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generator repair; pizza wheel billets; possible new commision - Doug Ayen's Blacksmithing Blog [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Doug Ayen

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generator repair; pizza wheel billets; possible new commision [Mar. 1st, 2006|04:10 pm]
Doug Ayen
Got home last night, and felt energized enough to spend some time in the forge.

First off, as I wanted to use the power hammer, I had to get the generator started. No surprise, after sitting idle for nearly three months, it was a bit balky. Pulling the throttle cover off, I hit the carburetor with some carb cleaner, and put some starter fluid in the air filter, and put the cover back on. This seemed to do the trick, it started on the first pull.

Oiled and greased up the power hammer (there are three grease zerks (front bearing, clutch bearing, rear bearing), two oil reservoirs feeding into the Babbitt bearings, and oil holes on the two spring arm linkage bearings, one each for the two ram bearing surfaces, four on the ram itself, treadle linkages, and some oil on the mainspring contact surfaces), threw the switch and moved to the forge.

Using the blown burner, I dialed in for some good heat, as forging out damascus, in my experience, should be done at a near-welding temperature. It burns out some carbon, but ensures that the layers stay stuck together, particularly when manipulating the pattern. I first did some flattening on the billet I welded up earlier, then did some pattern manipulation on another billet -- I'm going for a wavey effect, radiating from the center.

To do this, I took the billet, about 2" x 2.5" x .5" (actually probably a bit larger, but I didn't measure), and using an angle grinder ground lines radiating from the center, about halfway through the billet, on both sides, taking care not to overlap the lines from the other side. sort of a * pattern, rotated to prevent the overlap.

I then flattened the billet out, with a final thickness of about 1/4". It also grew from 2" x 2.5" to about 3" x 4". In theory, where it wasn't ground, the pattern of lines will be dense and thin; where material was removed, it won't have been as compressed, and so will be looser and more open. I'll be grinding and etching the billet later on when I get the bits I need to make the rotary table work, which have not yet arrived.

Heated both pieces up to critical and buried them in vermiculite to cool and hopefully anneal enough to machine; I'll also hit them in a 500F oven for a couple of hours to make sure they're as soft as I can get them.

In other news, I've been approached to replicate a stolen 16th century-syle 6 flanged mace. I've not done a mace before, so I'm approaching it fairly cautiously. All I really have to go by is a blurry, partially-obscured photo of the piece, not even straight on, and the observation of the person who's seen it that it's about 3' long.

Fortunately, this is the computer age, so I was able to take the photo and extract out the macey bits, blow it up to reflect about a 3' length, and make a profile and measured drawing based off of that. It took a bit of manipulation, and the very end of the mace's handle (pommel? or is that only for swords) is completely obscured, so I made some bits up. I'll run the design and a tentative proposal, listing a few options (low carbon (what the original was made of), high carbon, stainless, or high-carbon stainless, in an increasing cost and time budget) past the prospective customer tomorrow, see what he thinks of it. Oh, I included a somewhat-spurious "damascus" option at $2000+ for materials, plus hours. Hey, if he wants it, I'll do it, but it would be just about the only commission I'd be able to complete for the year.

I've got some saw blades I don't need kicking around, so I'm thinking of piling up a couple of different types and doing another few billets over the next few days, though I note the flux is starting to eat into the floor of the forge. Fortunately, I have a bag of "bubble alumina refractory," which is supposed to be flux resistant, so I'll try to put a layer of that in the forge tonight -- though I guess I should try to remove the flux first, or it'll just keep eating its way through. Depending on how it turns out, could be more pizza wheels, but then again I noted last night I haven't done a double-edged dagger in quite a while. Might just do a couple to keep in stock.

The old 3-burner is in sad shape; I've been trying to get some of the screws holding the door refractory in place out, and they're thoroughly rusted/oxidized/possibly welded in place. Even Kroil couldn't get them loose. Guess I'll have to drill them out and re-tap the holes.

(any comments in using the lj-cut tag? I've decided to use it for the longer posts, such as this one.)

I finally figured out which events I'll be hitting this year, at least blacksmithing/knifemaking-wise.

Baltimore antique arms show March 18 - 19
BGOP spring fling April 22 (In Berryville!)
Larry Harley event May 5 - 7
Blacksmith Days May 20-21

new england bladesmiths guild (unknown date, usually sept)
tannehill April 7-9, 2006

Hopefully, I'll see some of you at one of these.


[User Picture]From: klingonlandlady
2006-03-01 11:15 pm (UTC)
cut tag is good, and it's good to hear whats going on with you too- Wow, mace!
(I always said women should carry a mace for self-protection... oh is that the wrong kind? :)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: blackanvil
2006-03-02 12:14 am (UTC)

Every woman, and man, should carry a mace

Preferably a large one, in stainless, with some nice engraving. :)

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)