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Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by jake pogg, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Agent_H!:)...Thank you...You're very kind.

    Ernest,you got my number...Yes,the Middle Ages is a romantic ideal,but of course i'm a creature straight out of Victor Hugo...(or maybe Emil Zola:)...
    Those are all very valid points you bring up...I'm happy and comfortable here,in my Fourth World...(for the non-anthropologist amongst us it is what happens when the First World colonises the Third,causing it to be dysfunctional:),but of course i pine for all those dormir windows,and gargoyles,and the people that carry on those traditions of iron-,and woodworking...
    Moreover,my lovely fiance pines away for me in Andoversford,Cotswolds,just a few doors down from the old house where William Morris lived...She leases a shop,built of Cotswold stone,where a side-blown forge,and a pile of coke(and a 32 Anyang:)await me,under those roof-beams carved in the Elizabethan era,with the assembly-marks left by the carpenters still clearly visible...
    It's an Existential dilemma,(but of course not without a crass,21-st century element in it-i'm a Stateless Person,like Roma or a Pikey but only worse,and me and the US Gov't are trying to decide right now whether i need to be euthanised,or interned,or what....the jury is still out at present).
    But,aside from all that,i most highly value the feedback,and any connection with the Old World,whence my inspiration comes from.
    So,in the spirit of friendship and cooperation between our worlds,(whatever their numbers),send me your postal address,and i'd be honored if you test-drive this new tool for us...(i'll hit the inside of the eye with some files meanwhile,so that it can be handled easily).
    [email protected]
  2. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Let's see now, when I do my best reading 'twixt those lines... then my proposal seems somehow far-much-less-fetched in fact then when it came up, my time-frame being more drawn out than maybe you think, giving you and the good old USA gov some leeway in straightening things out on that side, (my best wishes. What a drag). First things first then and I send off that information.
  3. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Superb post, Jake! I really love all the process details you've included. I have no doubt you've created a perfectly usable tool that will last for decades.

    This is why some smiths like to temper with a torch. Of course if the temper is reaching one portion of the bit before others it's a simple thing to touch that section with a damp rag to let the rest catch up.

    I wondered what your source of fuel was. I like forging with charcoal (no clinker) but I'm blessed to have good hickory charcoal available at the hardware store. I need a bigger charcoal maker. What I have is just a modified 5-gallon steel can. Hard to find steel cans anymore as everything seems to come in plastic nowadays. I also have local sources of semi-OK coal lying in surface deposits. And I sometimes find big chunks of it along the river during low flows.
    Trailsawyer likes this.
  4. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    And really,the most interesting thing is the Difference between all these different cultures,more so that even the cool-factor in any given one,the Spectrum,if you will.
    Actually where i happen to live(the middle part of the valley of the Yukon river)is historically the home of the Athapaskan people.Athapaskans,(the only ones among the native Americans),were a complete Chalcolithic(copper-working)culture("complete" refers to the forging of metal,vs just reduction,or cutting and splicing like many others did).
    So among all the other fascinating concepts of life here that particular detail keeps a metal-freak like me fairly entertained...

    I wonder if some European charpentieres would be interested in some form of a working symposeum,in the wilds of Alaska?:)
    I've access to plenty of timber,and certain milling capabilities,like a portable band-mill,but also do a bit of custom chainsaw-milling.That last is particularly versatile,i can for example mill some very irregular roots,in the spring these giant spruce root-balls go drifting past me...I could,potentially,prepare the material for a natural-cruk frame...Or some sort of the "grynnbygge"(sp?) type project...
    We could legitimise a like project as some sort of a better-sort of Colonialism,to show what neat things the Old World has to offer,contrary to the experience of the last couple of centuries?!....:)

    I know it sounds crazy and abstract,but,hey,the world around us Is so rapidly changing...
    Square_peg and Agent_H like this.
  5. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Very much so,Square_peg,and sometimes it's called for-like if the poll/eye is in itself a hardenable alloy,in which case running the heat from the middle is the only way.(especially if the poll needs HT'ing in it's own right).
    By placing a crude tin cone over the fire one can concentrate the heat quite well(but you're a Waygers fan,i won't preach to a choir:)

    My only available species is White spruce.
    (In general,the softwoods are said to be better for Welding,as they give off their energy Right NOW,whereas Hardwoods are great for extending the forging time,steady and slow).
    The Japanese use one of several Pines,and do end up getting a few more BTU's out of their charcoal,and for you,in the PNW,a good construction-site leftover pile in SPF would approximate it Very well(i'm envious).
    Yes,a reclosable 55-gal drum is an ideal.That's what i use,and a load from one of these lasts for a good 3 to 5 hours of forging,very convenient.
    (welding,of course,is a different matter,but still practicable).You may ask around at your local fuel-depot,or some other industrial joint that may use those....
    Any mineral coal is handier'n sliced bread(providing that it's suitable for forging,as in coking,and ash issues,et c.),but it's a hassle,and a health hazard,used as we do it in this primitive,open-hearth method.
    Charcoal is pure as a driven snow...Nothing but beauteous Carbon...(people very rarely,if ever,resorted to mineral coal before the Industrial Age...).
    Square_peg likes this.
  6. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Yes, well, who knows about it. One smid, the Norwegian, not unknown to you since I've noticed you making reference to his work now and then here on the forum, he does have interests ethnological having done some workout in Africa with the Malian smid forging on stones in the desert, and with your nice watered spruce for making braces with he would certainly have an interest, and logistically speaking, well, he is Norwegian, definite possibilities but I am just running on and on spouting off here so take it for what it is on all accounts. In my cooler headed moments though I have to say I will be getting together with one or two of these craftsmen in 2019 in the Spring-time so this is the particular time-scale at hand.
  7. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    A very basic formula that works for me for many years now:
    Wood is cut and split to where it's under 2" in two dimentions(very like running a wood cook-stove,something i've done for years,so it came very naturally,cut it short,pick clear-ish sections,and it'll take no time at all).

    A layer is laid in the bottom of a drum,and set alight.More wood added trying to not kill the fire,of course,till the drum is full.
    Apparently,the principle at work here is to force the burn to travel in the direction of "towards the draft,or air-supply",which is what we have with the fire starting at the bottom of the drum.

    Once going,the drum is choked off in whatever manner.I happened to use that old tin cone,with a 7" chimney section on top,it in turn has a plate with several holes drilled.It's immaterial,just choke it till there's a few square inches of vent left.

    The issuing smoke tells you all you need to know:It'll start as thick,yellowish kind,and eventually turn grayer and grayer,while remaining thick and dense-looking.
    Eventually,it'll start getting more transparent,getting a bluish tint to it.At that point it's your call:You can take it to Clear,Invisible smoke,which will mean that Pyrolisis has ended completely.But,as the Japanese people have discovered,the few remaining volitile components actually increase the BTU's somewhat.
    So,i try to terminate the process at some late-ish Transparent/Blue stage....
    (to arrest,place the reclosable lid on firmly).
    For me,the process takes a bit over two hours,your milage may vary according to wood-species,moisture content,ambient humidity et c.

    But,altogether,it's about the simplest,most dumbed-down process,that results in several hours of good forging fuel.

    (General guide to judging charcoal:1.It needs to break across the grain,abruptly,the break appearing Shiny,glossy.
    2.In trying to use it as a crayon on your skin,ideally,it'll leave no black mark(density).
    3.Gently striking two pieces together produces a clear,high,"clinking" tone....(this last not an option for me,with my spruce,but may be for you with denser wood).

    Trailsawyer and Square_peg like this.
  8. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Ernest,that sounds great.We really ought to try some ideas,what's to loose?
    My dream has been for some time to stage an event where the Making of a tool could be combined with the Using of it,in turn producing a finished Object...
    To help people to be able to see the process in all it's Interrelatedness,as one Whole.
    To bring together the magic of the Plastic Deformation(and the magical Phase transformation in the Fe(C)),and the Reduction,or the no less Magic chip-parting principle that gave us...Well...just about Everything!:)
    As a (less obscure)alternative,to maybe demonstrate the endless circle of Wood-chopping tool to Charcoal-making to ore-reduction/bloomery and back to Tool-making....
  9. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Here is a set-up we used with the intent of producing tar with the resulting by-product, a load of nice charcoal .
  10. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Nice set-up.

    Yes,tar is a good example of how this crucial component plays into completing the entire circuit of events.

    Even Spruce makes a Serviceable drakkar providing it's been well tarred!:)...
  11. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Ok, maybe but in terms of charcoal making this set-up might be a simple solution regardless of tar or no tar.
  12. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    I achieve a similar result at the forge by enclosing the fire with some large fire bricks.

    I like your method. I have such a drum but I would need to make a cone/chimney like your setup. My method is to load my can with wood and build the fire under it. When it stops flaming and smoking out the vent holes it's done. I just get such a small batch out of it.

    It would be fun to be a part of something like this. Go to the Yukon for some wood working and some blacksmithing. Maybe even smoke some fresh salmon.
    Agent_H likes this.
  13. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Looks like you got a good load out of that.

    Agent_H likes this.
  14. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    That's a sweet,compact set-up,very nice.
    Yes,by further restricting the opening one can,in effect,turn it into a torch,to heat a tool-head in a very localised and controlled manner.
    Yet another way is to heat a mass,like an old sledge-head,and use it as a source of heat for localised tempering.
    It's just important to keep in mind that the oxide colors will form on the surface irregardless of a temperature inside the mass,so the heating method must insure the heat travels throughout.

    It is a more Gentlemanly,put it that way,solution.Similar to Ernest's tar operation,it of course constitutes a "closed retort".
    It is a bit more refined,and can be contolled better,i'm not even sure why i'm so sloppy about things...But i think(i may be wrong),i'm getting about the max output out of the wood running an open retort...The volume in a done drum tends to be over two-thirds full...and the weight,if i remember correctly,somewhere between 25 and 35 lbs...(it Has been a while since i was in any way organised or scientific about it...:(

    I think that you'd find it interesting,and fun!:)...The seasons are tough to predict,but some kind of salmon normally runs all summer...There're also other tasty Salmonids,like 5 species of whitefish,and Sheefish,that also can be smoked...:)....Let me look for some photos...
    Trailsawyer and Square_peg like this.
  15. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    The king salmon run in mid-June,normally.They're in trouble,though,all over the Western US,and their runs,once overwhelmingly plentiful,are no longer certain...Last year was the first time we fished for them in 11 years...And still no one knows whether it was the conservation measures that helped,the salmon are a mysterious creature....
    (a sheefish,or Inconnu,is in the tub with the king).

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
  16. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Our salmon runs are diminished, too. To many things working against them. Factory trawlers illegally fishing at sea. Way too much legal fishing at sea. Loss of habitat on land. Diminished food supply at sea. Fisheries all across the globe are collapsing rapidly. Some say there will be no more seafood by 2050.

    I'm heavily involved in salmon restoration in my watershed. We used to have so many fish here. Now we're lucky to get a season once in 10 years on my local river.

  17. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Thank you,Square_peg,for doing what you can for conservation....It is a Grave concern...I try limiting my king-fishing to absolute minimum...
    In the photo above i'm out with some locals(my own fishery is tiny in comparacence,which doesn't mean much-this boat represents a clan of well over 100 folks),but a man in the foreground is my dear friend from Scotland,visiting.
    It is sobering to see the conservation issues through the eyes of Europeans.He was ...not sure what would be the right term...Startled,maybe,by that day's fishing...and saddened...
  18. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Trailsawyer and Square_peg like this.
  19. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    We still get a lot of humpies. They're OK smoked but not great.
  20. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Humpies come this far up every 3-4 years,and plug up my net...They're in awful shape at this point,having missed their exit somewhere...The Sockeye is rare,but also present sometimes(having missed the turn-off up Koyukuk R.).Lots of Coho run up the Yukon late in September and October...So,all Pacific salmon are present here.

    The odd thing about the Yukon is how long it is,as compared to most other rivers,over 2000 miles...And salmon go all the way...
    Now,there's this unexplained fact about Pacific salmon,they stop feeding when entering the fresh water,on their end-run,and go on solely on their stored-up fat.So when they ascend a 90-mile long river,they don't need to be as fat as when they need to go much further...And they normally aren't.....But somehow,for the Yukon journey,they pack it on.

    I'm 600 miles from the mouth...(and it's another 400 to the nearest road...(that's why my internet is so funky:)...(i think in river-miles,it's closer as the crow flies,about 270 to the road-system).
    Trailsawyer, 300Six and Square_peg like this.

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