To date I've avoided trying to forge. Since this thread its been on my mind and I'm finally trying it out. Now I've got one more project going, preventing me from finishing my other projects. So far I've only managed to make a melted chainsaw chain. The plan is to make a replacement blade for a pocket knife, although I suspect as its my first project it will likely be an epic failure.Wondering what y’all do on your ‘spare’ time and how you manage time for hobbies?
I blew the dust off this one, mostly because my son expressed interest in learning. I think I’ve fallen back in love with it. I’ve never used a coal forge, and I’ve been packing this one around for the two decades since my father died. I’m not sure where or when he picked it up, but it was always just used as a spot to pile tools.
Back in my late teens to early twenties I built myself a gas forge. Managed to blow myself up only twice. Coal is always a challenge to find, and I’d turn my nose up whenever I smelled it. Now I learned about coke, which from my understanding is not for the beginners (kinda like how the akimbo isn’t for beginners). Supposedly it’s hard to light, hard to give it enough air, hard to keep it lit, and easy to burn up your steel from over heating. We only had a the overheating problem, so we did very well!
Since this is new to me (coal/coke) we have a lot of tools to make. We had just enough time to get some rebar hot, make a few fire tools for the forge, and a little poker for the wood cook stove in the house.
In time I want to make axes. My passion with smithing is and always has been functional items people take for granted. Not unlike a doorknob that gets polished from a century of use. Hundreds, thousands, or more of hands have touched the doorknob, polished it, and very few ever gave a though of the person who made it. Tools that can last generations like axes are what I’d like to make.
In the past 30 years this forge has never been lit, and crossed half the country and back.
So enough about me, what hobbies do y’all pick up? How do you balance work and hobby? My elbows are shot from tree work, smithing isn’t any kinder.
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The little I know trying to make a chainsaw chain “Damascus” blade is not a beginner project.To date I've avoided trying to forge. Since this thread its been on my mind and I'm finally trying it out. Now I've got one more project going, preventing me from finishing my other projects. So far I've only managed to make a melted chainsaw chain. The plan is to make a replacement blade for a pocket knife, although I suspect as its my first project it will likely be an epic failure.
Gotta admit though, it was a cool feeling seeing that melted steel come out of the fire. Thank you for the inspiration to try it out.
Below is my crude forge. I started out with a wood fire but I could not get hot enough so I switched to charcoal.
Yea, I knew it wasn't a beginners project and that it was basically doomed from the get go, but thats half the fun.The little I know trying to make a chainsaw chain “Damascus” blade is not a beginner project.
Forge welding is tough, there is a very fine point between hot enough, and a melted mess of goo.
You’d have to roll the chain as tight as you can, run a few beads of weld to hold it together. Then bring it up just barely until it starts sparkling and vigorously but lightly hit the shit outta it.
OR hack the chain up in little pieces place it in some square tubing with a bottom welded on. You can get metal dust (basically file shavings) fill all the air gaps with this. Then weld a lid on it with a pin hole (because you basically just made a bomb). Bring it all up to welding heat and smash the crap out of it. This is called canister Damascus.
Let me add my european perspective to that. Everyone at the club I shoot at uses a PCP, all of them have their issues. I am the only one shooting a spring gun (sidelever), and I have never had a single problem with it. No difference in accuracy either. Of course all our rifles are match grade, very heavy barrels etc. I use the Feinwerkbau 601 (discontinued), Feinwerkbau, Anschütz and Walther are the only brands we see over here, not gonna find a daisy or similar here...What is your goal? Hunting, paper punching, or competitive?
PCP is the most accurate, hands down. Of the two guys I know that shoot pcp, one owns two Walthers, and the other shoots a Daystate. All of them are $1200+. The first guy also has a Beeman Chief that he says is the best budget gun, but it's had an issue here and there. The problem with the Chief is that it's not regulated, so it has a pressure curve that you have to get cozy with to keep you shots accurate. I think it's something like 20 shots before the pressure drops off enough to kill your group. Also, you have to tweak the orifice to get it tuned to your pellet and desired shot string initially. The regulated guns keep the pressure nice and consistent and don't need as much tuning, but you have pay for it. Also, with pcp, everybody says bypass the pump and go straight to tank and find a scuba shop or paintball place for refill.
Now abour the first guy ... he is the best airgunner at our club. His son was a junior national field target champ back in the day. His son won with an Air Arms TX200 springer. IMO this is the reigning king of all spring guns. I have shot it and it is sweet. Minmal tuning required, just buy some good H&N, RWS, or JSB pellets and find one it likes. Still pricey, but as a Diana 34 and Diana 240 owner, I wish I had just gone TX200 and saved the tuning time. The TX200 almost feels like a pcp because the shot cycle is so smooth. The balance is so sweet. There are some sidelever springers that are really good, but they are older models. I would be wary of the cheap or jazzy springers as I have seen many disappointed shooters who are unaware of the in depth tuning and maintenance required. Also springers are scope killers. I have destroyed 5 scopes and finally found Hawke Optics. I have yet to break a Hawke on my Diana's, and the 34 has been wearing a Hawke Airmax for the last 3,000 + shots with zero issues.
IF you end up going with a springer, get something heavy! Then, PM me and I'll walk you straight past some seriously major headaches. They need tuning, lots of tuning, lots of experimentation, the right pellet, and a $200+ scope made for springers. BUT, my Diana 34 can now hit 4" steel at 50 yards off hand, but I have at least 100 hours (maybe 200, hell I lost track) of work in it, including detuning the velocity to 750fps. Stock screw torque, spring polishing, trigger polishing, piston and cylinder polishing, barrel droop, scope robustness, rock solid mounts, barrel lapping - these are all things I had to work out. But no squirrel ever makes a permanent home in my attic. Its deadly to 30 yards and accurate to 75 yards now. It was ugly at first though.
As far as CO2 cartridge, well, they are accurate, but jeez those guys have issue after issue. Mainly running out of gas before a match is over, or having cartridge seals just randomly go bad (in the middle of a match). That and the cartridges add up if you shoot a lot. Again, since its gas, get a regulated or you might as well just get an unregulated pcp. IMO, pcp just obsoleted CO2 cartridge.
So, you probably picked up on the fact I like the AA TX200. I just like springers cause your power source is your muscles and always filled up and ready to go. And the TX200 can outshoot most of the cheap pcp's all things considered. But, for straight up repeatable olympic level accuracy, pcp is it. Just be ready to deal with that pesky pressure curve if you don't go regulated.
Man, please don't hesitate to PM me if you want to get more in depth.
Along with the TX200, and Feinwerkbau that @climbstihl mentioned, you might aIso look into a Diana 54. Our next best shooter (after the Walther pcp guy) shoots a vintage 54. They have a floating platform that is almost totally recoiless and pretty much no hold sensitivity. You can bench or bag it with no worries. He did mention that he thinks the newer ones aren't quite the same grade as the older ones, but I thinks it's tough to compare a new one to one that has been broken in with 10-20k shots.has pretty much convinced me to get a springer.
Got to this thread late. Have you ever been to the Penns Cave show?I am somewhat lacking in hobbies at the moment, I used to do some pretty serious rock climbing and speed skating, I’ve tried hunting and fishing - somewhere I have a few hundred dollars worth of fly tying gear - and I got into distance shooting for a short time.
Right now I work, I enjoy doing some metal fabrication in my shop, and I play mechanic/electrician/carpenter for a few friends at times. Smithing always looked interesting to me, I have a friend who does a little of it, but I prefer to burn my coal in steam traction engines. Hopefully next year the shows reopen and we will get back at it. There’s just something about a 100+ year old machine that still runs like the day it was built.
I have not, but I just looked it up - I will have to try to get out there next year if they hold it... It looks like a pretty good show.Got to this thread late. Have you ever been to the Penns Cave show?