Saturday, January 12, 2013

forge and drawknife photos

A drawknife is a useful woodworking tool.  It's often used in conjunction with a shavehorse.  Here's how I made a drawknife

Lighting a fire

 I'm burning anthracite - not an ideal smithing coal.  It has a high ignition temperature and doesn't coke easily.  Most smiths who use coal will burn "green" or soft coal.
 I had a couple of leaf springs from an old jeep.  I've heard that they're 5160.  The cross section is the right size, so not much heavy forging is required.
 Here's a real drawknife.  It's a lot easier to make something when you have a similar thing to look at.  It makes the details much more apparent.
This is my anvil.  It's a 162# Peter Wright.  I believe it was made in America
It has a wrought iron body with a 3/4" tool steel face forge welded on.

I started pounding out a handle

 sketches above the anvil make it easy to remember what it is that you're doing
It's easy to forget about the piece of steel that you have in the fire, especially when you're not watching it.
 I got this one too hot and burned off the tip.  I've found that alloy steels don't handle high temperature as well as mild steel does.  A piece of mild steel stock works well at an orange heat, but a piece of spring steel or an old file will fall apart.

 This is the tip that burnt off.  The bubbly looking layer is slag or scale.  It's thin, crusty, and comes off with a steel brush.

 I removed the section I messed up by pouring water on it as a quenchant.  Spring steel gets very brittle with a water quench, so I can snap it by putting it in a vise and tapping it with a hammer.
 Here's the blower setup
I was running low on coal, so I started burning wood.  Wood is fine as long as you've got a lot of it.  It goes fast!
 I made some caps to go at the base of the handle.  These were drawn from mild steel rectangle stock.  The hole was hot punched.
 I did most of the shaping of the blade at nothing hotter than a dull red in an effort to preserve the alloy content of the steel.  The steel was hesitant to move at such a low temperature, so this part was tedious.

 I've heard that there's no such thing as clean coal, but a fire like this has a place in my heart.

Handles from a broken maul handle.  Hickory? 
Started with a small drill bit from either side.  met halfway.
 finished with a large drill bit.
pleasing colors (oxidation?) on some charcoal

 tempered and heat treated.  I did this before grinding as I've read that the forging process removes alloy content from the surface of the steel.  If I spent more time in the forge, I could figure it out for myself.

 vaguely visible tempering colors. Deeper yellows, purples and blues on the spine with straw on the blade
 clamped for grinding and sanding
 threading the handles to accept nuts
 pitting from rusting for a good long time
 Using a stone to grind the edge to sharpness.  This took a few hours.  It's a good time to think, listen to the radio, and be okay.

good and sharp.
I'd do this more often if I had the chance.


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