Monday, January 27, 2014

The Round Punch

Today I want to share one of my favorite tools to use, which I only recently made. It is easily made using only the tools outlined in Blacksmithing 101: Beginner Tools. (link)  The only tools you need for this are hammer, anvil, tongs, hot cut, and files. You could even do without the hot-cut and files if you forge to finish.

The tool I am going to show you is a round punch I made for punching screw holes in hooks and other such pieces. It is also helpful for punching rivet holes, and is much faster than cooling the piece and drilling a hole.

Behold, my Round Punch!

It is a 1/2" round bar of coil springs, tapered down to about 1/8". 
It is rather simple to make: 
1) Heat and straighten a 6" length of coil spring
2) Cut off the section, and dress the cut using backing-up blows
3) Taper business end by hammering square, octogon, round.
4) hammer flat 1/4" taper into the struck end, only slight taper, do not bring to a point. 
5) normalize in the air, them file it perfectly round. 
6) coat with oil to keep it rust-free! 

The profile is pretty round. It is slightly oval, but if you rotate the punch 30 degrees each time it punches well. 

the end is mushroomed from the hammering. Dress those edges to prevent chipping! It work hardens as it spreads, and can shear off suddenly. 

I need to dress it, it heated up a little too much and upset a little, deforming. 

When you use it, keep it cool every two hits by dunking it in water. A quick dip in oil or beeswax or coal dust will keep the punch from sticking in the hole. 

Here is what it does! 

As always, happy hammering and God Bless!

Ridgeway Forge Blacksmith Co. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A New Tool: Nail Header

On this chilly Sunday afternoon, I write about something I've derived much pleasure from!
You may remember that in a previous post, I wrote about a demonstrator and the nail header tool he made, as well as a nail that he passed around. Well, although it is to some a mundane task, I have always been intrigued by one of the prime blacksmithing exercises.

So, I made myself a Nail Header!
Two, actually.
The first I began with a piece of 1060 steel. I beat it into shape:

Moving that metal was tough! It was the same stuff that I made my hot-cut hardy out of. Its really very tough, even with a 4-lb hammer. 

This was the first one, and the square punched hole is off center and crooked, which detracts from the overall quality of the header. 

It is beefy, but I may have to take it out and reforge a little bit. 

It is punched 3/4 of the way through, and then drilled out the back to allow the nail's shank to freely fall out of the header. Because the hole is punched off-center, it sticks a little bit. But it way my first, and I'm allowed mistakes, right?

The second is much better! 
I made it from a Railroad Spike: 

I cut off the head, and flattened the area a bit. I then rounded the spike portion of the metal, and drew the whole thing out a little bit. 
Here it is, post-forging and post-wire brush.
Again, punched from the top, almost all the way through, and then drilling the rest of the way. 

And now, NAILS! 

And, for these, I didn't quite "nail it", since I was new at the whole thing. It really helped me with my square tapers, though. Good practice! 

This is my best one!!!!

An ugly bunch, I know. I need to work on that.....

Ew. Ugly. But, its tough, there is only so much heat when it is in the lower 20 degrees F.

This nail header, I might add, is on sale from Craigslist, because I am a poor college student.

Happy Hammering, and Happy New Year!