Tool of the Week

Discussion in 'Drunken Marmot Farm and Forge' started by DrunkenMarmot, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. DrunkenMarmot

    DrunkenMarmot Hammer Swinging Fire Worshiper Vendor Supporter

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    I'll try to pic one tool a week and describe what it is and what I use it for (and maybe get suggestions on other ways to use it?)... Starting it off is my larger propane forge that I make most of my damascus in, and forge and HT most blades in (I have a paragon kiln, but this generates less decarb and has a better temperature uniformity). Along with my 2x72 grinder, this is the most used tool in the shop. I also have a coke forge I built from scratch and I try to use that at least once a month, but I need to order another shipment of coke...

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    Small and medium forge are on the left in the pic as well as the temp control (set the temp and the controller opens/closes a solenoid between the regulator and the burner). I installed the temp controller this spring and it's worth every penny - both saves fuel and a bit more scientific. In the past I knew what PSI I needed to forge weld, and once welding became an issue it meant I needed to rebuild/reline the forge...

    The forge is powered by a 1" foundry burner from hybrid burners (venturi burner, so no blower needed, and has a sliding choke to control air intake - reducing vs neutral vs oxidizing flame) and runs on propane which is cheap here. The burner has refractory (Kastolite 30i or similar) cast around it and refractory to mimic the nozzle pattern as well - otherwise I burn up the standard 316 stainless nozzles pretty fast when running at 2300F for extended periods of time. Otherwise it's a simple brick forge, with an inner set of hard (3000F) firebricks that hold heat but don't insulate and then 1-2 layers of soft insulating firebrick (2600F) outside of that. This holds up well to flux, means the soft firebrick doesn't crack too quickly, and holds heat really well once it's cooking. It's hot enough around 12 PSI to get 2-3 damascus billets to welding temp without overheating any portion of them... and it warms up my barn nicely in the winter. The biggest advantages of a propane forge I'd say are ability to heat things uniformly (heating a small portion of something is much better with a torch or coke/coal forge) and that you don't have to constantly monitor it - your steel isn't going to burn up if you turn away for 2 min to talk to a neighbor...
     
  2. DrunkenMarmot

    DrunkenMarmot Hammer Swinging Fire Worshiper Vendor Supporter

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    Next up - 7" angle grinder and 6" 'snagging wheel':

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    This is both a huge time and money saver compared to the standard grinding wheels on either a 7 or 4.5" angle grinder. It eats steel and forge scale quickly - I mainly use this for cleaning up damascus billets between restacks. These are a bit tricky to find locally, welding stores typically carry them. Amazon started carrying them at a ridiculous price when I bought a set of 5 for $26 (that's what one normally costs). Make sure your grinder is slow enough - only one of my two larger angle grinders is below 6000 rpm...
     
  3. DrunkenMarmot

    DrunkenMarmot Hammer Swinging Fire Worshiper Vendor Supporter

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    This week it's a buffer - 1/4hp on the left and 3/4hp on the right (and also a 2hp craftsman 10" bench grinder converted to buffer that's not pictured) - the 3/4hp was the most recent tool addition to the shop/forge since one of our local jewelers had bought one and didn't find much of a use for it (the 1/4hp would have been a bit more useful for him I'm guessing). Generally considered one of the most dangerous tools in the shop as it has a tendency to throw things if you're not careful.

    I mainly use them for shining up knifes and bottle openers as well as putting a final edge on blades (going to add a paper wheel to the arsenal pretty soon I think) so mainly using green, white and pink compounds (from Jantz - they seem to be the best price and selection around, but always looking for more options as far as suppliers). I've also been playing with the brush on compounds a bit, ranging from 150-600 grit as it's an interesting alternative to belts in that grit range, esp for non-knife shaped things.

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  4. Scotchmon

    Scotchmon Supporter Supporter

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    Maybe you can shed some light.... what are the advantages of a 2x72 over a 4x6, if both had the same size motor?
    One more question.... would a small oxyacetylene torch be a good tool to have in the shop? I’ve been kicking the idea of adding one.
     
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  5. DrunkenMarmot

    DrunkenMarmot Hammer Swinging Fire Worshiper Vendor Supporter

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    no experience with a 4x6 - but the main advantage of a 2x72 (IMHO) is availability of a wide variety of belts as well as attachments that are quick to change out (various size of large and small wheels, rotary platen, flat platen, radius platen, slack belt etc.). 2x72 Grinder will be next week's tool... (if I remember hehe). For keeping things flat I use a 9" disc grinder.

    I've tried to switch everything over from oxyacetylene to oxypropane as it's cheaper, cleaner, and more readily available (and safer). I've got a oxypropane smith little torch that's handy but doesn't get used much (silver soldering, sil-bronze brazing) and a lincoln port-a-torch in O-A that I bought a long time ago and still haven't used up the acetylene cylinder. They're nice for spot heat, but really not enough to cut anything useful (anything thinner than 1/2" is plasma for me, or angle grinder/portaband). Handy for heat treating small parts though and flame coloring copper or Ti...

     
  6. Scotchmon

    Scotchmon Supporter Supporter

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    I’m diggin’ this thread!
     
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  7. DrunkenMarmot

    DrunkenMarmot Hammer Swinging Fire Worshiper Vendor Supporter

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    Thanks! I rarely turn down a chance to check out someone else's shop and how they do things, and figured this would be a way to share how I do things, although slowly (1/week)

     
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  8. DrunkenMarmot

    DrunkenMarmot Hammer Swinging Fire Worshiper Vendor Supporter

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    This week it's the workhorse - 2x72 grinder. Great for removing steel, G10, Micarta, fingerprints, and fingernails. I bought this Beaumont Metalworks KMG (variable speed 2hp, 10" wheel and flat platen) almost 7 years ago and have slowly made some upgrade and purchased more accessories:
    - platen liners (platen doesn't heat up as quick)
    - rotary platen (convex grinds and handles)
    - small wheels and small wheel attachment (cleanup of finger grooves I forge into the blades - hardy hole tool matches the size of the small wheel so less material waste/grinding)
    - 6" drive wheel (upgrade from original 4" --> roughly 2x faster belt speed)

    I do almost everything freehand, so my tool rest normally sits as a spark blocker... occasionally if I want to square up a damascus billet I'll use it, but that's about it (using the tool rest also leads to much faster wear on a flat platen as you're always applying pressure in the same. Always good to have spare parts on hand like drive belts, rotary platen belts, bearings etc.

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    Belts are expensive - might as well buy a nice grinder since it'll last a lifetime and you'll spend more on belts anyways... I usually run 3m Cubitron 2, Norton Blaze and 3m trizacts, but trying a batch of combat abrasive ceramic belts now and happy with them so far...

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    anyone have any favorite belts?

    next week will be my version of a push stick for grinding (not a traditional push stick...)
     
  9. DrunkenMarmot

    DrunkenMarmot Hammer Swinging Fire Worshiper Vendor Supporter

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    Bit of a delay this week as I was traveling w/o a laptop... but this week's tool is a small switch magnet (originally their keychain model, now I think it's the small jig version). Generally I keep things cool enough that I can touch them when grinding, but these are really handy for holding small things or longer blades (both 2x72 and with a disc grinder). The disc grinder wheel is aluminum and a pyroceramic platen liner on the 2x72 keeps the magnet from sticking to the steel flat platen. Also used for flattening/straightening handles, where I may let the metal heat up a bit (not to the point of color, but where it'll remove fingerprints)

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  10. DrunkenMarmot

    DrunkenMarmot Hammer Swinging Fire Worshiper Vendor Supporter

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    This week it's my anvil... over 7.5 years ago I bought this 260# Nimba Centurion new and would buy one again in a second (actually I'm currently trying to justify buying their Titan model as it'd be a bit more travel friendly...) I keep a twist-on magnet on the bottom of the horn which drops the ringing from the anvil to zero (the stand is another story, until I filled it with sand, it rang worse than the anvil).

    [​IMG]
     
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