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Volume 14 - Page 4 of 11
CanIRON II Conference Edition
An exclusive anvilfire report
Big anvil by Bill Plante This 583 pound anvil made by Bill Plante greeted everyone outside the entrance to CanIRON! Bill was one of the last minute demonstrators and showed how to make tools from junk and held an impromtue anvil making workshop. I'm afraid I missed that one. Wish I hadn't.
THE DEMONSTRATORS: From 32,000ft over the Montana bad lands. Images to follow.

Frank Turley, New Mexico: Frank's demonstration started off with the typical problems encountered while demonstrating in a strange place. He cooly started off with stating that he was, " from near Los Alamos, You know, where they make the bombs."
He then took "5 standard sheets of newsprint" and twisted them in to a ball with a tail, "A mushroom to start the fire"
alluding to a mushroom cloud from an atomic bomb.
Then he lit the stem of the paper mushroom with a match.
"Every blacksmith has to have matches, you can't be a blacksmith without matches."
He then stuck the flaming stem into the firepot, adjusted the air to a gentle blast (the unfamiliar forge didn't want to cooperate) and shoveled on the COKE.
"Where there's smoke there's fire."
He then checks the temperature of the fire by placing his hands on the mound of smouldering coke.
"I've been to India, practicing", he says with the hint of a smile.
The coke fire then fizzles out. . . Frank had never worked with coke and everyone got a lesson in how NOT to start a coke fire. This would have un-nerved many demonstrators but Frank moved on as the fire was lit with a torch a gave a great demonstration on making tools, including hardening and tempering.

Over the weekend he made a variety of tools from various alloys including SAE 1095, S-7 and S-1. On tool steels he says you must be very careful not to overheat it and to warm it over the fire before putting it in the fire to prevent thermal shock. He says, "Tool steel laughs at you when you make mistakes, mild steel just takes it and smiles. Tool steel will laugh at you."

The first tool he made was a center punch from 1095. He forges the head first, tapering the bar slightly then trimming the end off to remove the depression that forms. He says that he likes to taper the struck end because it helps focus the direction of the force and reduces mushrooming. The steel was forged at a bright orange but not yellow. The piece was then cut off the bar and the working end forged. He says and writes on the board, S.O.R. Square, Octagon, Round. Forge square, to draw out, then octagon, then round off the corners. This is important to prevent shear breaks or tears in the center of the steel and is doubly important in tool steel. After he forged the tapered working end he normalized the steel by heating to a cherry red (hardening temperature) then letting the tool air cool on the back of the fire. He explains that the difference between normalizing and annealing is the method of cooling. Annealing is done more slowly in ashes, lime or vermiculite. It provides a softer more consistent steel than just normalizing which removes forging stresses.

Final heat treatment was by the "residual heat method." The part was heated to a cherry red on the working end (you don't want to harden the struck end) and was then quenched in water by putting it vertically in and out of the water but not so far as to quench the middle. Then quickly the part is ground on a grinder or polished with some sand paper and the temper colors watched as they run up to the point. The tmeper was drawn just until the blue was gone out of the point and the tool quenched again. Afterwards the punch was ground to a 60 degree included angle.

"Don't grind the tool before heattreating." He then quotes Peter Ross (from yet another source), "If with a blade you should win, forge it thick, grind it thin."

His next demonstrating was making a slitting chisel from S-7. This steel he says must be forged at a lemon yellow but not overheated. At a higher temperature it just crumbles due to the alloying. If you overheat it, let it cool before forging. THEN because it is an air hardening steel you must not work it below an orange heat. As he works the piece and it cools he says, "You KNOW you want to keep working it! DON'T!" He repeats this with each heat to make sure you get the message. After forging one end of a long bar and cutting it off he places the cut off end in the annealing box. "Why do I do that?" he asks. "Remember, it is AIR hardening steel. Don't let it cool in air."

This tool is finished and normalized in the annealing box ("its AIR hardening, remember").

The last tool I observed during one of 6-7 four hour demonstration periods was a hammer head punch. This tool is also made of S-7 since it is a hot-work tool. The S-7 is "red hard" and can be used up to a low red heat. The blank for the punch was first isolated on the 1" (25mm) square bar by cutting about 2/3 with hardy and hot cutter. This left a "handle" to handle the piece with but kept the cool end from reducing the heat from the hot isolated end. This was observed to work very well. The hole was punched a little over half way through and then reheated and punched back from the other side. Because of the narrow working range the hole must be punched in two heats and the tell-tale shadow or "rose" cannot be seen to align the punch from the back. "You just have to guess the best you can and eye-ball it."

The punch he was making was the same as the punch he used to punch the eye so he had an example to display as he worked. The end of the punch was forged at an angle so that your hand was not right over the hot work. The shape was a simple double round with flats. Commercial eyes are made oval, and there is nothing wrong with this, but blacksmith made punches are rectangle withe the edges flatened and then rounded (S.O.R.). This is because they work, and they are much easier to make. Most blacksmith made tools will have this kind of eye.

Over the weekend Frank made many tools explaining each step in the process and displaying his unusual wit. He is definitely one of the indescribable characters, and a great smith. A session at his school would be worth while for anyone.

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