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Thread: Blacksmithing tools

  1. #2451
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnT View Post
    The gib keys are those two little bits of metal that hold the mounting bracket to the vertical leg. They are also the first pieces lost unless they are jammed in with rust and grime. Once they go, it's only a matter of time before you lose the mounting bracket and spring.

    To find a complete vise that's in good condition, the threads not worn down and the jaws still clean and sharp, well, that's absolutely worth a good bit of money, in my opinion. It's nice when you can find them for cheap, sure, but it's not the end of the world if you can get one for $200. It's like a lot of the tools we buy -- the closer to new in condition, the closer to new in price you should expect to pay. That's only fair, I think. I wouldn't pay top dollar for an old anvil that's seen a ton of abuse, but if I found one that was almost as good as new, I wouldn't mind paying a price that's similar to what I'd pay for a quality new anvil from Fontanini, Holland, or Nimba.
    Thanks. if i do buy a leg vice at least i know what to look for now. I notice they make new leg vises but they are made out of either cast iron or cast steel. That sounds like a waste of money. That offset vice sounds better all the time.
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  2. #2452
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    Blacksmithing tools

    Missing gib keys can be used as an argument for a lower purchase price.

    I prefer authentic but this is what I did for mounting one of my post vises.....




    I had to fabricate a new spring as it was also missing.

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    Last edited by Lis2323; 3 Weeks Ago at 11:33 AM.
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  4. #2453
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    Missing gib keys can be used as an argument for a lower purchase price.

    I prefer authentic but this is what I did for mounting one of my post vises.....




    I had to fabricate a new spring as it was also missing.

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    That would work for me, i have no problem with it.
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    I started a thread on the guillotine tool. I need advice on which one to buy. I'm wanting to buy a guillotine tool that has a large selection of dies. I would like something similar to the one pictured below because you can place stock in the front or side. Who sells something similar to this and has a good selection of dies? Please respond either here or in the thread i started (link below). Thanks

    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/threads/7...01#post8828101

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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    The dies are usually standard size so you can buy bare stock locally and make what you need as you need it. The big question is what you intend to forge because while a Guillotine tool is handy to have, mine really doesn't get much use at all. I made mine as a welding project, and it looks like it. But, it works for what little I need it to do. I really should use it more often, honestly, but it's hard for me to come up with project designs where it would be of use.

    Just make sure that whichever one you buy will accept a commonly available size of mild steel... and then get to working with it.
    https://www.gstongs.com/guillotine.html


  7. #2456
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnT View Post
    The dies are usually standard size so you can buy bare stock locally and make what you need as you need it. The big question is what you intend to forge because while a Guillotine tool is handy to have, mine really doesn't get much use at all. I made mine as a welding project, and it looks like it. But, it works for what little I need it to do. I really should use it more often, honestly, but it's hard for me to come up with project designs where it would be of use.

    Just make sure that whichever one you buy will accept a commonly available size of mild steel... and then get to working with it.
    https://www.gstongs.com/guillotine.html
    I've seen that design like yours from GS tongs. I though about making one like it myself. I plan on making candle holders and i need dies for turning a piece of pipe into the part that holds the candle. I dont know what its called but it seems similar to fullering dies. I could make a spring swage to do that job but i like the idea of having a guillotine tool incase i find the need for a fuller or whatever need may arise. I may find that you're right and i wont use it that much but for the price i may as well buy one, they're not that expensive.
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    This guy uses a fullering swage to make the candle holder, but I've seen another tool as well. I just don't know what its called.



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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    The point is that you can do the job in a multitude of ways and don't need to get locked in to one type of guilotine tool or another. Buy one or make one. The picture you posted is just a piece of 1/2" round bar that's bent into a U and welded to a stem for the hardy hole. It necks down the pipe just as easily and efficiently as a guillotine tool that costs $200.

    On top of that, there are a thousand ways to make a candle holder without having to neck down some pipe, and they all look fantastic. There are a ton of designs on youtube and pinterest, so don't get trapped in a box by a singular concept.

    How much blacksmithing have you done already?

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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnT View Post
    The point is that you can do the job in a multitude of ways and don't need to get locked in to one type of guilotine tool or another. Buy one or make one. The picture you posted is just a piece of 1/2" round bar that's bent into a U and welded to a stem for the hardy hole. It necks down the pipe just as easily and efficiently as a guillotine tool that costs $200.

    On top of that, there are a thousand ways to make a candle holder without having to neck down some pipe, and they all look fantastic. There are a ton of designs on youtube and pinterest, so don't get trapped in a box by a singular concept.

    How much blacksmithing have you done already?
    I haven't done a lot of blacksmithing. I made a draw knife, a rail spike knife, a punch and i tried making bolt jaw tongs but i used spring steel instead of mild and ended up breaking them. I didn't know any better at the time. I didnt know much about annealing and normalizing, or about how to properly harden steel. My draw knife had micro fractures in it that showed up after i tempered it. I have a ton of YouTube videos on projects i would like to master and potentially sell. But selling them isnt my top priority, i just want to make stuff.
    Last edited by Need Advice; 2 Weeks Ago at 01:21 PM.
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    The #1 problem you're going to face is the tendency to jump around from one thing to the next. Repetition builds skills and the only way to do that is to suck it up and do the same thing over and over again. I'm a fan of the "bucket of tapers", but other people have suggested different projects.

    Going from a draw knife to a punch to a spike "knife" to a pair of tongs.... that's just a recipe for disaster.

    There's a reason why the apprentices in olden times were given the grunt work and not asked with making tools or whatnot. You have to learn from the bottom up, building your understanding at the same time you're building your physical skills. I tell people all the time that building your own tongs is probably the single worst idea ever propagated in the smithing community because tongs are both a safety issue and a comfort issue. As a novice, you're burning up a ton of your time and fuel just to end up with something that looks like a drunken monkey chewed on it.... and what will that achieve? In truth, 90% of the time you end up with something that doesn't hold the steel well (safety issue) and isn't well-balanced or comfortable in the hand (comfort issue). With both of those coming together, you've created a situation where you can't manipulate the steel properly and you don't enjoy your limited time at the forge. The cost of brand new tongs from a place like Blacksmith Depot is negligible and you don't need many to get you started. If you calculate the time it took you to make your failed tongs and the fuel you burned in the attempt, you could easily have bought two or three sets of tongs and known that they would work right from the outset.

    You're running around the tree to get to the bush, it seems. Blacksmith Depot or Blacksmith Supply, or Centaur Forge, or Cloverdale Forge, or Piehl Tool.... they all offer Guillotine tools for sale. You can buy the dies and then make your own framework to use them. You've seen the one that Glen at GSTongs came up with, and it's both brilliant and simple to make. Why can't you make one yourself using those designs as food for thought? It's not rocket surgery, as the wise man once said.

    Tools like the Guillotine are pretty easy to make because they aren't reliant on things like balance and comfort in the hand to operate. That said, I certainly wouldn't suggest we not support our fellow smiths by purchasing the products they've designed. I just purchased a squeezer from Uncle Buck's Forge and it's absolutely fantastic - better than I could have made myself considering how much it cost.


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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnT View Post
    The #1 problem you're going to face is the tendency to jump around from one thing to the next. Repetition builds skills and the only way to do that is to suck it up and do the same thing over and over again. I'm a fan of the "bucket of tapers", but other people have suggested different projects.

    Going from a draw knife to a punch to a spike "knife" to a pair of tongs.... that's just a recipe for disaster.

    There's a reason why the apprentices in olden times were given the grunt work and not asked with making tools or whatnot. You have to learn from the bottom up, building your understanding at the same time you're building your physical skills. I tell people all the time that building your own tongs is probably the single worst idea ever propagated in the smithing community because tongs are both a safety issue and a comfort issue. As a novice, you're burning up a ton of your time and fuel just to end up with something that looks like a drunken monkey chewed on it.... and what will that achieve? In truth, 90% of the time you end up with something that doesn't hold the steel well (safety issue) and isn't well-balanced or comfortable in the hand (comfort issue). With both of those coming together, you've created a situation where you can't manipulate the steel properly and you don't enjoy your limited time at the forge. The cost of brand new tongs from a place like Blacksmith Depot is negligible and you don't need many to get you started. If you calculate the time it took you to make your failed tongs and the fuel you burned in the attempt, you could easily have bought two or three sets of tongs and known that they would work right from the outset.

    You're running around the tree to get to the bush, it seems. Blacksmith Depot or Blacksmith Supply, or Centaur Forge, or Cloverdale Forge, or Piehl Tool.... they all offer Guillotine tools for sale. You can buy the dies and then make your own framework to use them. You've seen the one that Glen at GSTongs came up with, and it's both brilliant and simple to make. Why can't you make one yourself using those designs as food for thought? It's not rocket surgery, as the wise man once said.

    Tools like the Guillotine are pretty easy to make because they aren't reliant on things like balance and comfort in the hand to operate. That said, I certainly wouldn't suggest we not support our fellow smiths by purchasing the products they've designed. I just purchased a squeezer from Uncle Buck's Forge and it's absolutely fantastic - better than I could have made myself considering how much it cost.
    Thank you, that gate fuller was what i was talking about earlier but i couldn't remember the name of it. I agree, you're right. I know whatever project I want to make I will likely have to do it multiple times before it turns out like i want it to. I actually downloaded that video a while back. Thanks for the advice.
    Last edited by Need Advice; 2 Weeks Ago at 02:45 PM.
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnT View Post
    I'm a fan of the "bucket of tapers", but other people have suggested different projects.
    What is the bucket of tapers?
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Repetition is the mother of all learning, bucket of tapers sounds like the blacksmith version of padding beads. Turning a six inch square piece of plate into a cube will teach you about welding. Being just a "wannabee" blacksmith, I imagine turning a ten foot bar into six inch tapers is on my bucket list.
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Get a piece of round bar and make a taper.
    Cut it off. Make another taper. Repeat until the bucket is full. Make long tapers, then make short tapers.
    Do the same with square bar.
    You can use a piece of round bar to make a piece of square bar then taper. Or vice versa, square to round then taper.
    Using a piece of round to make a square also helps to teach technique since it is very easy to make a trapezoid or parallelogram if not careful.

    Honestly, it seems like you are a squirrel chasing nuts. You have a lot of interest in many fields. That can lead to a mediocre result.

    I know that feeling since I bounce around on the projects I make.

    You are doing a great job asking for advice. Now it is time to focus on one or two areas and learn to do them somewhat well. Use those skills to make money to buy other tools as needed.


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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Here is an example of practicing tapers. I did this about 2 to 3 years ago and posted these in the blacksmithing thread.
    This was with 1/2" square bar.
    The dot on the bar forced me to work on consistency.




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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by psacustomcreations View Post
    Get a piece of round bar and make a taper.
    Cut it off. Make another taper. Repeat until the bucket is full. Make long tapers, then make short tapers.
    Do the same with square bar.
    You can use a piece of round bar to make a piece of square bar then taper. Or vice versa, square to round then taper.
    Using a piece of round to make a square also helps to teach technique since it is very easy to make a trapezoid or parallelogram if not careful.

    Honestly, it seems like you are a squirrel chasing nuts. You have a lot of interest in many fields. That can lead to a mediocre result.

    I know that feeling since I bounce around on the projects I make.

    You are doing a great job asking for advice. Now it is time to focus on one or two areas and learn to do them somewhat well. Use those skills to make money to buy other tools as needed.


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    thanks. That sounds like a good exercise, i think i will do that. I do have a lot of interest in tools to make my job easier and faster. Time is money. But as far as projects go i agree that i should stick to just a few. I have thousands of YouTube videos on my computer and its overwhelming.
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    I have to agree with Vaughn about the "making your own tongs"

    I'm certain this was a modern day concept and perhaps romanticized as a marketing ploy.


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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by psacustomcreations View Post
    Here is an example of practicing tapers. I did this about 2 to 3 years ago and posted these in the blacksmithing thread.
    This was with 1/2" square bar.
    The dot on the bar forced me to work on consistency.



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    Thanks. I was going to like your post but there was no way to do so, unlike other posts, for some reason.
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    The best pic I have of some tapers.
    This is the best simply because of the shirt.

    Plus a few more examples of practice making round tapers from square stock.

    Then some long tapers.






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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    I have to agree with Vaughn about the "making your own tongs"

    I'm certain this was a modern day concept and perhaps romanticized as a marketing ploy.


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    Tongs are expensive but i did see a tong blank bundle package for the price of buying one complete tong. I can get 5 tongs for the price of one.
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by psacustomcreations View Post
    The best pic I have of some tapers.
    This is the best simply because of the shirt.

    Plus a few more examples of practice making round tapers from square stock.

    Then some long tapers.
    Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
    Thanks.
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by psacustomcreations View Post
    The best pic I have of some tapers.
    This is the best simply because of the shirt.

    L
    Another long taper with "shirt enhancement".




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  31. #2473
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    Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Need Advice View Post
    Tongs are expensive but i did see a tong blank bundle package for the price of buying one complete tong. I can get 5 tongs for the price of one.
    I bought brand new quality tongs years ago.

    $45 -$50 Cdn each at the time when used and abused "vintage" ones were selling for the same amount.

    If you make your own as a beginner you'll probably be tempted to use your bare hand instead of the tongs you just made.


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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by _Dom View Post
    Repetition is the mother of all learning, bucket of tapers sounds like the blacksmith version of padding beads. Turning a six inch square piece of plate into a cube will teach you about welding. Being just a "wannabee" blacksmith, I imagine turning a ten foot bar into six inch tapers is on my bucket list.
    That's exactly what it is.

    As PSA described below, and showed so wonderfully in his awesome pictures, repetition drives the ability into your mind/muscle memory.

    I tell people to start with a full 20' stick of 1/2" square bar and cut it down to 4" lengths - preferably with a hacksaw. If you don't have the grit to stick with a hacksaw, well, I'd rather know sooner instead of later.

    After you've got them cut to length, as PSA showed, you put a center punch mark somewhere on the bar and start drawing the steel out. I like to start with square bar because that gives the new student something of a guide since there are already straight lines on the steel and they can easily see how far off they might be going.

    You can also go for measuring their overall finished length or whatever metric you want to apply - so long as they all come out within acceptable tolerances.

    Forge one to a taper and set it aside to cool as you heat up the second piece. When #2 is forged to shape, set it aside to cool with #1 and continue on down the line. Your only goal is to really focus on how your muscles are feeling, and how your hammer is shaping the steel. The tiniest little change in your grip can cause you to create one of those "mule track" imprints in the hot steel... or it might alleviate all the mule tracks you've been leaving. The goal is to pay very close attention to every little detail and make every hammer blow count.

    By the time you've gotten to the last taper, you should see a dramatic improvement in the quality, especially since you can compare the last to the first. If you've done your job right, you've learned a lot about how your body works, how the steel flows, about your anvil's height and the weight of the hammer. All these little things come together to give you a better understanding of what you're doing.

    Don't think for a minute that you're done, though, because the work is just getting started.

    You don't want to waste steel, so now you have to go back through your bucket of tapers and clean them all up so that they all look as good as the last one you forged. This is an important lesson because it teaches you how to fix problems. Do you work at a black heat to planish the facets? Should you use your wire brush more often or are you getting lazy? Would a wet anvil be better for the later stages of shaping?

    When I was first in a smithy, the guy had me making S-hooks over and over again, but without any real guidance. If I didn't learn it on my own... I didn't learn it. And today, I still have a box of those ugly S-hooks and a severe dislike for making hooks in general. More importantly, I learned that hooks are a horrible thing to practice making because there are only so many ways you can bend 1/4" round bar, and you really don't need a lot of hooks in your life.

    While you can certainly come up with a thousand designs like the fellow at Cloverdale Forge did, that doesn't really help you learn because everything is different. What he came up with is basically a Master piece in the truest sense of the term.

    For beginners, it's important to focus on the fundamental movements over and over again. If you try to jump right into the deep end, you're going to be disappointed. You can't go from project to project and think you're going to learn much because every project is different. This is why you see even the best sports teams spending months doing nothing but running drills over and over again. They won the Super Bowl last year, but here they are at spring training running the same drills they did in grade school. Why? Perfect Practice makes Perfect.

    With that bucket of tapers, you've got a ton of forged steel that can now be made into other things. For example, since one end is worked, flip it around flatten the other end so you get a nice uniform round spot. Mark 1" in from your near-side edge, or 3/4", and set down the steel so it bulges out. Once you get to half the parent bar thickness and everything is looking tidy, move on to the second taper and do the same thing. You go back through your bucket until everything is done and looking as good as you know how to make it look. You should have a weird shape that has a bulge that blends smoothly into the taper.

    From there, you go through the bucket again and punch a hole in the bulged end so you can run a screw through it. Every piece gets a hole in exactly the same spot, to exactly the same diameter. If that means you need to drift the hole, so be it.

    Do you turn the taper into wall hook? Okay, if that's your game you're going to end up with a lot of hooks, but they make as good a christmas gift as anything else.

    Every step is done to all of the pieces at the same time rather than trying to make a finished hook before you move on to the next.

    You can turn them into bottle openers. Or you could try using them as sun rays on a gate. The tapers won't go to waste because they are the first step in a bunch of different design concepts.

    The important thing is that each step is done in bulk and you go back through to clean up after you've compared the last to the first. Do everything to the best of your ability. Write down your thoughts. Keep track of your measurements. Try to really think about where you went wrong and celebrate when you went right. Don't beat yourself up over it because it's no different than anything else -- you'll never see the Master's pile of screwed up garbage.

    And feel free to cuss me out the entire time you're swinging that hammer. I'm old, fat and ugly, so there's not much you could say that would surprise me. I'll endure.


    Quote Originally Posted by Need Advice View Post
    Tongs are expensive but i did see a tong blank bundle package for the price of buying one complete tong. I can get 5 tongs for the price of one.
    No, tongs are not expensive. Tongs are very very cheap. You're talking about buying a vise and a guillotine tool, but now you're balking at the cost of tongs? How does that make sense? Why would you quibble about the price of a the most important tools in your arsenal? You do not need a vise or a guillotine, as we've already discussed, but you do need tongs that are of good quality. If ever there was a place to skimp.... this isn't it.

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  35. #2475
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    If you make your own as a beginner you'll probably be tempted to use your bare hand instead of the tongs you just made.

    I can’t tell you how many times I grabbed a hot object right after welding it followed by ouch that’s hot followed by running hand under cold water. “Palm to forehead”
    Last edited by N2 Welding; 2 Weeks Ago at 06:08 PM.
    Lincoln, ESAB, Thermal Dynamics, Victor, Miller, Dewalt, Makita, Kalamzoo. Hand tools, power tools, welding and cutting tools.

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