You: Dale Hodgins --- Artistically Inclined Pyromaniac



 
Dale Hodgins
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I've checked out the local blacksmithing scene in Victoria. Their work space is more than a ten mile drive for most members. It costs $30 per year to join the club. This pays for a news letter and some supplies. From what I've gathered, they are paid to show up at fairs and other events and the work space is paid for from appearance fees. According to the news letter, several members sold out their inventories of forged items at the Saanich fair this fall.

A wider search of guilds around North America has revealed that many groups have struggled with workspace issues due to the noise levels and issues concerning smoke. I can't find information concerning Nanaimo, where my land is located other than the revelation that some from Nanaimo are driving 75 miles to Victoria regularly. It may be that this long commute is due to the social nature of the work and member's desire to learn from their peers.

If it turns out that Nanaimo lacks a suitable work space, then I'm going to make them an offer to host everything at my place. I only have two neighbours who are likely to hear any hammering, Julius and Tom. The closest one is 1/4 mile away. Both men are rough, tough outdoors men who fix their own trucks and have built their own homes. I suspect that a free membership for each of them will be all that is needed to make them happy to have a neighbourhood forge. My involvement with demolition should bring in plenty of metal. Julius works for a trucking outfit and already scours their scrap bins for useful metal.

I need quite a few items made of metal, including a big gate, hinges of all sorts,welded water tanks, a charcoal retort etc. Many blacksmiths are also welders. I'd be happy to provide the space for the first couple of years in exchange for these services. In the past, I've toyed with the idea of buying a truck mounted Lincoln welder. This would make a lot of sense if I have a large number of visitors who might wish to rent an expensive machine like that. I've never welded either, but who could resist if it's out in the shed calling my name.

The annual meeting of the Victoria guild is three weeks from now. I'm going to join up.
 
Satamax Antone
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Dale Hodgins
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Satamax Antone wrote:http://donkey32.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=experiment&thread=540&page=1

http://sphotos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/527008_2350385856496_1720650119_n.jpg

http://sphotos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/208893_2350386256506_1683049651_n.jpg


Thanks for this. The drawing of the forge looks like it might be suitable for sword making or other long stuff. Do you do much metal working ? Any idea of pounds per hour charcoal consumption ?
 
Marianne Cicala
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Dale-
love the idea of community hot studios - worked in one years ago. Couple of things to keep in mind:
not all char. is the same and burn temp, consistant heat etc must be considered.
This link may be helpful: http://metalworking-blacksmithing.knoji.com/blacksmithing-differences-between-coal-charcoal-and-coke-as-fuel/

in order to cast bronze aka lost wax casting unless the pieces are simple, most bronze castings are done centrifugally and therefore you must have someone knowledgable as spinning molten metal from a crucible into your future piece; not something to learn as you go - too many potential dangers. sand casting is surely an option.
only hand held hammers - certainly an option, but larger pieces aka gates etc with heavier components either need 2 smiths working together (time honored tradition) or a power hammer. Not the auto constant banging as you noted in commercial operation, but a foot treddle operated version which applies force greater then hammer & anvil saving your body and time.
be aware of participants working knowledge - hot shops need only responsible tennants and knowledeable instructures aka liability!
I'm lucky enough to have a smith-husband & i've had 30 years of bronze casting. Best of luck and please keep us posted.
my-work-024.jpg
[Thumbnail for my-work-024.jpg]
 
Dale Hodgins
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Marianne Cooper wrote:Dale-
love the idea of community hot studios - worked in one years ago. Couple of things to keep in mind:
not all char. is the same and burn temp, consistant heat etc must be considered.
This link may be helpful: http://metalworking-blacksmithing.knoji.com/blacksmithing-differences-between-coal-charcoal-and-coke-as-fuel/

in order to cast bronze aka lost wax casting unless the pieces are simple, most bronze castings are done centrifugally and therefore you must have someone knowledgable as spinning molten metal from a crucible into your future piece; not something to learn as you go - too many potential dangers. sand casting is surely an option.
only hand held hammers - certainly an option, but larger pieces aka gates etc with heavier components either need 2 smiths working together (time honored tradition) or a power hammer. Not the auto constant banging as you noted in commercial operation, but a foot treddle operated version which applies force greater then hammer & anvil saving your body and time.
be aware of participants working knowledge - hot shops need only responsible tennants and knowledeable instructures aka liability!
I'm lucky enough to have a smith-husband & i've had 30 years of bronze casting. Best of luck and please keep us posted.


All good points Marianne. I intend to only supply the space for many of these crafts. A sculptor's guild or other entity would be my tenant. An all inclusive insurance policy in their name would be required. If they let the insurance lapse, I bolt the door.

By putting experienced people from the various insured groups in charge, I hope to limit my exposure. I'll still have insurance just in case someone manages to tumble down the steep bank or impale themselves in the forest. My bus passengers would not be allowed to mess with molten metals or glass. They would watch these activities from a glassed in seating area.

Working with clay and forging are two things that the well protected novice should survive intact.

On the hammer issue, I've watched enough video to make me believe that the power hammers are indispensable and I want one bad. Thick cob walls combined with some acoustic tweaking could protect the neighbourhood from the racket. I could see enforcing some time restrictions. No power hammer before 9am. or after 7pm. The hammers look like something that would reduce the digit count on the hands of idiots. I saw some on YouTube where the operator wore no ear or eye protection.
 
Marianne Cicala
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power hammer on a digit = flat & fat LOL & yes to the idiot without hearing protection!
you may want to find your local chapter of ABANA - Artistic Blacksmith Association of North America. This is truly an international organization. Sounds like your set-up may be a perfect spot for a working conference.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Marianne Cooper wrote:power hammer on a digit = flat & fat LOL & yes to the idiot without hearing protection!
you may want to find your local chapter of ABANA - Artistic Blacksmith Association of North America. This is truly an international organization. Sounds like your set-up may be a perfect spot for a working conference.


I'm joining the local guild. Currently some members are driving 75 miles to use a facility in Victoria. My place is 8 miles from town and on a road that many take when they gather firewood or use the Nanaimo Lakes recreation area. The river in the valley below my place is a popular swimming spot in the summer. Few swim in salt water around here. So people can usually find other reasons to drive past my place.

When I look at all of the toys and their price tags, this is something that I would not want to do alone. More importantly, I know myself. If I were a member of a distant group with all of the toys, I would seldom go there if it entailed more than a 10 mile drive. But when all of this stuff is at my doorstep and closing time doesn't apply to me, I may find myself banging away after midnight or before dawn on Christmas day.

Regarding charcoal --- I have access to lots of Maple and Douglas fir that I can be paid to dispose of. Gary Oak and Arbutus (Pacific Madrona)are available but I'd be paying for it usually, except for the stumps which nobody wants. The wood gas from just about any wood, could power a gas forge. About 75% of the total energy from the charcoal feedstock becomes wood gas with methane as a chief component. I'd like to schedule charcoal manufacture for weekends when the wood gas is most needed for everything from powering the forge to smelting iron to firing pottery. When no gas is being produced, a separate forge would operate on charcoal.

Cooks and black powder enthusiasts are able to use softwood charcoal. The dregs will become bio char. In the process of producing good charcoal, there's bound to be lots of bark and dirt which can be mixed with ash and used on the soil. Soils around here are acidic, so a strong base like wood ash is useful.
 
Marianne Cicala
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It's all very interesting - I hope you keep me updated. as far as equipment, ABANA will be your best place for used powerhammers etc. The rest of the stuff you need, prongs, hammers, chasing tools you can make. Shipping will be the issue for any powerhammer- Coop (husband) still uses a 1955 powerhammer and a few years ago, needed a HUGE hammer for an enormous commission and found an outfit in CA that was offering free shipping which would have been thousands (we're on the east coast).
As far as casting equipment & other tools to work wax, check dentists; they pitch tools regularly and I've been collecting assorted pick, prodders etc for years and that where I got my centra-fuse.
best of luck, although from the sounds of it, none is needed.
M
 
Dale Hodgins
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Marianne Cooper wrote:It's all very interesting - I hope you keep me updated. as far as equipment, ABANA will be your best place for used powerhammers etc. The rest of the stuff you need, prongs, hammers, chasing tools you can make. Shipping will be the issue for any powerhammer- Coop (husband) still uses a 1955 powerhammer and a few years ago, needed a HUGE hammer for an enormous commission and found an outfit in CA that was offering free shipping which would have been thousands (we're on the east coast).
As far as casting equipment & other tools to work wax, check dentists; they pitch tools regularly and I've been collecting assorted pick, prodders etc for years and that where I got my centra-fuse.
best of luck, although from the sounds of it, none is needed.
M


Update
BLACKSMITHING PRODUCTS --- Wish list --- But first a funny story --- I've been watching many of the tool reviews posted on YouTube by self anointed experts. When it comes to hammers, saws and wrenches, the demonstrations usually make perfect sense. It's a different story with bladed cutting tools. The presenters often produce two different knives which are put through various wood chopping and slicing tests. They bang on them with chunks of firewood and swing them like cleavers in vain attempts to turn hunting knives into splitting axes. Machetes meant for clearing brush are pitted against survival knives in chopping through four inch thick, dry hunks of firewood. One guy made a Samurai sword. It would seem that the best test of such a device would be to kill a Samurai with it. As there was a dearth of willing participants in his back yard, he proceeded to cut a huge hedge with it. He slashed through wood three inches thick and 12 feet in the air in a process that took hours and made a truck load of waste. It was dark when he quit filming. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My blacksmithing interests are mostly related to functional cutting tools. I hope to never make a pair of pliers or any other product that is readily available at reasonable cost. As a lifelong recycler, I have naturally come up with products based on items plucked from the waste stream.

Here's a partial list of bladed tools I'd like to make. I want at least one of each and would use excess production as gifts should they not sell. I don't envision production runs of more than ten of any unproven item. Along with a description of the item, I've included some thoughts in production details.
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I think the term putting the cart ahead of the horse is appropriate here.--- But I have a proven track record in this regard. I bought two kilns and began making pottery a decade ago and had stuff in stores two weeks later. Three days after buying some paints, I sold my first painting and sold six that week. A week after buying carving tools, I was making a living wage knocking out one of a kind carved bowls. During the spring and summer of 2004, I moved around $5000 worth of these bowls while working on a number of demolition projects as well. I'm much more committed to metal working than I was to any of these pursuits.

I hope that those who buy my blades will use them for the jobs they are designed for. Only one of these could have brought down that hedge.

1. Long handled billhook meant to deal with Himalaya berries --- Long, light blade made from truck spring, forged to basic shape, then ground. One foot of gas pipe is flared at one end to receive handle. After flare is made, the other end is split either hot or with a grinder. Hammer flat so that a neat fold is created and the two half rounds are flattened out. Split the fold open and use a section of spring as the working tool to open the slit. Might be easier to jam the spring in early on so that the pipe can conform to it and splitting won't be necessary. Insert the spring which has already been roughly shaped. Drill and bolt or rivet the spring and collar together so they don't fly apart while welding. Forge weld them together and incorporate the rivet. Grind. Attach handle with rivets or hot wire.

2. Small hook knife for cutting and dropping green material. --- Cut basic shape, including handle tang from dead saw blades and forge or grind the cutting edge. Install rope handle grip which is dipped in glue or rubber. A hole in the handle allows various attachments to belt.

3. Ivy chopper --- A billhook cleaver type knife which has a pronounced curve so that Ivy can be cut from the trunks of trees without girdling the tree.

4. Ivy drag knife.--- A hook blade meant to be dragged along the ground to cut ivy roots and stems. Replacement blades bolt onto permanently affixed metal plate on long sturdy handle. Hook into the ground and pull hard to cut visible and unseen ivy that has formed formidable ground mats.

May also be used to girdle trees infested with ivy. A dull blade could be used to grab ivy stems 6 to 8 feet up tree trunks and rip them free with a mighty tug.

5. Broom slasher --- Another billhook. This one needs to be about 40 inches long so that missed swings hit the ground rather than the users legs or feet. The tip of the hook is sacrificial as it keeps the whole blade from digging into the dirt.

Handles --- There are a number of existing tools and sports items which have good handles that could support my blades.

1. Hockey sticks ---
One of the toughest and most available handle materials available in Canada comes from damaged sticks. Usually that damage is to the blade which must be cut off when a tool is made. I'm thinking of these handles for light billhooks that would be used in a sweep and draw movement to cut berry bushes, hedges etc. They would also work well for chop and drop hook blades that work with a tugging motion. They would not be suitable for hard chopping actions. These sticks are already nicely shaped to fit the hand and most have hockey tape on the handle area. A fresh layer of tape gives old sticks a nice new look and it can be used to sculpt a better shape for grip. The strength to weight ratio is excellent. Most customers ordering one on line would already have a pretty good idea of weight and strength for such a common item.

2. Baseball bats --- Suitable for large cleaver and French billhook type tools. I could see using these for hedge laying or for hacking through roots, thick ivy that has wrapped around tree trunks, Scotch broom or kudzu infestations and clearing small trees up to 3 inches in diameter. This sort of tool is going to weigh 3 - 8 lb. more than the bat alone but will be much more useful than an axe or machete on heavy clearing jobs where an axe would glance off into the dirt.

A kerf sawn into the bottom third of the bat would hold the blade with inset bolts. Heated barrel rings could be slid from the handle end until they reach the fatter working end. As the metal shrinks, it would squeeze the kerf tightly to prevent a crack from working its way up the handle. Every slasher movie needs a few of these !!!

I have cut one of those little sheet metal garden sheds into chunks for recycling with a similar device. It took under five minutes. The bolts were all rusty, so I used a heavy home made billhook to slice through the sheet metal. A very cathartic exercise. The noise was thunderous and it quickly became a spectator sport. People can't look away when they see a crude sword being used to kill a small building.

3. Field hockey sticks --- These already have a flat side that would allow blades to be bolted on. They are the perfect length and weight for the broom slasher and for lighter ivy cleavers. The offset blade may want to roll somewhat. If roll is too severe, the blade could be set in a kerf.

4. Tennis and other rackets --- Many of these rackets are now made of exotic materials but there are plenty of old rackets with good wooden handles that would be perfect for chop and drop blades. A fresh layer of hockey tape would give a nice new appearance and give superior grip. These rackets often make it to the free pile at yard sales.

5. Canoe paddles --- These aren't nearly as tough as a field hockey stick but they could easily support chop and drop blades. They are nice and light and usually come with a varnished finish. Badly worn paddles are seldom repaired.

6. Curling brooms --- The only thing I know about curling is that there are brooms with nice thick handles. I've hauled many to the dump. ----------------------------------------------------------------------

7. Tool handles --- When they're available, rake and shovel type handles are great. I'm letting everybody know not to throw anything out. Millions of these are sitting in sheds waiting for the owner to finally use them for something or give them to me.

8. Household handles --- Brooms,mops and squeegees have handles that could work for the lighter blades. Hockey tape would give them some grip. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Last resort --- Hornbeam --- If I need an exceptionally strong handle, I may have to use the draw knife to dress some branches. Hornbeam is a common street tree here. It makes handles that are superior to those from ash or hickory. It goes by the name ironwood in some places.

All of this imagined work has made me tired. Good Night.
 
Marianne Cicala
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you're a busy guy. You may want to noodle around farms with old rusty tractors etc. The springs are perfect for working knife material. can't wait to see pics!
 
Dale Hodgins
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I've made fun of a few videos on YouTube. Now for a good one.

This guy is using a reaping hook that took him one minute to make. As he cuts brush away with his machete, the hook bends the material over, making it easier for him to see and because it is sprung away from the cut, the material is easier to cut. The hook then drags the brush away from the work zone. Simple and effective. Watching him for one minute will teach you more about cutting brush than a half hour survivalist tool review. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zoTfoZJMUg This guy has great technique on larger wood. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDwykIaNI-M
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I'll want to post my own videos on YouTube to advertize various cutting tools. The movie Sling Blade was quite popular. I can do a pretty good impression of Billy Bob Thornton's iconic character Karl Childers. I'm thinking of posting a funny bit concerning each tool which also serves as a safety lesson.

Here's a sample add --- remember it's done in character. --- "Got me a shed fulla knives and such. I'm sellin em ..hmmmh." "I call this one a broom slasher. Some people call it a sling blade, but I call it a broom slasher. It cuts Scotch broom quickern a jackrabbit ---- uh ---- hummm." --- " Heard about a guy took wuna these to someone what broke into the house. Killed him. ---- uh ---- hummm . "

"I call this one a long handled billhook. Some people call it a sling blade, but I call it a long handled billhook. Some kids took one of these to some blackberry bushes. Their dog got in the way of it. Dog bled to death. ---- uh ---- hummm." --- "Yu can cut a man pretty near in half with a long handled billhook. ---- uh ---- hummm. " --- " Whats ya got in that there garden thats good ta eat ?" --- " I mean to kill some ivy with this here ivy cleaver. Some people call it a ....

The Sling Blade stuff gets thousands of hits. My Karl impressions should fit in nicely. Text laid over the video will describe some of the tool's virtues. Each video will contain a warning stating that these things are not weapons or toys.
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Once I get a good inventory of all of these various blades together, a neighbourhood militia should be able to repel small armies of club wielding zombies, should the need arise. Broom slashers would be ideal for lightly dressed opponents, while the baseball bats with cleaver blades could slice through armour and bludgeon. The long handled billhooks could be used to unhorse their cavalry. We'd surprise their archers and overwhelm them using the ivy choppers mounted on field hockey sticks to disembowel and decapitate. They wouldn't have a chance !!!
 
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Very nice and it looks like it would surely hack like mad. Keep banging away - it only get more fun with time.
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Dale Hodgins
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OTHER BLACKSMITH ITEMS THAT I'D LIKE TO MANUFACTURE at least one of, from reclaimed metal --- This list includes a few things that could be cast

1. Clothing hooks --- from scrap plate and rebar scraps.

2. Big, simple hinges for gates and barns -- from truck springs --- Little hinges are so cheap that I can't see them being worth the trouble.

3. Adze heads --- from truck springs --- Some will be attached to wooden handles, and some welded to old hammer heads.

4. Cast aluminium gouges and carving chisels. The working edge would be high quality machine steel with a bumpy tang set into the aluminium. With many chisels and gouges, the working edge is pretty simple to make but there's lots of buggering around involved in making a suitable handle. I seldom strike these tools. Instead, I like to brace the wood being carved and then use my weight to push the tool along. The skinny handles are hard on the palm of the hand. My larger gouges will have large mushroom shaped domes, scaled to fit the hand or to be leaned into and shouldered through the wood. I expect some to consume 2 pounds of scrap aluminium which is about $2 worth. With about 500 bowls under my belt, I've had my fill of skinny handles that kill the hand when used forcefully. Leather may be glued over the top of the handle. No more rolled up tea towel padding for me.

5. Log peelers --- from scrap plate with machine steel insert. Every one I've tried, displeased me in some way.

6. Gate and door handles --- from truck springs , rebar and other scrap metal

7. Animal figures --- cast iron and aluminium

8. Draw knives --- from ruined planer blades

9. Froes --- from truck springs

10. Big "antique" square nails for hanging coats --- from rebar and other scraps

11. Machete froe for processing beach wood into split rails. Heavy fork tongs fit the back at 90 degrees to give great leverage for splitting. It's a heavy machete one minute, a froe the next.

12. cob oven prop handles. They allow the door to be opened to varying degrees.

13. RMH grilling plate with turned up edges and handles. Bottom ring prevents sliding

14. Cob hangers. Coat racks with metal plate anchors meant to be cobbed into place rather than screwed or nailed.

RETAIL
I would like to find ways to market some items directly from a display area in the forge building. I'll sell my own and other people's work. I imagine my stuff would be some of the less expensive product since many guys are into very artsy, time consuming projects. As the person who allots shelf space, I'll be able to get exposure that is not commensurate to my talent and experience.

Most of my designs belong in garden stores and farm stores. Smaller items will be offered by mail. A metal only option would allow customers to affix their own handle. I may become the online store for others who produce a variety of things at my place.
 
Marianne Cicala
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Any small garden store will happily give you realestate for consignment. In our nursery, Cooper does sell simplier stuff like hooks, bottle openers, skinning knives, butcher knives, pegs and the like. Before he gets going on his big stuff, he always warms up by doing this type of thing. As far as the skinny handles, you'll end up making almost all of your hand tools with a handle that fits you. As far as pushing chistles, you may want to explore leather working hammers, they have a rawhide hammer head and nice beafy handles.
keep swinging!
M
 
Dale Hodgins
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I wrote this 10 days ago but the system was out of order. Then I got busy on a big job deciding to wait out the computer glitch. --------------------------------------------------------------------

I joined the blacksmith guild today. $30 for a year. It was the day of their annual meeting. There was show and tell, something I remember from kindergarten. Several nice creations were passed around while the maker described the item and processes involved. Some really nice work was displayed. They elected a new president. Nobody wanted the job but several guys chanted one guy's name until he finally agreed to run uncontested. I was the only new member.

There were about 20 guys ranging from 23 to 85 years of age. Probably 60 % were over 60 years old. All of the young guys are novices except for the very youngest of the bunch who is a professional blacksmith from France. His dad is also a smith. It was interesting watching him explain various processes to this older crowd who listened intently. I had expected it to be the old teaching the young and for the most part that's how it worked in the shop where we worked for about an hour.

About eight of us went to work in the shop after the meeting. All of the others had various projects that they're working on. They set me up sharing a forge with another and I proceeded to wing it. I banged out a simple coat hook and a gouge which is not yet finished. One very old member watched me for a while and offered some advice on tong use and punching, but other than that, I was on my own. He was surprised to learn that it was my first time. He had never heard of YouTube but agreed that short films showing techniques seemed like a good idea. He's going to get his grandson to "rent" some of those videos from YouTube. It was great fun.

There's metal everywhere! Many of the guys work at places where they are allowed to scrounge the best scrap. There's a yard full of dead farm equipment that is free for the picking. I'm soon going to come into hundreds of firebricks that will be free to other members who have a home forge. One of the guys told me that stuff shows up faster than it can be used up, so they do a scrap run annually to get rid of the less desirable bits and to keep the pile in check. The best pickings from my demolitions will be added to this bounty. Several of the guys got a crazy look in their eyes when I mentioned that they could come by demolition job sites to scrounge for useful stuff. Phone numbers were exchanged.

PHOTOS OF MY MASTERPIECES
The coat hook is made from a scrap of round bar. It's crude but basically finished.

The unfinished gouge was made from a squarish piece of scrap off the floor. I forged it into a rectangular shape and then drew out the tang and blade. This was a laborious process, so next time, I'll start with scraps that look something like the intended finished shape. I will probably rough cut things using a grinder or scroll saw.

I'm pretty pleased with the fruits of my very first hour as a blacksmith. A year from now, I'll test myself to see how many useful things I can bang out in an hour.

I may one day get into the more artistic aspects of the craft. But for now, I say art is short for Arthur. While banging out lots of different stuff, I'm bound to develop some artistry along the way.
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Dale Hodgins
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I went to the blacksmith club yesterday. Spent 5 hours making stuff and messing with faulty equipment. The coal fired forge was hard to get going since every bit of coal was wet and there was a problem with the blower. It took 30 minutes to get things sorted out but even then the blower gave trouble all night. Clinker the size of a firebrick had been left behind by the last user.

I salvaged some really clean gas pipe from a job site with the plan to turn it into broom slashers and an ivy cleaver. It proved to be an easily worked material. I gave some to others who needed handle material.

The biggest piece of equipment is an old power hammer which only works sporadically. I asked if training is required but the consensus was that you just try it. It hasn't been used for some time. Nobody seemed to have a clue concerning this labour saving device. When I couldn't make it take full strokes, an old guy showed me a pile of wrenches and I was elected uncontested as the power hammer technician 5 minutes after first discovering the thing. He watched and offered ideas on what to do. The height of the hammer was adjusted numerous times. It actually worked well for about 3 of the 45 minutes that I spent messing with it. Those three minutes were awesome and I can't see why anyone who is serious about production would do without a power hammer. I think it is under powered and that it would work fine with a larger motor on it. I'm going to see if I can get authorization to get it fixed. If this doesn't happen, I'll offer to buy it, then pay for the repairs myself.

There were 8 people in the shop last night and most were the same ones that showed up when I last visited. Most were working on little items that couldn't have used the hammer. One guy was making a sword out of some very hard and thick stock. A properly working hammer would have saved him hours of toil. He spent 3 hours heating and hammering, heating and hammering, heating and hammering, heating and hammering...

I learned to arc weld after a one minute lesson.
My bead was less than perfect, but that's fine since the weld just has to hold things together until forge welding.

Photos --- The machete with the double curve has a sweet spot in the deepest part of the end curve. Finished it at 9 pm last night and tried it out this morning. When the portion of the blade close to the hand is used, it tends to roll. It's the perfect length for slashing vines on the ground when clearing ivy.

The long handled broom slasher is not finished yet. When swung like a baseball bat, the serrated edge will meet the material at about a 20 degree angle in a slicing motion. Chopping doesn't work on small springy bushes.

The cleaver is made from a broken axe head. The handle is gas pipe. The power hammer worked to flatten the axe head in about one minute. It would have taken me 20 minutes to hammer it out by hand. This tool will be used to chop English ivy up to 4 inches in diameter from the trunks of trees.

A guy who was walking past my job site where tests were performed this morning, jokingly asked if I had any enemies. I said "yes, but check with me next week after I finish this thing." I then held up the broom slasher/disembowler. He said, "That should do it," with a smile.
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Andor Horvath
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Dale,
here's a link to anvifire's power hammer page; if you're lucky you're working with a little giant - easiest to get support/parts for
http://anvilfire.com/power/
 
Dale Hodgins
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Andor Horvath wrote:Dale,
here's a link to anvifire's power hammer page; if you're lucky you're working with a little giant - easiest to get support/parts for
http://anvilfire.com/power/


Thanks Andor. This was my first experience with a power hammer. About 2 months ago, while watching a blacksmithing video, I thought – There must be some sort of electric hammer that could take the drudgery out of this. I searched blacksmith power hammer and a few seconds later found that my invention was invented long ago. Surely in a club dedicated to the craft, there will be someone more qualified than I am to get it working.

I didn't notice a brand name. The inner workings of the machine are a mystery to me, although it seemed to be going too slow. There are springs, so I suppose those could wear out. Other than that, everything about it says this is a tough machine. I'm going to try to find out whether it belongs to the club or to a member. By offering to buy it, I may be able to help them decide to fix it. It would be quite silly to decide to neither fix nor sell it. If it turns out to belong to an octogenarian, I'll offer labour and let the owner lead me through adjustments. The thing looks well worn, so it has obviously provided many years of service. It just seems weird that a group of mechanically inclined guys would allow the largest, most expensive and useful tool in the shop to sit idle if it can be made to work.

Part of the apathy may stem from the fact that most guys are working on small, artsy items that are best done manually. I'm the only one who showed up last night with 15 chunks of metal that I had hoped to turn into 15 choppers and slashers. I got 3 of them done in a five hour period. If the forge were easily controlled wood gas, and a good power hammer with adjustable fences and anvils were available in an uncluttered, well lit and ventilated shop, I'm sure I could produce 20 items with the same time and effort. Most of the time was spent mucking with the forge, trying to fix the hammer, manually delivering hundreds of blows with three and four pound hammers, looking for suitable tools in a super cluttered shop containing over 2000 tools and watching what others were up to. Red hot steel got away from me at least 50 times as I raced the cooling clock while hammering valiantly. At $30 per year, this is by far the cheapest shop I've ever heard of. Over my next few visits, I hope to turn my little corner into a far more efficient little factory where I bang out several items per hour.

Throughout the evening, I almost always had two or more items in process at once. While one item is heated, another is hammered. Rest is for the weak. One of the younger members looked at my pathetic pile of product at the end of the night and said, "Man you're fast." If I don't at least triple my production by my 20th visit to the shop, I will formally concede defeat.
 
Dale Hodgins
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There seems to be no safety policy at all. On my two visits, I've witnessed two injuries (one burn, one cut). There is a central pathway which runs between the row of forges and anvils. Some of the guys like to stand and chat immediately beside a hot forge while others insert and extract hot metal. Several traffic jams occurred while I had red hot steel in my tongs. There were plenty of more suitable places to hang out. It would make sense that the person carrying such a load should have the right of way, just as someone walking at a construction site has the sense to move out of the way of a wheelbarrow full of concrete that is in motion.

When I see that someone is about to turn toward an anvil with a red hot sword fresh from the forge, I give him room. On two occasions, I withdrew a hot item and when I turned toward the anvil, there was a spectator sitting on it. Valuable time was lost since you're always in a race against cooling of the piece.

The air quality is appalling. During the coking process, the coal gives off a cloud of fumes. On several occasions a forge was loaded with a large pile of new coal, and the exhaust fans couldn't handle the dense cloud of smoke. During a break I asked some of the guys if the smoke bothers them. They told me that they cough up black soot when they get home. All had watery eyes from the fumes. There were 8 of us there. I wore top quality ear muffs plus a full face asbestos grade mask which offers full eye,face and lung protection. One other guy wore goggles and two had ear plugs. I was the only one who took any steps to protect my lungs. I was the only one wearing gloves as well. If this were a commercial shop with employees, none of this would be allowed.

I have a couple old furnaces coming up at future demolitions. The fans will be donated to the club for ventilation purposes. The furnace fans will move much more air than the fans currently in use.

About two thirds of my extractions from the forge were followed by scraping to get gummy coal tar off the work piece. I knew from the beginning that charcoal and wood gas would be much nicer to work with than low grade, filthy, wet coal. After trying it, I'm more convinced than ever that this is the way to go.

I'll return to the shop on Wednesday. For now, I'll work on smaller prototypes of various things. It makes no sense to attempt a production run without the power hammer. A clean wood gas forge is definitely in my future.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I didn't go to the shop on Wednesday because my raw material was stolen. Some crackheads broke into the house I'm working on. They used my bolt cutters to cut a live wire that was salvaged for scrap. All of the copper and aluminium in the house was taken to the scrap yard 2 weeks ago, except for the wire running to two plugs. I got $450 for it. These dummies got away with about $2 worth of wire. They left behind a nice flashlight where the wire was cut. The sparky flash probably blinded them temporarily since it was done late at night . I'd like to think that somebody got a good shock but probably not. You can chop a live wire 100 times without electrocuting yourself when the tool has good rubber grips. This house provided very poor pickings for scrap thieves.

I had a big pile of salvaged steel gas pipe for blacksmithing, stored in the basement. The fools must have thought it was copper since they went to great lengths to grab it and haul it through a thorny thicket of Himalaya berries. Muddy footprints went down the sidewalk but faded out before leading to a lair. At about a penny a pound, my pipe is of no use to these twits. A minimum of 500 lb is required or the yard won't pay for it at all. The 300 lb of pipe was worth about $3 as scrap. The thieves were on foot, so my pipe is probably stashed on a vacant lot somewhere. If you're in Victoria and see a crackhead covered in mud and scratches dragging some pipe toward the scrapyard, please give him a kick on my behalf. Thanks.
 
allen lumley
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Dale Hodgins : just waited to share with you I listened to the last Ernie and Erica W. plus Paul W. ( the three W.s ) latest 'pod' cast where they talked about getting such
a strong draft with Erica's Rocket cook stove that they got mild steel to glow red hot on just dry hard wood ! There and then they talked about doing more work
with Erica's stove, bot as busy as everyone is with projects this may go to a back burner For the Future Good of the Craft ! PYRO AL !
 
Dale Hodgins
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allen lumley wrote: Dale Hodgins : just waited to share with you I listened to the last Ernie and Erica W. plus Paul W. ( the three W.s ) latest 'pod' cast where they talked about getting such
a strong draft with Erica's Rocket cook stove that they got mild steel to glow red hot on just dry hard wood ! There and then they talked about doing more work
with Erica's stove, bot as busy as everyone is with projects this may go to a back burner For the Future Good of the Craft ! PYRO AL !


Thanks Al. I've managed to scrounge some perfect fire brick (92 nice big ones), 3 clean out doors and some nice chunks of metal to use as anvils. I had 5 chimneys in a row that didn't contain anything useful and then I finally hit the jackpot. A couple more of these and it will cost very little to build various rockets. Work has kept me from any further blacksmithing but I'll have time in the fall. If the universe cooperates, I should be in a position to host the Wisners before snow flies. I've got the money, but not the time, and I think they are in New Zealand.

I've spoken to a brick layer whom I've known for years and it turns out that he is keen to build some rockets. He is accustomed to living at work sites. He does excellent stonework and is available with a helper at reasonable cost since he's been itching to try this. I have a dozen ideas to put him at. He may be interested in residing at my place for a winter, so we'll see where that goes.
 
I found a beautiful pie. And a tiny ad:
Mike Oehler's Low-Cost Underground House Workshop & Survival Shelter Seminar - 3 DVD+2 Books Deal
https://permies.com/wiki/48625/digital-market/digital-market/Mike-Oehler-Cost-Underground-House
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