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Blacksmithing

Blacksmithing

The material in this article is reprinted from a 30’s vintage shop manual. We hope you find it of value and interest. SFJ

Modern farm machinery is largely of iron and steel construction, making an equipment of metal working tools necessary if satisfactory repairs are to be made.

Blacksmithing

Tools Required — The tools shown in figure 1 are considered necessary, although much repair work can be done with the forge, anvil, hammer and tongs, alone. An assortment of round, square and flat iron should also be acquired, together with a supply of bolts and rivets. Punches, tongs and hot and cold chisels of various shapes can be made as soon as a little experience is gained.

Blacksmithing

Arrangement of Forge, Anvil, and Tools — The anvil should be placed with the horn pointing diagonally toward the forge (fig. 2). The proper height for the average man is about 30 inches.

Where but one pair of tongs is available they must be heated and the jaws fitted to the iron being used, causing them to fit down upon the iron full length (fig. 3A). When in this shape the iron can be held securely with but little effort. If open at the point or heel of the jaw, as at B and C, it is impossible to hold the work, no matter how tightly gripped.

Blacksmithing

Work should be grasped at the end. This permits handling it easily upon the anvil face. When it is necessary to change ends with a piece of work or to secure a fresh grip with the tongs, hold the heated iron with the hammer and swing it about with the tongs.

The Fuel used in forge work is coke, a spongy, grayish black material that compacts closely and forms a dense, hot fire. It is nearly pure carbon and contains few impurities to attack the iron being heated. Coke is made directly in the forge from smithing coal, a high-grade bituminous coal that contains little sulfur or earthy matter, packs closely about the fire and forms coke rapidly under the action of heat.

Blacksmithing

Requirements of a Forge Fire — It is difficult or impossible to do good work with a poor fire. To secure the best results the fire must be: (1) deep, (2) clean, (3) compact. A cross section of a properly built fire is shown in figure 4.

Coke uses oxygen when burning, and if a deep, clean, compact fire is provided, much of the oxygen of the entering air blast will be exhausted before reaching the iron. This lessens the formation of scale and permits heating the iron to a higher temperature without burning.

Forging operations consist of bending, upsetting, drawing out, welding, punching, drilling, riveting, thread-cutting, hardening, tempering, and annealing. Heat makes iron soft and ductile. Practically all forging operations on iron can be done more rapidly when it is at a high heat. Steel will not stand as high a temperature.

Bending — Curves may be bent cold in light work. The iron should be heated when an angular bend is desired, to prevent breaking. A bend of this kind is usually desired at some definite point, and its location should be marked with a center punch before heating the iron. Avoid marking with a cold chisel as it tends to cause the iron to crack when the bend is made. Heat to a bright red heat for bending.

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Upsetting is making an iron shorter and thicker, as at the end of a brace where the hole is to be punched. This is done by giving the portion of the iron that it is desired to upset, a high heat, and driving back upon it with the hammer (fig. 5). Short pieces are upset, as shown at A or B. Larger pieces are often upset by ramming the heated end against the side of the anvil, as shown in figure 5C. Keep the iron straight while upsetting, and maintain a high heat, making the material soft and easily worked. Strike heavy blows. Light blows have little upsetting effect, simply forming a burr or rivet head on the end of the iron (fig. 5). To lessen the trouble from bending confine the heat in the iron to the portion that it is desired to enlarge. If the heated part becomes too long shorten it by dipping in water to the point desired.

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Drawing out is used to make an iron longer and thinner, and is most readily accomplished across the horn of the anvil (fig. 6). The rounded surface of the horn acts as a blunt wedge which tends to stretch the iron lengthwise as it is pounded from above. Keep the iron at a white heat, and turn backward and forward, one-quarter of a revolution, between alternate blows. When reduced to the approximate cross-section desired finish to a uniform square cross-section on the face of the anvil. If the finished iron is to be round, work down the corners, making it octagonal; next make it sixteen-sided, and finally round. It may be finished in the swages (fig. 7B), or by draw filing (fig. 8), if a smooth surface is desired.

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Punching — The iron is brought to a white heat and the punch is driven about half-way through as it lays on the face of the anvil in the same way that a nail is driven into a board (fig. 9). It is then removed and driven in from the other side, the raised, blackened spot on the iron locating the hole as the iron is turned over. As the punch is driven down it is brought over the pritchel hole in the heel of the anvil and the little pellet driven out, making a hole with clean-cut edges. If the punch had been started over the pritchel hole and driven clear through at the first operation, the hole would have had raised and roughened edges like one punched through tin with a nail. The punch should be dipped frequently while in use to prevent its temper being destroyed, and the edges should be kept sharp and square by frequent fitting.

To punch a large hole in a small piece of metal, use a small punch first and stretch the hole so formed by following with large punches. Square holes can be made by the use of a small round punch followed by a square one of the size desired.

Where a hole is being punched in an iron of considerable thickness a pinch of coal dust dropped in the hole will prevent the punch from sticking.

Blacksmithing

Welding — Wrought iron and mild steel have a considerable temperature range through which they are pasty and will unite if brought together and hammered, but the higher carbon steels present difficulties in welding that make a higher degree of skill necessary for a successful union. There are a number of forms of welds in use, as the lap weld, butt weld, and jump weld (fig. 10), used for special purposes. The lap weld is the principal one used in farm practice.

Blacksmithing

Scarfing — Before welding, the ends of the irons to be joined must be shaped for the purpose or “scarfed” (fig 11). The ends are first upset, as at A. The upset end is then held as shown at B, and by striking backward and downward, it is given a blunt wedge shape. Next lay the iron flat across the face of the anvil with the edge of this wedge vertical, as at C, and form the scarf or meeting surface by striking in the same manner used for forming the wedge. This brings the iron down to a blunt point of the shape shown at D. The scarf is finished by giving it a slightly convex surface by a few light blows from the hammer. The convex shape ensures that the irons will meet first in the center of the weld and squeeze out any scale or other impurities from between them as the welding progresses, resulting in a strong weld. The upsetting is done to provide sufficient material for the drawing out and waste due to hammering and scale.

The length of the scarf should be about 1-1/2 times the diameter of the iron being welded, a 1/4 inch rod requiring a scarf about 1-1/4 inches in length. A common mistake of beginners is to make too long and pointed a scarf, due to pounding at too flat an angle when forming it. This results in a weak weld of poor appearance.

The fire for welding must be deep, clean, and compact, and free from fresh coal. Fresh coal contains a certain amount of sulfur, which makes the iron slippery at welding heat, and prevents a weld being made. Welding requires a high temperature, and a sufficient heat cannot be obtained in a loose, shallow, and dirty fire without excessive scaling or burning of the iron.

Heat the Iron — The irons should be placed in the upper part of the fire, with the scarfed sides up. Use a light blast in heating. This prevents excess air being forced into the fire, lessens scaling and permits the iron to be heated uniformly clear through. A heavy blast may result in a surface heat only. Watch the work closely and secure an equal heat on the pieces being welded by changing their positions in the fire if necessary. The pieces must be heated equally to weld. Dip the points of the scarfs in water if they heat too rapidly, to prevent burning. When a bright red heat has been reached a flux may be applied. This lessens the formation of scale and permits a weld to be made at a somewhat lower heat.

The Welding Heat — At this heat the iron becomes the same color as the glowing fire and seems to disappear in it. The heated portions are white and wet appearing, like a snowball that has been carried for a long time in the hands, and if the irons are touched together in the fire a portion of the surface will flow from one to the other, causing them to stick. If heated much beyond this point white, explosive sparks will appear, indicating that the iron is burning. With steel this high temperature cannot always be reached because of its higher carbon content. In general, welding should be done at the highest heat possible; a common trouble with beginners is attempting to weld when the iron is too cold. If the irons do not stick at the first blow, reheat them, as further pounding is useless.

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Taking the Irons from the Fire — Just before the welding heat is reached the irons should be turned over in the fire with the scarfed sides down, exposing the meeting surfaces to the highest heat. Take the irons from the fire with the backs of the hands uppermost, the little finger of the right hand and thumb of the left hand toward the fire (fig. 12). As the irons are pulled from the fire rap them smartly upon the forge or anvil to remove adhering slag, turn the right hand over so that the scarfed end of the iron held by it points toward the body (fig. 13), and lay it across the anvil in this position with the scarfed side up. Bring the iron held in the left hand down upon it, as shown in figure 14, by first resting it across the corner of the anvil and using this as a fulcrum. The right hand is now free, and the hammer, which should have been in place on the anvil, is picked up and a blow struck uniting the two pieces. After the first blow the points of the scarfs should be welded down, as because of their small size they will be the first to drop below the welding heat.

When stuck together the weld is reheated to the welding point, and worked down square to the size desired (Fig. 11), next it is made octagonal, and round as described under drawing out. Whatever the finished shape is to be it should first be made square; attempting to work the weld round at once will result in opening it. Where the pieces of iron are both short, necessitating the use of two pair of tongs, the tongs held by the right hand are released and dropped when the left hand iron is brought down on top of the iron held by them.

Fluxes — A flux is a powder or paste used to make welding easier. It accomplishes this result in two ways: 1. It melts on the heated iron and flows over it, providing a protective coating that tends to prevent burning and the formation of scale (oxide). 2. It unites with the scale already formed and lowers its melting point, making it possible to weld at a lower temperature. The ordinary melting point of iron oxide or scale is higher than that required for welding. Wrought iron can be heated high enough to melt this oxide; most steels, except the very mild ones, will burn however, before this temperature is reached, making a flux a necessity in welding them.

Materials Used for Fluxes — Patent fluxes can be obtained from hardware stores for a few cents per pound, the chief ingredients being borax, sal ammoniac, and iron filings. For ordinary work with wrought iron and mild steel clean, white sand may be used successfully. The action of the sand is improved if mixed with borax, which has first been heated to drive off the water.

For welding steel a flux made of 1 part sal ammoniac and 4 parts borax, treated as above, gives good results. The flux should be applied to the iron when it has reached a yellow heat. This temperature is necessary to cause it to stick.

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Drilling — The drill should be kept sharp and well lubricated to prevent heating while in use. When grinding, the original shape (fig. 15) should be preserved, giving some clearance back of the cutting edge. Squeaking and hard running indicate a lack of clearance or lubricant. Common machine oil makes a satisfactory lubricant for farm shop use. A center punch mark should be made (fig. 16) in which to start the drill. The work should be held securely (fig. 17), and the feed eased up as the drill comes through the metal, as otherwise the drill may be broken. Twist drills are very hard and brittle, and break easily when bent.

Blacksmithing

Thread cutting is done by means of taps and dies. Grip the rod or bolt in the vise, and smooth up the end with the file, permitting the guide of the die to slip over it easily. Apply oil liberally and turn the die onto the rod (fig. 18), using sufficient pressure to start the thread. Nuts are threaded by clamping them in the vise and turning a tap of the proper size into them, running it clear through. The following table gives the size of drill necessary to use with the tap listed:

Taps Drill diameter Drill size in nearest 64th
1/4″ .201 13
5/16″ .258 16 or 17
3/8″ .314 20
7/16″ .368 23
1/2″ .425 27

Riveting is done with hot or cold rivets, the former making the tighter joint. A rivet of a size to fill the hole should be used, and one slightly longer than the thickness of the metal being riveted. The rivet is inserted in the hole, the head supported by a sledge or other heavy iron, and the other end swaged down with the pene of the hammer. It can be shaped with a rivet set in finishing to secure a smooth head.

Working Steel — Steel should be kept at a yellow heat while being worked. This heat should not be exceeded, and the steel should not be worked after it has cooled to a deep red. Too high a temperature results in a coarse-grained steel, while working at too low a heat causes the formation of minute cracks along which the tool will break when in use.

Hardening Steel — When a piece of steel is heated to a dull red and then cooled suddenly by plunging into water or other cooling agent it becomes very hard and brittle. This is the common method used to give hand-made tools cutting qualities. The proper hardening heat varies. As a general rule it is lowered as the carbon content of the steel is increased. A cherry red heat, judged in the shade, is about right for the steel in common use. This will appear nearly black in the sunlight. A little experimenting and observation will determine the proper hardening heat for any steel. For example, an old cold chisel on which the top end is badly broken indicates a high carbon content, and points to a low heat as the proper one for hardening. One in which the top has mushroomed over would indicate a steel of lower carbon content. Too high a hardening heat makes the steel coarse-grained and brittle, destroying its usefulness. Steel should always be hardened by cooling it quickly, immediately it is taken from the fire. It should not be allowed to cool in the air before plunging it in water.

Division Between Hardened and Soft Parts of Steel — Usually a tool is composed of a hardened steel cutting edge and a softer part upon which the pounding is done as, for example, a cold chisel. Where this is the case the tool should be moved up and down in the water while hardening to avoid forming a sharp division between the hardened and unhardened parts, which is likely to cause breakage when the tool is put to use. Moving the tool about in the water also cools it more quickly and makes it harder.

Tempering — A piece of steel in this condition is too hard and brittle for ordinary use, and must have this extreme hardness removed to a certain extent, depending upon the use to which the tool is to be put. This is done by reheating and tempering.

Reheating the Steel for Tempering — The chief method used in farm practice to reheat the steel is to utilize heat remaining in the tool after hardening. The lower portion only is cooled in hardening and the heat remaining in the part above is then allowed to work down until the desired temperature is secured at the cutting edge, when the tool is again plunged in water and cooled.

Determining Tempering Heat — A piece of polished iron or steel will form a thin scale on the outside that changes in color as the heat is increased. At about 430 degrees F. this scale is a very pale yellow. As the heat increases this changes through shades of yellow to brown, which becomes tinged with red, turning into light purple, dark purple, and finally blue. The following table taken from Farm Blacksmithing, by J.M. Drew, gives the colors indicating the tempering heat for various tools, and the approximate temperature corresponding to the color:

Color Temperature F degrees Tools
Very pale straw color 430 Stone drills for hard stone.
Yellow 450 Woodworking tools, ordinary stone drills.
Dark yellow 470
Brownish yellow 490 Hammer
Brown 500 Lathe tools
Brown tinged w/ purple 520 Drills (hard)
Light purple 525 Drills (ordinary)
Dark purple tinged w/ blue 550 Hard cold chisels
Dark blue 565 Cold chisels for soft iron, hand punches and hatchets
Light blue 605 Screw drivers

Annealing is the process of softening steel, and is accomplished by heating to the proper hardening heat and cooling very slowly by burying in ashes or some similar heat retainer. It results in a steel of extreme softness, strength and ductility. After forging, steel should always be annealed before hardening, as it relieves internal stresses in the metal and results in a better tool.

Blacksmithing

Cutting Metal with Chisels — Cutting should be done on the base of anvil horn (fig. 19), or on the cutting block immediately back of it. The face of the anvil is hardened and will injure the chisel if driven against it. The cold chisel should be held securely with the left hand and struck heavy blows. Place the chisel before each blow and nick clear around the iron to be cut off; then bring the nicked portion to the edge of the anvil and break off by a blow from the hammer as shown in figure 19. Keep the cold chisel sharpened with the edge slightly convex to give it strength. Avoid cutting with the corners of the chisel, to avoid breakage. When making deep cuts a handful of oil-soaked waste into which the chisel can be dipped occasionally will make it cut better.

The hot chisel is used on hot metal in practically the same way that the cold chisel is used for cold metal. The metal to be cut should be bright red. Dip the hot chisel frequently while using it to retain the temper. The hot chisel may be used in connection with the hardie in cutting hot metal, the hardie forming the lower blade of the shears. Avoid hitting the hardie with the hammer; the last blows struck should be overhanging blows.

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Cutting with the Hack-saw — When using the hacksaw, draw the blade up taut in the frame, avoid twisting or cramping in the cut and use with little pressure to avoid breaking. For economy in the use of blades use the longest stroke possible, making every tooth in the saw do its full share of cutting (fig. 20).

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Filing — Files are used for leveling and cutting down stock where a degree of accuracy not possible with the cold chisel is required. An assortment of round, square, triangular, and flat files is desirable. The flat file is the one most used in farm repairs, the size known as 12-inch being the most economical. It should be fitted with a handle permitting it to be grasped firmly. Hold the file steadily and use long strokes (fig. 21). It should be lifted on the return stroke. It does no cutting on the return stroke and is dulled by contact with the metal.

Care of Files — A satisfactory way of storing is to provide a shelf on which each file has a groove protecting it from dirt, grease, or injury. When a file becomes worn it may be kept for use on soft or dirty metals and a new file secured for the harder work.

Problems in Shop Work

Job 1. Building and Maintaining a Fire — A clean, deep fire of coke is necessary for satisfactory forge shop work (fig. 4).

Construction of Fire:

  1. Clean out fire pot and blast pipe. Pick out large “clinkers” and remove small “clinkers” and ashes through trap beneath tuyere.
  2. Light small handful of shavings and place in fire pot with lighted end down.
  3. Select several pieces of coke and place on burning shavings. Start fan slowly to give light blast.
  4. When coke ignites increase the blast and add more coke.
  5. Complete the fire by banking finely broken coal about it in the form of a hollow mound. Sprinkle this coal to dampen it and make it compact, causing it to form coke rapidly, confining the heat to the center and making the fire comfortable to work about.
  6. As fire burns out replenish it by pushing the outside to the center and adding more coal to the outside.
  7. Clean fire with poker when “clinker” is felt in the bottom, usually after from one to two hours’ steady work. Avoid spreading the fire; keep it deep, clean and compact for the best results.

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Job 2. Roof Ladder Iron — This is bolted to the top of a light ladder, permitting it to be pushed up a roof and hooked over the ridge (figs. 6, 16, 17, 19 and 22).

Construction:

  1. Cut from a 1/4″ x 7/8″ bar a piece 20″ long.
  2. Heat 3″ of one end to a bright red and draw to a blunt point edgewise. Keep the original thickness.
  3. Heat to a uniform bright red for a distance of from 7″ to 8″ back from point and bend edgewise over the horn of the anvil to shape shown in figure 22.
  4. Cut with cold chisel to length required.
  5. Lay out, center punch and drill 1/4″ holes for bolting to ladder.

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Job 3. Gate Staples — Staples of different shapes are used to support sliding gates and bars. Where used for bars made from poles, old horse shoes are sometimes pointed and used for staples (figs. 6, 16, 19 and 23).

Construction:

  1. Cut a piece of 1/2″ round iron, 18″ long.
  2. With center punch mark it 1-1/2″ and 3-1/2″ from each end. (fig. 23).
  3. Heat end to a light red heat and draw to a square point 3″ long.
  4. Repeat with the other end. If points are more than 3″ long cut off tips with hardie and finish again. Do not work iron after it has cooled below a good red heat or trouble may develop from splitting when drawing to a point.
  5. Smooth surface of points at dull red heat with wet hammer. This is below scaling heat and will produce smooth surface.
  6. Cool finished points.
  7. Heat to bright red at second set of punch marks and bend at right angles by overhanging blows (fig. 23), to form staple. Start bend on point of horn and finish over the side of the anvil. Preserve round cross-section and avoid marring inside of bend by holding and striking as indicated (fig. 23).

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Job 4. Gate Hinge — A heavy hinge of this character is used on swinging gates and heavy doors. It may be changed in construction adapting it to different conditions (figs. 16, 17, 19, 24 and 25).

Construction of Hinge Strap:

  1. With cold or hot chisel cut from 3/8″ x 1-1/2″ stock a piece 28″ long.
  2. Heat to a bright red for about 1-1/2″ back and upset one end as shown by figure 25A. Keep the width at 1-1/2″ while upsetting.
  3. Scarf the end as at B, figure 25, making a scarf 2-1/2″ long. Finish the scarf to a blunt point.
  4. Lay off 3″ from the shoulder of the scarf and mark on the edge of the iron with the center punch.
  5. Take a short heat at the center punch mark and bend at nearly right angles by overhanging blows over the side of the anvil (fig. 25C).
  6. Heat the part that is to form hinge socket to a uniform light red and with scarfed side down start bending socket over outer end of anvil horn (fig. 25D).
  7. Maintain heat in socket end and close on the face of the anvil as shown at figure 25E. Close end around piece of 5/8″ rod used for a drift pin.
  8. Remove the drift pin, bring hinge to yellow heat, insert drift pin, apply flux, bring to welding heat and weld as shown at figure 25E.
  9. Lay out, center punch, and drill holes for bolts.
  10. Cut to proper length and shape end. Work chamfer to dull red heat with wet hammer to avoid scale.

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Construction of Hinge Pin:

  1. With cold chisel cut piece of 5/8″ round iron 16″ long.
  2. Heat ends to dull red and work smooth and round.
  3. Mark with center punch 2-5/8″ from one end.
  4. Heat to bright red at this point and bend at right angles with overhanging blows as shown for hinge strap (fig 25C).
  5. Again heat to bright red at the bend and cool upright part by dipping in water to the bend.
  6. Set the pin upright on the anvil and strike on the top end, upsetting the metal in the bend and forming a right angled inside corner.
  7. Cool the iron and cut a 5/8″ thread as shown.
  8. Tap a 5/8″ blank nut to fit thread.

The hinge as shown is made for a 12″ concrete post. If other post is used cut length of horizontal part to fit post. Apply top hinge with pin pointing downward to prevent gate being lifted from hinges by stock.

Lower hinge may be made adjustable, permitting gate to be kept horizontal, by threading entire horizontal length of hinge pin and using two nuts, one on each side of the post.

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Job 5. Iron Plate for Vise Jaw — The utility of a wood vise is increased by iron jaw linings. It can then be used for both woodwork and light metal work. A 2″ x 2″ angle iron can be used the whole length of the bench in place of the inner plate if desired (figs. 16, 17, 20, 21, and 26).

Construction:

  1. Square and cut with the hack saw a piece of 5/16″ x 3″ iron 7″ long (fig. 26).
  2. True up the ends with flat file, if necessary.
  3. Lay out position of holes and mark with the center punch.
  4. Drill with 1/4″ drill and countersink for No. 14 F.H.B. screws.

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Job 6. Rub Iron for Hay Rack — This is fastened to side of rack and prevents wear from wheel when turning (figs. 16, 17, 20, and 28).

Construction:

  1. Lay out and cut with hack saw from 1/2″ x 2″ iron a piece 8″ in length (fig. 28).
  2. Lay out position of bolt holes, center punch and drill with 3/8″ drill.
  3. Edges may be chamfered if desired by heating to dull red and working with a wet hammer.

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Job 7. Hay Rack Clamp Bolt — It is designed to hold cross sills and bed pieces of hay rack together without weakening them by boring holes. In modified form it may be adapted to other similar conditions (figs. 16, 18, 19, 25, and 27).

Construction:

  1. Cut from 3/8″ round iron a piece 35-1/4″ long.
  2. Round up ends, cut threads and tap nuts to fit.
  3. Mark lightly with center punch 16″ from each end.
  4. Heat to a bright red at punch marks and bend at right angles in the vise or in pritchel hole of anvil.

Clamp-bolts, U-bolts and other work of this nature are frequently made by shaping first after which they are heated at the top and twisted sufficiently to permit the thread to be cut. They are then reheated and twisted back to place again.

Job 8. Wagon-box Strap Bolt — It is used to fasten sides of box to bed (figs. 6, 7, 16, 17, 19, and 28).

Construction:

  1. From 1/4″ x 7/8″ iron cut a piece 16″ long.
  2. Heat end to a dull red and work chamfer, using wet hammer.
  3. With center punch mark holes and 12-1/4″ from end make punch marks in the edge of the iron to locate shoulders.
  4. Heat to a bright red at point where shoulders are to be formed and start shoulders with top and bottom fullers (fig. 7).
  5. Heat iron below shoulders to a uniform bright red and draw to 7/16″ square.
  6. Maintain heat and work down corners making heated portion octagonal and finally round, 7/16″ diameter. Finish between 7/16″ swages if available (fig. 7).
  7. Cut to proper length and round up end to take dies.
  8. Drill holes and countersink.
  9. Cut 7/16″ thread and tap 7/16″ blank nut to fit.

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Job 9. Tail Rod Washer for Wagon-box — It prevents the ring and nut on ends of tail rod from wearing into the wood. Two are required for each rod (figs. 16, 17, 19, and 29).

Construction:

  1. From 1/8″x 1-1/2″ iron cut a piece 3″ in length.
  2. Trim corners with cold chisel as shown.
  3. Lay out, center punch, drill and countersink as shown in the drawing (fig. 29).

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Job 10. Wagon-box Tail Rod — This is used to hold end gates of wagon-box in place, and to prevent box from spreading (figs. 16, 18, 19, 30, and 31).

Construction:

  1. Cut from 3/8″ round iron a piece 3’9″ long.
  2. Mark with the center punch 5-3/4″ from the end.
  3. Heat to bright red at the punch mark and bend at nearly right angles over the edge of the anvil with overhanging blows (fig. 31A).
  4. Heat the 5-1/4″ part to a uniform bright red and work across the horn of the anvil, bending to ring form as shown at figure 318.
  5. Heat ring to bright red and close on the face of the anvil (fig. 31C).
  6. Heat ring uniformly and true up the ring over the anvil horn as shown at figure 31D.
  7. Cut rod to required length, round up end and cut 3/8″ thread.

Blacksmithing

Job 11. Tail Rod Nut — This is used as fastening on tail rod, as it permits loosening or tightening without the use of wrench, and because of its shape does not easily jar off (figs. 16, 17, 30, and 32).

Construction:

  1. Heat about 1-1/2″ of end of 1/2″ rod and bend at right angles over the side of the anvil by overhanging blows (fig. 32A). The bent up portion should be about 3/4″ long.
  2. Keep at light red or yellow heat and upset the portion turned up by pounding on the upright end when rod is resting on the anvil face (fig. 32B). Do not let the upright piece fold over while upsetting and be careful to preserve round cross-section.
  3. When upset nearly to the point shown at figure 32C, apply flux, bring to a welding heat and weld down.
  4. Draw the rod slightly back of the upset portion by working over the horn of the anvil.
  5. Cut off to required length and finish end.
  6. Heat and bend to shape (fig. 30).
  7. Mark with center punch in center of upset end and drill with 9/32″ drill.
  8. Tap with 3/8″ tap.

Blacksmithing

Job 12. Wagon-box Rub Iron — Used to protect wagon-box from wear occasioned by contact with front wheels in turning (figs. 6, 16, 17, 19, 31, and 33).

Construction:

  1. Cut a section of 3/4″ round iron 16″ long.
  2. Mark with the center punch 4″ from each end.
  3. Heat end to center punch mark to a uniform bright red and draw out, working to 3/8″ x 1″ in cross-section.
  4. Draw out other end in the same manner.
  5. Heat at punch marks and bend at right angles. Bend over the corner of the anvil with overhanging blows (fig. 31A).
  6. Cut flattened parts to proper length, center punch and drill with 5/16″ drill.

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Job 13. Wagon-box Brace — Used on the side of wagon-box to prevent spreading (figs. 9, 18, 19, 32, and 34).

Construction:

  1. From a 7/16″ rod cut a piece 13-1/2″ long.
  2. Heat about 1-1/2″ of one end to a bright red and turn about 3/4″ at right angles (fig. 32A).
  3. Maintain high heat and upset turned up portion as shown at figure 32B. Continue upsetting until nearly at point shown at figure 32C.
  4. When nearly down to thickness of the rod, apply flux, bring to a welding heat and weld down at point indicated at figure 32C. Avoid pounding down too thin, keep the thickness at least equal to the thickness of the rod.
  5. Reheat to bright red or yellow heat and punch 1/4″ hole in the center of upset portion.
  6. Lay off position of bends and mark with the center punch.
  7. Cut off any excess length, round up end, cut 7/16″ thread and tap two 7/16″ blank nuts.
  8. Heat at points indicated by center punch marks and bend to proper angles. Bend so that welded side comes next to box.
  9. Heat brace end to dull red and work light chamfer around top with hammer.

BlacksmithingBlacksmithing

Job 14. End Gate Brace — Used to support foot rest on the front end gate of wagon-box (figs. 16, 17, 35, and 36).

Construction:

  1. Cut a piece of 1/4″ x 7/8″ stock 13-1/2″ long.
  2. Make a center punch mark in one edge of the material 6″ from one end.
  3. Heat to a bright red or yellow heat at punch mark.
  4. Dip each end of iron in water, cooling it so that only about 3/4″ remains heated on each side of the punch mark.
  5. Clamp in vise just below heated portion and upset by heavy blows (fig. 36A). Work must be done rapidly in order that upsetting heat is not lost before there is opportunity to clamp in vise and strike.
  6. Repeat this process until metal is from 3/8″ x 1/2″ in thickness. Pound on edge on face of anvil to prevent the metal spreading in width. Upset in thickness only.
  7. Reheat and place on the face of anvil working, by backing up blows with the pene of hammer, to the shape indicated (fig. 36B). Be careful not to draw the metal in length.
  8. Bend over the corner of the anvil with overhanging blows with the upset part at outer corner of the angle (fig. 36C).
  9. Complete angle by taking short, high heat at angle, cooling as in four if necessary, and place on anvil with one end butting against the hardie. Pound down on the other end securing a sharp corner at the outside of the angle (fig. 36D).
  10. Cut ends to length and forge on chamfer at dull red heat with wet hammer.
  11. Lay out positions for holes, center punch, drill with 1/4″ drill and countersink.

Blacksmithing

Job 15. Wearing Irons and Brace for Road Drag — Used to hold drag in shape and to protect the scraping and pulverizing edges of the drag (fig. 16, 17, 19, and 37).

Construction:

  1. With hack saw cut a piece of 5/16″ x 2-1/2″ material 6″ long.
  2. One and one-fourth inches from the lower edge make six center punch marks in line, the two outer ones being 2-1/2″ from each end and the remainder equally spaced.
  3. Drill and countersink for 3/8″ sleigh shoe bolts at these punch marks.
  4. In the same manner, cut, layout, center punch, drill and countersink the two by two-inch angle iron used on the pulverizing edge of the drag.
  5. Using pipe cutter or hack saw, cut two sections of 1-1/2″ pipe 2’10-1/2″ long to serve as braces.

Blacksmithing

Job 16. Welded Eye Bolt and Ring for Road Drag — Used in road drag to hold parts together and as a means of attaching the team (figs. 5, 17, 18, 38, and 39).

Construction:

  1. Cut 11″ from a piece of 1/2″ round stock.
  2. Take a short high heat on ends and upset (fig. 5, A and B).
  3. Scarf end as for lap weld (fig. 13). Make scarfs on opposite sides (fig. 38).
  4. Heat one-half of iron to uniform bright red and bend over horn of anvil, working from scarf point back to middle.
  5. Repeat with the other end.
  6. With ring heated to uniform bright red close the scarfs together by standing on edge of anvil.
  7. Maintain uniform heat in ring and work roughly to shape on anvil horn so that scarfed ends are in position for welding (fig. 38, B and C).
  8. Apply flux, bring to welding heat and weld on the face of the anvil. Strike one blow to unite pieces and then weld down scarf points. Reheat if necessary to finish weld. Do not attempt to unite by pounding when the iron is below welding heat as it will simply be drawn out.
  9. Work weld to square cross section of the size desired, next octagonal and finally finish round by rocking on anvil horn as it is pounded.
  10. Shape to true ring by heating to a uniform bright red and working back over anvil horn. Curve can be put in the part desired by cooling part in water that does not require bending.

Blacksmithing

Construction of Welded Eye Bolt:

  1. Cut from 1/2″ round stock a piece 3’8″ long.
  2. Heat about 1-1/2″ of end to bright red and scarf by backing up blows (fig. 39A).
  3. Bend scarf as shown at figure 39.
  4. Mark lightly with center punch 4″ from angle formed by bending scarf.
  5. Heat to bright red at punch mark and bend nearly at right angles by overhanging blows (fig. 39C).
  6. Heat the portion of the rod between the punch mark and the shoulder of the scarf to a uniform bright red and bend to ring shape over the horn of the anvil (fig. 39D).
  7. Maintain ring at bright red heat and close on the face of the anvil forming eye (fig. 39E). Fit scarf to rod.
  8. Spread eye over hardie sufficiently to insert ring.
  9. Bring to yellow heat, insert ring and again close scarf against rod.
  10. Apply flux, bring to welding heat and weld as shown in figure 39F.
  11. Cut rod to length required, round up end and thread with 1/2″ die.
  12. Tap blank nut to fit.
  13. Construct eye bolt for other end of drag the same way except length. Make length to fit.

Blacksmithing

Job 17. Range Pole Shoe — Used as a protection for the lower end of range poles (figs. 5, 15, 16, 23, and 40).

Construction:

  1. Cut 3″ length of 3/4″ round iron.
  2. Heat to bright red and upset sufficiently to make light drive fit in 3/4″ black iron pipe.
  3. Insert in end of pipe. Bring to yellow heat and apply flux freely.
  4. Return to fire and heat slowly to welding heat, turning as heating progresses to ensure uniform heat throughout.
  5. Weld and draw to a square point.
  6. Cut off with pipe cutter or hack saw to proper length and finish shoulder square.
  7. Mark with center punch, drill small hole and countersink to permit fastening shoe to pole with flush screw.
  8. If galvanized iron piping is used the galvanizing must be burned off before welding is attempted as the galvanizing makes the iron slippery at welding heat.

Short range poles can be made complete from 3/8″ or 1/2″ pipe by making point as directed above.

Blacksmithing

Job 18. Irons for Stitching Horse — Used as a latch, attachment for strap used to close jaws, and fulcrum for treadle on stitching horse (figs. 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, and 41).

Construction:

  1. Cut from a 1/8″ x 1″ piece of band iron, a section 5″ long.
  2. Make center punch marks at points shown in drawing and drill 1/4″ holes at points indicated.
  3. Clamp iron in vise and bend cold, at points indicated forming the stirrup shown.

Construction of Catch for Side of Leg:

  1. With cold chisel cut from 1/8″ x 1-1/2″ iron, a piece 5″ in length.
  2. Clamp in vise and file notches along one edge approximately 1/4″ deep x 3/8″ long.
  3. Center punch, drill and countersink holes as shown for F.H.B. screws.
  4. Smooth up edges with file.

Construction of Plate for Treadle:

  1. With cold chisel cut a piece 3″ long from 1/8″ x 1-1/2″ iron.
  2. Center punch, drill and countersink as shown.
  3. Clamp the piece in the vise 1/2″ from the edge and bend to the approximate angle shown in the side view.
  4. Round up edges with file.

Construction of Staple Bolt for Treadle:

  1. Heat end of 1/4″ round mild steel rod to bright red and bend to staple form indicated.
  2. Cut to length shown in drawing.
  3. Smooth up end with file and cut thread.
  4. Tap blank nut to fit.

Blacksmithing

Job 19. Making a Chain Link and Repairing a Chain — A chain link made as described makes a permanent repair for a broken chain (fig. 42).

Construction:

  1. Select a piece of round rod the same size as the material used in making the chain that is to be repaired.
  2. Heat to a bright red at a point on the rod having the distance from the end slightly greater than the length of the link to be made. Do not attempt to make a link too short as it cannot be handled in welding as easily as a longer one.
  3. Bend to a U-shape at this point, making the inside width of the U but slightly wider than the diameter of the rod from which it is made.
  4. Reheat to a bright red and cut off both legs of the U to an equal length on the hardie. When cutting material on the hardie finish the cut by shearing, overhanging blows to avoid striking and injuring the edge with the hammer.
  5. Heat ends of U to a bright red and scarf for welding by holding as shown at “A” figure 42. Hold the leg E against the side of the anvil with the end of the other leg lying on top as shown. Swing the link about the point E as a fulcrum in the direction of the arrow as it is pounded on the top, drawing it out to a rough point on the inside to the shape shown. The link is then turned over and the other leg scarfed in the same manner.
  6. Reheat the scarfed ends to a bright red and bend over the point of the anvil horn until they cross and lie in a position for welding as shown at C.
  7. Spread link like a key ring over hardie and insert parts of chain to be united. Again close link to shape shown at C.
  8. Heat to welding heat, indicated by white, wet appearance, and weld by holding on anvil in position shown. Be sure to weld down points of scarf first as they are small and quickly cool below the welding heat.
  9. Secure round cross section in weld by holding welded portion of link over the point of the horn and rocking it back and forth as it is pounded.
  10. If link is spread too wide at the welded end bring it back to shape by heating it and striking diagonally downward as it is held edgewise on top of the anvil. Do not strike straight down on the side of the link or it will make it assume a shape somewhat like a figure 8.

BlacksmithingBlacksmithing

Job 20. Straight Jaw Tongs — Straight jaw tongs are used for handling all common shapes of hot irons while working at the forge and anvil (figs. 5, 6, 9, 43, and 44).

Construction:

  1. Cut a section of 7/8″ x 7/8″ square iron bar 8″ in length. Use Norway iron if obtainable.
  2. 1-1/8″ and 2-1/4″ from each end make center punch marks.
  3. Heat to a bright red at second center punch mark and bend over the edge of the anvil to the angle shown at figure 44A.
  4. Heat at the first punch mark and bend this section back parallel with the long part as at figure 44B.
  5. Reheat the iron and turning it one-quarter of the way over place it on the anvil as shown at figure 44C. Strike as indicated. This leaves the top surface flat and at the same time forms a shoulder on the under surface where the corner of the anvil cuts up into it.
  6. Again bring iron to a working heat and place it on the anvil as shown at figure 44D. Work the jaw down to 1/2″ thick at the base and 3/8″ thick at the end, working to dimensions shown in detail (fig. 44).
  7. Bring to white heat and punch a 3/8″ hole at the point indicated. The hole should be started from the side of the jaw marked F to permit the jaw to lie flat on the anvil when brought over the pritchel hole to drive out the pellet from the reverse side, in finishing the hole. The hole should be punched rather than drilled, to secure strength. Make the hole first with a 1/4″ punch and enlarge to 3/8″ by stretching. Finish the jaw to shape and size shown in figure 44E and F.
  8. In the same way make a jaw on the other end of the bar, making them rights and lefts.
  9. Cut the bar in the center and scarf the ends of welding as shown in figure 11.
  10. Cut two pieces of 1/2″ round iron 14″ long.
  11. Scarf ends for welding as shown in figure 11.
  12. Heat jaw and handle to welding heat and weld.
  13. Heat handles to bright red and taper by drawing out, making them first square, next octagonal and finally round.
  14. Cut a piece of 3/8″ rod 1-1/4″ long for a rivet. Heat the rivet red and assemble the two sections of the tongs. When finished jaws should work freely. If too tight, heat and work back and forth while heated.
  15. Cut handles to length required and smooth up work.

Blacksmithing

Job 21. Cold Chisel — The cold chisel is necessary in farm shop work in making repairs to metal. It is used for cutting cold iron and can be made in various shapes for different purposes. The shape shown is the best adapted to general use (fig. 45).

Construction:

  1. At a point 7″ from the end of a 3/4″ octagonal tool steel bar apply heat until red and cut off with sharp hot chisel. Cut in from all sides to the center to preserve a smooth end.
  2. Select best end of section to cut off for cutting edge. Heat the top end to bright red and shape as shown in the drawing, making taper first square, next octagonal and finally round. Permit the top to cool slowly to prevent extreme hardness and consequent danger from chips flying from the top when struck with the hammer.
  3. Heat cutting end to bright red and forge to wedge shape by drawing out over the base of the horn (fig. 6). Finish on the flat surface of the anvil. Maintain steel at bright red heat while working. Do not work at dark red heat and do not permit steel to become too hot.
  4. When worked to shape desired make a cut across both sides near the end with the hot chisel as shown.
  5. Heat cutting end of chisel back to point B slowly to a dull “cherry red” heat, the hardening heat of average steel, and bury it in the ashes in forge to cool slowly. This anneals it, making it soft and ductile, and relieves internal stresses, making the steel tougher and stronger. The annealing may be omitted if desired.
  6. When annealing is completed reheat to cherry red or hardening heat to point B and plunge in water to point A. Swing the chisel to and fro and move up and down slightly to prevent sharp division between hardened and unhardened portions which might cause cracking. This treatment makes the lower portion very hard and brittle.
  7. Pull the chisel from the water and rap sharply on the anvil to break off the portion below the nick formed with the hot chisel. This leaves good steel for the cutting edge. The extreme end is likely to be injured by too high a heat.
  8. Polish the end of the chisel by rubbing on a brick, concrete floor or other means and watch for the band of color, caused by heating, work down from the uncooled section of the chisel between A and B. When the proper color has reached the edge, dark blue for a chisel for general use, plunge the tool in water again, cooling it. If the portion between A and B is still red, cool it slowly to prevent hardness and brittleness at this point.
  9. Grind edge to shape and angle shown in drawing.

Spotlight On: Farming Systems & Approaches

To Market, To Market, To Buy A Fat Pig

Within so-called alternative agriculture circles there are turf wars abrew

Swallow

Rotation As A Means Of Blight Control

Every farmer knows that when a crop is grown on the same field year after year, it becomes inferior in quality and the yield steadily diminishes.

New York Organic Grazing Dairy

New York Organic Grazing Dairy

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from issue:

Our farm, here in the center of New York State, consists of 101 acres, about 90 in grass, the rest some woods and swamp. It is inhabited by forty-six jersey cows, twelve breeding ace heifers, one bull, and because it is calving season — an increasing number of calves. Also, four Belgian mares and a couple of buggy horses. Last, and possibly least — the farmer, farmer’s wife, and five grown children.

Fjordworks A History of Wrecks Part 2

Fjordworks: A History of Wrecks Part 2

It is always fascinating and at times a little disconcerting to watch how seamlessly the macro-economics of trying to make a living as a farmer in such an out-of-balance society can morph us into shapes we never would have dreamed of when we were getting started. This year we will be putting in a refrigerated walk-in cooler which will allow us to put up more storage-share vegetables.

Horse Labor Instead of Tractors

Horse Labor Instead of Tractors

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Three different parcels of land were committed for a series of tests to directly compare the impact of tractors and horses on the land. One side of each parcel was worked only with horses and the other only with tractors. There were measurable differences between each side of the worked areas; the land’s capacity to hold water and greater aeration were up to 45cm higher in areas worked by horses as opposed to tractors.

The Brabants Farm

The Brabants’ Farm

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The Brabants’ Farm is a multi purpose farming operation whose main goal is to promote “horsefarming.” Our philosophy is to support the transformation of regional conventional agriculture and forestry into a sustainable, socially responsible, and less petroleum dependent based agriculture, by utilizing animal drawn technology (“horsefarming”), and by meeting key challenges in 21st century small scale agriculture and forestry in Colombia and throughout South America.

Wheel Hoe

The Wheel Hoe: A Tool For Shallow Tillage

When we bought this little farm I soon realized I needed a wheel hoe. The size of the horse and tractor dictated space wasting wide rows in crop production and, to some degree, so does my two wheeled tractor.

LittleField Notes Hay

LittleField Notes: Hay

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from issue:

Farming never fails to dish up one lesson in humility after another. Despite having all the weather knowledge the information-age has to offer, farmers will still lose hay to the rain, apple blossoms to frost, winter wheat to drought… If we are slow to learn humility in Nature’s presence we can be sure that another lesson is never far off.

Rice as a New Staple Crop for Very Cold Climates

Rice as a New Staple Crop for Very Cold Climates

by: ,
from issue:

If you were visiting Earth from some other planet and had to describe its inhabitants upon your return, you might say that the average person eats rice, and grows it as well, usually on a small scale. You’d be accurately describing the habits of over a quarter of the world’s population. Rice has a special story with an exciting chapter now unfolding in the northeast USA among a small but growing group of farmers and growers.

The Forcing of Plants

The Forcing of Plants

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from issue:

It is always advisable to place coldframes and hotbeds in a protected place, and particularly to protect them from cold north winds. Buildings afford excellent protection, but the sun is sometimes too hot on the south side of large and light-colored buildings. One of the best means of protection is to plant a hedge of evergreens. It is always desirable, also, to place all the coldframes and hotbeds close together, for the purpose of economizing time and labor.

Useful Birds

Useful Birds

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Whether a bird is beneficial or injurious depends almost entirely upon what it eats. Birds are often accused of eating this or that product of cultivation, when an examination of the stomachs shows the accusation to be unfounded. Accordingly, the Biological Survey has conducted for some years past a systematic investigation of the food of those species which are most common about the farm and garden.

Barnyard Manure

Barnyard Manure

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The amount of manure produced must be considered in planning a cropping system for a farm. If one wishes to manure one-fifth of the land every year with 10 tons per acre, there would have to be provided two tons per year for each acre of the farm. This would require about one cow or horse, or equivalent, for each six acres of land.

Cultivating Questions A Horsedrawn Guidance System

Cultivating Questions: A Horsedrawn Guidance System

Market gardening became so much more relaxing for us and the horses after developing a Horsedrawn Guidance System. Instead of constantly steering the horses while trying to lay out straight rows or cultivate the vegetables, we could put the team on autopilot and focus our whole attention on these precision tasks. The guidance system has been so effective that we have trusted visiting chefs to cultivate the lettuce we planned on harvesting for them a few weeks later.

A Tour of Various Draft Farms

A Tour of Various Draft Farms

Amidst all of the possibility that is out there, all of the options and uncertainties, it helps to remember that there is also a strong community in the draft-farming world. There are a great many like-minded yet still diverse people working with draft horses and ready to share their experiences. What will serve us well within this great variety of farms and farmers is to keep in touch, to learn from one another’s good ideas and mistakes and to keep on farming with draft power.

LittleField Notes Seed Irony

LittleField Notes: Seed Irony

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They say to preserve them properly, seeds should be kept in a cool, dark place in a sealed, dry container. Yet the circumstances under which seeds in a natural environment store themselves (so to speak) seem so far from ideal, that it’s a wonder plants manage to reproduce at all. But any gardener knows that plants not only manage to reproduce, they excel at it. Who hasn’t thrown a giant squash into the compost heap in the fall only to see some mystery squash growing there the next summer?

Cultivating Questions A Diversity of Cropping Systems

Cultivating Questions: A Diversity of Cropping Systems

As a matter of convenience, we plant all of our field vegetables in widely spaced single rows so we can cultivate the crops with one setup on the riding cultivator. Row cropping makes sense for us because we are more limited by labor than land and we don’t use irrigation for the field vegetables. As for the economics of planting produce in work horse friendly single rows, revenue is comparable to many multiple row tractor systems.

A Year of Contract Grazing

A Year of Contract Grazing

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Contract grazing involves the use of livestock to control specific undesirable plants, primarily for ecological restoration and wildfire prevention purposes. The landowners we worked for saw grazing as an ecologically friendly alternative to mowing, mechanical brush removal, and herbicide application.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
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