Day Two at the Coal Forge. Making the Adze.

If you haven't read the first part for day 1 of the forge, that gives some insight of where I started.

I had some issues keeping the fire burning hot (or burning at all) and I found that mixing some hardwood in with the coal helped. I'd add some split pieces of firewood, Let it burn, than add some coal on top of it. I also left the Heat gun going all the time. I would adjust where it was pointed once in a while to get it directly at the fire. 

A suggestion I had not though of was using a shop vac in reverse. I may try that next time. The forge definitely needs some alterations, but I'm learning as I go.

I've definitely discovered some modifications I want to make to this forge. That's another project.

Even though the ash pan door wasn't close to air tight, I also decided to open it all the way. All this seemed to help. Now the piece of car spring I'm using is getting forge hot.

The first task was to cut the taper off. I used the biggest chisel I had. I scored it well, then bent it over the edge with the hammer and worked it back and forth until it broke off. Then back in the forge it went.

I will be making or buying a cut off hardy.

I then cut a groove with the grinder to separate the curved blade end from the flat handle end and rounded the Adze end to my desired configuration. It took a few heatings but I got it where I wanted it.

Next step was to keep heating and forming the curve. I wound up laying the railroad tie on its side and used the inside curves to help. I really need to get my anvil out here close to the forge, but I don't want to leave it out in the weather. A problem yet to be solved.

It was cut to l,enght with a cut off wheel in a circular saw.

Then I cut the pieces for the handle section. The front section was cut from the car spring. The other 3 pieces were from a few leftover pieces of steel from another project that just happened to be the right width. These will be stick welded. I don't know how to forge weld yet, but stick welding I can handle.

Since I forgot to get the angle right when the forge was going, I used the mapp torch to heat neck to get the angle exactly as I wanted. A large adjustable wrench in the vise did the trick.

I then welded up the pieces to make the handle hold.

A  little welding and grinding to get it so it looked decent enough.

I didn't want to try to fire up the forge just to heat treat this, so I used my mapp gas torch to heat beyond magnetic loss.

Then quenched in canolo oil.

To temper it I did a 2 hour heat at 400 degrees. I heated the toaster oven, then added the adze. Let it cook for 2 hours, then shut it off and let it cool for 2 hours before opening the oven. I did this for 3 cycles.

Then grinding and final shaping with a variety of wheels and grinders.

Within this process I decided I need a better way to sharpen these tools I'm making. A quick, cheap thrown together stand for the belt sander seems to work fantastic.

I decided to paint the adze.. I taped the end to be sharped and gave it 3 coats of black enamel.

I didn't take pictures of making the handle, but it was the same process as rehanging this adze.

I didn't get a picture of the very first chips taken out of this log. It was pitch dark and I was working with the light on my cell phone. I just had to try it. It worked ok that night, but it still needed some sharpening, but i knew i was close. After the final sharpening it worked very well.

I'm pretty happy with this adze at is point. Further use will tell, but it seems to work very well.

My next step will be to make some major modifications to the forge. Stay Tuned.

Carving Bowls -Lessons Learned Part 1

I love these two adzes, but this bowl making with an adze is one of the fasted way to make a huge mess in the shop. Chips fly for 20 feet in all directions. It's actually worse than the lathe, just minus most of the actual dust.

The tools you use will largely depend on the tools you have and feel comfortable with. Some carvers use a draw knife for this next step. I prefer my Sargent VBM #410 hand plane.

So to save some clean up efforts, I've moved some of the operation outdoors for now. I doubt it will stay out there for winter, but we'll see how it all goes. I have however found a new tree chunk so i have one in the shop and one outdoors. 

I've also found it's easier to contain the mess to a smaller area using gouges rather than an adze. It's a little slower, but not terribly so, especially since I'm not looking for any kind of production numbers. This is a hobby and just meant for relaxation.

I do like using the adzes, so I'm sure my future will be a mix with the adze making up most of the rough work.

Based on my limited experience carving dough bowls, my suggestion would be if your going to carve off your woodworking bench and using your woodworking vices (which works very well by the way) plan to start with a couple gouges. If you're going to get a stump or log section, then move to the adze. 

I particularly like the "PFEIL"Swiss Made" 25mm # 7 Sweep Bent Gouge". It was one of my first carving related purchases and buying it was a bit of beginners luck, but it gets used alot.

For me, the bench is to high for using an adze. And the stump doesn't have a way to hold the piece for gouges. Experiment what works for you, but i doubt you'll find a big difference than what I've found.

Either way, I'd love to hear your comments.


Rehanging the Gutter Adze

I bought this gutter adze at a flea market earlier this summer. I brought it home and sharpened it. It worked fairly well, but the handle was short, and ultimately it broke.

Today I decided to rehang it. Finding a piece of straight grained Ash, I cut it to length and split it out slightly over-sized.

I laid out the handle I wanted, roughly following a Axe handle.

After marking it out I cut the rough shape on the band saw and began to shape it with a draw knife.

Then some carving with my trusty Bearded Hatchet / Axe combo to fit the handle into the head.

Some finer fitting with the Shinto Rasp.

And then some additional final fitting with the Mora #106. It took a little back and forth with the knife and the rasp to get it just right.

The wedge slot was cut with the band saw, making sure it was parallel to the grain.

And for the wedge I chose a piece of rosewood from the scrap bucket

A quick coat of BLO and it's ready to be tested. Here is a half log split from a dead black birch.

It now has the length to work with one or two hands. A two hand grip can really make the chips fly.

This is bigger than my other adzes, so it will be handy for the larger bowls.

My First Coal Forge Fire Up Making A Coat Hook

This is my make shift back yard red neck coal burning forge. What a learning experience this has been.

This is an old wood stove that was in my shop. I used it to heat the shop for a couple years but it was was bit worn out. The fire box leaks and it's warped bad. The doors no longer shut right and I replaced it with a better stove several years ago. It actually sat in my shop, thinking someday I'd make a forge out of it.

I gave it away 3 or 4 times but nobody ever came to pick it up. Finally i stripped the outer sheet metal shell and started to convert.

While in Tractor Supply I grabbed a bag of Nut coal. The smart thing to do would have been to do a little research first, but I was there and they had two choices, rice coal or nut coal. It seems i picked wrong.

My first attempt was to just light a fire on top. I've never burnt coal before so I just assumed it was similar to wood.......NOPE.

 This attempted failed and failed again. I think I used a half a tank of propane, then a half a tank of mapp gas trying to get it going.

A bit of advice i picked up after the fact: "You have to make sure you have the right kind of coal. You need bituminous and most coal sold at tractor supply is anthracite,( it too hard) it's meant for heating homes, blacksmithing coal is softer and needs less oxygen, and for the best results if you can try and get the air to come up from underneath the fire."

Doing a little research on the subject I thouht this read was very helpful,

My only goal for this fine Saturday morning was to turn this bolt into a coat hook. Seemed simple enough, right?

I found this bolt on an early morning walk in the middle of a partly dirt, partly black top road. A quick session on the wire wheel and it looked a little better.

 Others say the rice coal Tractor Supply burns a little better. (I'll let you know in future post)

Many attempts to light this failed. Even scrapping the whole thing and starting wood fire first failed. After a quick google search I found that one of the complaint of Nut Coal is it's very hard to get burning. I probably should have done that research first.

So scraping the idea of a small fire on top I turned to the inside. I started a bit bigger wood fire and added some coal.

So now it seems to actually be working. The rigging I had for the air underneath didn't do anything, so a new plan emerged.

This is a heat gun. I really didn't dare borrow  my wife's hair dryer and I assumed this would work. And it did for a while.

 But problems prevailed. I just couldn't keep the fire going. I eventually gave up and grabbed the propane forge to finish the coat hook. Not a master piece, but once hung, it will hold a coat.

 But tomorrow will prove to be a little better. Look for the next installment when I talk about making my first partially forged adze. I did manage to make this set up work (well sorta)

And thanks to my friends at Blacksmith for Beginners  I see this in my future.

I've heard a rotor from a car and a mower deck works for this setup. Off to find some junk!!