The Laboratory

mesquite tree
Underneath the Spreading Mesquite Tree ...
(HOA won't allow chesnut trees, besides they aren't really desert trees)
My Smith

Just kidding! Found this neat picture and just had to use it somewhere.
(Wish I had that power hammer)

My Forge
my forge
My two burner tunnel forge

My new Habenero
two-burner forge

My gas forge has been pulled from storage. The mice stripped most of the kaowool out to make nests with. I bought some new kaowool, rigidizer, and ITC. I've rebuilt the forge and it is working great. Found a metal cart at the local used tool store and mounted the forge on top. Underneath I added two shelves with some scrap expanded metal to hold my tongs and a small slack tube. I've been experimenting with possible items to sell at craft shows.

Well, after all these years and two rebuilds I decided to buy a new propane forge. I looked around at what was available (and the cost) and settled on Chile Forge Company out of San Marcos, Texas. I went with the Habenero two-burner model. I also decided that for what I do I'd like the extra stock support in back (for pass-thru work) and the stand with wheels so I can easily move it around as needed.

my vise
My Post Vise

My post vice has been disassembled, sand blasted, repaired, painted a forest green, and reassembled. I know all of the comments about "don't paint it, just coat it with WD40 etc., etc., etc." Then I remembered whose vice it was and forest green ruled the day. While it was apart I slathered white lithium grease on the screw threads. Putting it on thick allowed it to fill up all the "nooks and crannies" and hopefully last for years before it has to be redone.

I built a stand from an old dental chair base (courtesy of my brother, Lee) that forms the base for the vise stand. I welded a piece of pipe to stand vertically with a plate on top (picked up a piece of ¼" plate from the scrap bin at a local metal supplier) to bolt the vice to and violá.

My Anvils

This was my original Sheffield anvil sitting on a mesquite stump.
Resting on the back of the anvil is my drill press clamp hold down. This was my second anvil, my first was a Harbor Freight 55# anvil that my wife and daughter so thoughtfully bought me for my birthday. It worked well for what I wanted until I saw an ad on Craigslist for this anvil and several hardys. Price was right and the time was right.

My new anvil. Now to "tie" it down to the stump.

After months of looking and pricing anvils I decided against going with a used anvil because they were hard to find in the under 200 lb size at anywhere near a reasonable price. Instead I settled on the anvil from Peddinghaus/Rigid. It's the same as I use at the Presidio and as a new anvil I don't have to worry about rounded edges or hardy holes with nonsquare openings. Gave up on local sellers and went to Amazon. What a difference! Paid 25% less and that included shipping to my residence (via 40' UPS tractor/trailer).

anvil made from railroad track
My "to-go" anvil. Made from a piece of railroad track with full-toe joint bars on each side and held together with a standard button-head oval-neck track bolt.
My Railroad Track Anvil

My railroad track anvil is a bit different from others you have seen (or Google Images) or at tailgate sales. A major part of the weight comes from the joint bars and bolts that are attached. The joint bars also help to stabilize the anvil by forming a wider base than just the track would. Where can you get one like it. I haven't got a clue; I don't even remember where I got mine. Track I've seen around and railroad spikes are readily available (you can even buy them new), but the joint bars and bots ... Joint bars and bolts are used to fasten rails together. Tie plates and spikes attach rails and ties to produce track.

Joint Bars

Joint BarsIllustrated are the three types of standard joint bars which are currently in service. Six-hole joint bars are provided for all crane rail and new tee rail sections over 100-lb. per yard. New rail 100-lb. per yard and less is furnished with four-hole joint bars.

railroad track bar

Track BoltCrane rail bolts are medium carbon, heat treated per ASTM specification A-325 and are shipped complete with heavy hex nuts and lockwashers. Tee rail requires standard button-head oval-neck track bolts with heavy square or hex nuts. Lockwashers are furnished on request.

My Fly Press

fly press in my truckStarted my quest for a fly press when I needed something more than a hammer and anvil to shape metal. Since I live in an area with a HOA (Hell's Own Assholes), a power hammer was out because of the noise. Even in the daytime the noise would drive the neighbors up a wall. A treadle hammer might have worked, but I decided to go with the power afforded by the fly press. While I was thinking about it, I found one in my price range so the rest is history. I've spent more time building tools for it than making product, but that will change shortly.

The real problem is that these things weigh the proverbial "ton". Actually, that may not be that far off. I had to rent an engine hoist just to get it out of my truck. It's certainly not something I want to move around much even though it is on a wheeled dolly I built for it.

    Gee Mom, look what else I've found!

Wisdom of my father: "It takes more of a man to walk away from a fight than to stay and fight."
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