Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blacksmithing Punches, Lubricants and Treadle Hammers

How Do you Make A Blacksmith Hammer Drift?

How do you make a good oval drift, for example for a hammer head?

I would use a good tool steel S7 or jack hammer bit are my preferences. Forge a tapering rectangle of the slightly over size of the dimensions you want. Then knock the corners off with the hammer while the drift is hot. This will give you sort of an octagonal oval. At this point I swich to a hand angle grinder and grind smooth so there is no catch points for when you are drifting.

I have made limited use drifts out of mild steel but prefer the tool steel.

What Blacksmithing Lubricant do you Use?

What except charcoal, do you use as a lubricant preventing to get your drifts stuck in deep holes?

I also use coal dust or coke dust by themselves or mixed with beeswax in a tin can that I can dip the hot tool in. there are lubricants comercially available but I haven't tried them. A good graphite paste or spray might work well but I have had good success with the coal or coke dust.

Blacksmith Treadle Hammer Blueprints?

Do you know of the existance of blueprints for a treadle hammer, because I have to do everything single handed and sometimes there is a hand short.

I am biased because I really like my air hammer and it allows me to do mostly what a treadle hammer will do and so much more. But I do recognize they are not for everyone and a treadle hammer will help a great deal. First I would suggest finding a copy of Werk und Werkzeug des Kuntsschmieds by Otto Schmirler ISBN 3 8030 50405
Click Here For this Book

This is a great book and he has a good diagram with measurements of his "Oliver " which is a treadle hammer. The rest of his book is tools and techniques.

I would also look at as I think they sold treadle hammer plans you may also find plans on or

I hope this helps.

David Robertson
Artist Blacksmith

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Blacksmith Hand Crank Blower

What to Look For In a Blacksmith Hand Crank Blower?

Handcrank blowers are a bit hard to find and I can't recommend buying over the internet unless it is from someone that you completely trust. I use a Champion and like it but I am not sure the name is as important as it's condition. The main thing with the blower is that it should turn smoothly in both directions. If the gears grind either way it may be more costly to fix it if not impossible.

It should have been kept well lubricated and should be able to be lubricated easily with oil or grease ports. The fan blades should not hit the housing and there should be no cracks that later could cause problems..

The gear box is the heart of the blower and it must be in good shape to give you years of performance. I know some smiths that have refurbished a seized gear box but you must get the blower cheap enough that you can invest many hours soaking it and cleaning the gears.

The larger the blower the larger the forge fire you can effectively work with it. You will still have nice control on small fires. The small blowers really only work well with small fires. You can't easily get enough volume through for a large fire.

In my opinion the stand is secondary to the blower itself. I can always make a new stand if it is not in the best condition.

I really like to look a blower over in person before buying it. I understand that this is not always possible but it is best practice. With a large and heavy object shipping will be expensive.

I hope this helps and good luck in your search for hand crank blacksmith forge blower.
David Robertson
Artist Blacksmith

Saturday, December 12, 2009

What to Look For In a Blacksmith Post vise?

Blacksmith Post Vise or Leg Vise what are they worth?

Blacksmith Post Vises
price range $40.00 to $700.00
Typical in good shape, clean jaws, spring and screw intact, 5 inch jaw size about $65 to $100
Like anvils typically the larger the better if it works well. The larger also costs more.

There is quite a spread and depends alot on availability and size. At Quad state this year there were many in working condition at the $40 to $60 range. Nice ones that weren't too beaten up sort of started around the $60 range.

Things to look for.
Jaws close tight and are still aligned both flush and left to right. Not too much slop either side. Faces of jaws not too scored up. Spring intact, and screw works smoothly. A bit of oil doesn't hurt to loosen things up. Mounting plate intact with wedges.

Remember a machinists vise is fine for twisting but if you are hammering then the Leg vise is better.

David Robertson
Artist Blacksmith.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blacksmith How to Keep Propane Tank From Freezing?

My Blacksmith Gas Forge Propane Tank Freezes Up. How do I prevent it?

As propane is drawn off a propane tank it cools the temperature of the liquid propane inside. It can cool it to the point that it freezes. At this point the pressure in the tank drops to nearly zero and the gas forge is starved for fuel. In cold weather this can happen with a significant amount of propane left in the tank.

There are a couple of things You can do.

The best is build a box that holds 100 watt light bulb that the propane tank can sit on. This will provide a gentle warming that helps keep the propane from freezing. This becomes more and more important as the weather gets colder. A simple crib made of 4x4's that is small enough for the propane tank to sit on comfortablly should work.

Another option is to gang two or more tanks together so that you draw off a larger thermal mass and it doesn't freeze as quickly. This requires a number of plumbing fixtures and POL fittings but does work.

Battery heating blankets might be another option. Wrap two together. You would have to take a look at how they are configured.I don't recommend any heat source that provides a source of ignition.

Hope This Helps

David Robertson