Finally! Home and forgebound

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Calmb4tehpwn
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:30 pm

Finally! Home and forgebound

Unread post by Calmb4tehpwn » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:10 pm

Hey, folks

I just got out of the military (Eight long years), and my wife and I closed on a beautiful house with a big ol' back yard in Burnsville with the intent of building a forge. I have a little experience working metal in a forge (took a few classes years back) and I've been waiting patiently until we weren't moving around every 2 years before I could finally sink my teeth in.

So my plan is to build a forge and furnace. Most people are advising me I'm stupid for smelting my own steel, but I'm doing this as much for the hobby, as the scientific process. I'm chasing the legend, Wootz steel. A lot have been learned over the past 20-25 years about what Wootz is, and why it operates the way it does, but I plan to take the variables that combine to make the modern watered high carbon steel we know as wootz, and test each variable to its limits to document the effect on the final outcome. Everything from Vanadium and Molybdenum content, to cooling times, smelting time, crucible/mold shape (one time crucibles, which will cool in the furnace. I have no intention of handling molten steel), and forging technique and carbon content. It's a lot of work, and I plan for my scientific endeavor to span a couple years as I perfect my personal recipe for this beautiful and elusive steel.

From there, I will be making everything from cutlery sets, pendants and decorative key rings, to swords, axe heads and langseax.

So the first steps for me are sourcing an anvil (I've done some hunting already, following the TPAAT method, with little success). I'm looking for something 80+ pounds, with a wide table as I plan to forge some larger pieces. I prefer the 125-150 range, but that's more to do with preference, and not necessity. I'm looking to pay about $2 a pound, so if anyone has a line on an anvil, give me a shout, I'd love to track one down.

Next step, is build a furnace. I'm doing an enclosed dome fire brick/fire clay furnace. Intake for a blower, hole at the bottom on the other end for vent. I plan to have two removable pieces, one side, about 12 inches wide, above the vent, and a top piece, same width, above the side piece. I should draw out my plans. This is so that I can remove the two pieces for easy load and removal of my crucibles, and I can remove the side piece, and use it as a forge until I get a better set up.

From there, it's a matter of acquiring the smaller items. Protective gear (apron, gloves, glasses), Tools (Tongs, Hammers, Vices) and maybe build four posts and a roof over the whole thing.

I'm still debating that last item, as after a discussion with the city code, and fire code officials, it looks like that this furnace will be considered a "recreational fire" which falls under all the same regulations as an "open fire" by city code, which means it need to be 25 feet from all fences and structures. I guess what it boils down to, is what we consider four posts and a roof? Is that a structure? Probably by city code. I don't want to put a bunch of work and time into building this thing, just to have to tear it down when the fire department comes knocking. I just feel weird leaving my anvil and furnace out in the rain, you know? I feel like it should be under some sort of roof, at least.

Also, I didn't see it on the calendar. When is the next bi-monthly meeting? I'm looking forward to coming out and meeting folk.

Cheers!
Michael

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Darryl Ponder
Posts: 325
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:10 pm
Location: Minnetonka, MN

Re: Finally! Home and forgebound

Unread post by Darryl Ponder » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:21 am

Welcome to the Guild of Metalsmiths Michael!

I look forward to seeing you at one of our classes or at a meeting.

Our next meeting is a special one. We return to Arms and Armor. If you like suits of armor, swords and other blades, or hand held weapons of various sorts, this is a meeting you will want to attend.

See the details in the March Forum here: http://metalsmith.org/wp-content/upload ... 5forum.pdf

Potluck at 6:30pm, meeting starts at 7:00pm. All are welcome to attend. Bring a friend to "kick the tires" on the Guild and check out some awesome metalwork.

Again, a hearty welcome and see you soon.

Regards,

Darryl

Calmb4tehpwn
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:30 pm

Re: Finally! Home and forgebound

Unread post by Calmb4tehpwn » Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:40 pm

Darryl,

Thank you for the link. Lots of great information there!
I'll be there at the A&A meet, and really wish I could attend the hammer forging class, but it conflicts with my reserves annual training (3 weeks long.)

I'll probably bring a friend, but we'll see what his work schedule looks like. He and I are partners in the forge, but he's never worked metal before, though he's very enthusiastic about it. Hopefully he can come along.

Take care,
Michael

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