““There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.””
I’ve been working with hot metal for about a year now. Here’s a little writeup of things I’ve learned along the way.
First some basic one liners of wisdom. All of these have been learned the hard way.
- Don’t work hot metal while wearing tennis shoes. Use steel toe leather work boots. You will learn new levels of speedy footwork if you ignore this.
- Always make sure the metal stock is even with the face of the anvil before hitting it. You will save a lot of finger injuries if you keep this in mind.
- Wood as a fuel source doesn’t work very well, but it works. Chop it up into small chunks or you’ll be waiting for ever for a hot spot.
- Cold weather can rupture metal slack tubs when the water turns to ice.
- Yellow/White hot steel is much, much, much easier to work than red. Be patient let the metal heat.
- 6” wide pipe does not work as a chimney. Order the big stuff the first time (12” works good).
- Too much air blowing into the forge is bad. If you’re throwing sparks you’re loosing heat.
- Drill your holes BEFORE you quench… /facepalm
- Take care not to accidentally bend your blades in the fire when heating to quench, this is especially true for thin blades.
- Don’t smith without a slack tub nearby. If it breaks go ahead and rig up another one instead of just smithing without it.
- When in doubt, don’t just take another swing of the hammer. Instead take a closer look and another heat.
- Fast dry 2 part epoxy is horrible. Don’t use it. Ever. For anything. Use normal slow dry 2 part epoxy. It is crazy awesome.
A little about my shop:
My “anvil” was made pretty cheaply but has been very effective. I used a section from a very large forklift tine cut to size. Four 2′ long sections of rebar are welded to the bottom of it about 8” apart