Welcome to the Kellogg & Sons Blacksmith Shop

Our traditional Blacksmith shop located in Northern New York. We do custom Blacksmithing work focused upon traditional 18th and 19th century hardware and tools.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Buffalo Forge Blacksmith's Forge with hank cranked blower.

Recently I picked up an old coal forge in good shape to add to my Blacksmith shop.

This size of cast iron forge would have been common in shops between 1900 and the 1950's. Buffalo forge was one of the largest manufacturers of forged, and is still a major maker of air handling equipment.

This forge has a very smooth working hand-cranked blower. It works well, turns smoothly, and is fairly quiet. Often an old blower is loud, temperamental, and loud! I got lucky.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pattern Welding billets and Power Hammer work with the Adirondack Blacksmiths!

The Adirondack Chapter of the NewYork State Designer Blacksmiths had a great hammer-in on Feb. 11th, 2012.  About a dozen guys participated in making pattern welded billets for knife making.  A special thanks goes out to Bob Cunningham for hosting, Dan Dufore for preparing the materials, and our Forgemaster Marty Snye for helping to organize this event.


The billets were made of 13 layers of 1080 and 15N20.  Both are around .8 carbon and seemed to have very similar heating and expansion rates.  That made the forge welding process easier.  The stack were mig welded together and were around 1.25 wide, 4" long, and 1.5" high.

We heated the billets in coal forges.  After a good soak to come up to heat they were brushed and fluxed.  Then when they reached welding heat they were welded with a gentle pass through Bob's Big Blue air hammer.  They welded up nicely.  The hammer had good control and we used it to it's full capacity.

We had a mix of experienced smiths and learners.  Even guys who had never welded before got their billets welded.  There were cases of not using enough flux or hitting too hard and delaminating the weld, but most were quickly overcome.  Any project like this is always a major learning experience!  So we had "learning experiences" that taught us what happens when you get the billet too hot, and what happens when you work it too cold!

I did get a billet welded up to 117 layers.  Now I need to decide what I am going to make with it!  It was a fun day!  Thanks to Bob and his family for hosting the Hammer-in!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blacksmith Made Bolts - The Bolt Header Tool

Today it would be unusual to think about making each bolt by hand to assemble a project.  Yet that is what was commonly done by rural Blacksmiths prior to 1850.  If a blacksmith had the right tools he could make a huge assortment of nuts and bolts.

The most common style of bolt was a square head.  That could be held easily with a wrench and was easy to forge with just the hammer and anvil.  But when building wagons and sleighs he needed a lot of other kinks of fasteners.  Carriage Bolts have a rounded head to prevent them from catching on things and have a square spot on the shaft to hold in place in a square hole.  That prevents the bolt from turning and allows a nut to be threaded on the other end.  Plow bolts have a head that is both square and tapered so that it sits completely countersunk in the plow mouldboard.  If the head were raised it would prevent the plow from working smoothly and be damaged by the dirt.

What kind of tools can hold a bar of steel while the head is being made?  Bolt headers!  The simplest form is just a flat bar with a hole in it.  The best of the old Blacksmith made headers are pleasing to use, to hold, and to look at.  I have a number of headers from a rural Adirondack farm shop that made and repaired wagons and sleighs.  Most of the dozen header set are "Dog Bone" headers, with a different die on each end.

This header has a face for making 1/2" carriage bolts on one end, and for 5/8" carriage bolts on the other.  It was made by forge welding the bar back onto itself to made the ends, and then forged thinner and square in the middle.

You can see in the picture above of the underside of another header in the set.  Note the evidence of the folded ends and the forge welds.

Forge welded headers aren't just a product of the distant past.  I was lucky to find a header made by Donald Streeter.  It has a forge weld the whole length of the handle, as well as a steel face forge welded on working end.  This was probably one of his working tools.  He made a lot of large hinges, and this would be the right size to make 3/8 carriage bolts to mount hinges on a building.

He was one of the premier American blacksmiths in the 1970s doing colonial restoration hardware.  His shop in New Jersey was featured in his book on blacksmithing, Professional Smithing.  That book is being reprinted again by Blue Moon Press, and is a good reference for any Blacksmith reproducing traditional Colonial ironwork.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Adirondack Blacksmiths Hammer-in at James Tiernan's Shop-Jan 2012

The Adirondack chapter of the New York State Designer Blacksmiths had a hands-on Hammer-in at James' shop Saturday.  This winter has been the warmest in the North Country in recorded history.  So of course the day for the workshop was preceded by an ice-storm, lake effect snow, and a 45 degree drop in temperature.  Thursday was 46F., and Saturday morning dawned with a nice 1F!

James was a wonderful host for the 20+ blacksmiths that showed up at his shop.  His big Quonset-hut shop was toasty warm despite the cold with two big wood-stoves roaring!

 We had a show-and-tell session about projects that various smiths have been completing.  John Scarlett showed his impressive and inspiring project to make life sized Oriental Poppies from steel for a decorative fire screen commission.

His research into the elements of the flower and discovery of ways to make all the parts from steel was inspiring.  Great work from vision to tool making to completion!

Poppy petal.

One of the many projects members worked on was one that John Scarlett brought with him.  An Amish farmer needed a new half made to repair an original set of ice tongs.  What made the ice tongs unusual is that they were made entirely of round bar!  The pivot hole was slit and drifted making a round bulge in the round bar.  The originals were very clean work with a forge welded handle loop and a nicely forged gripping spike on the end.

Four smiths tackled the project with John Scarlett leading the job.  Step one was to upset a section of the bar between 10 and 11 1/2 inches down the bar for the later forge welded handle loop.  The upset was needed to allow the handle loop weld without thinning the bar at the end of the scarf.

Then the welding scarf was make on the end of the bar.  The handle was made with 2 90 degree bends and 2 180 degree bends.  Then it was forge welded together.  Despite our precautions the very end of weld scarf made a thin spot.  They guys eliminated it by then upsetting the bar including the weld!  If the weld had not been excellent it might have reopened.  That wasn't a problem.  John Scarlet struck the end of the bar while Jon Hughes isolated the other end in the vice.

Upsetting the bar!

They found the proper point to slit and drift for the pivot rivet.  Then they traced a sketch of the original arm on a steel table and used that to match the bend profile on the new arm.

The end point was forged and bent.  Then Dan Brassaw forged the pivot pin.  John and Dan riveted it into place

Our host James Tiernan had to check out the repaired tongs and make sure they worked!

It was a fun day.  Here is the tong making team of Joshua Harley, John Scarlett, Dan Brassaw, and Jon Hughes.  Good work guys!

Many thanks to James and his family for all the work they put into getting the shop ready for the event and all the food they cooked for lunch!  It was a great hammer-in!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Anvils in the Blacksmith Shop!

A good anvil is the center of a Blacksmith shop.  I am luck to have found a number of good anvils.  I have hand forged Bickerns, Peter Wright anvils from England, a Vulcan made in the Mid-West, and a Kohlswa from Sweden.  You only need one anvil but hunting for them is something of a sport!

Here in Northern New York our towns and farms have been in use for more than 200 years.  They were settled in the golden age of Blacksmithing and before the Industrial Revolution was fully underway.  Half the settlers of my region were coming from New England or more Southern parts of New York.  The tools that they brought with them may have already been generations old.  In my travels I have seen everything from pre-1740's English anvils with no horn or hard hole to anvils made in my lifetime.  Compared to the West Coast this is an anvil rich region.

I have anvils from 250 years old to about 50 years old!  My main shop anvil is the youngest one.  The 113kg. Swedish Kowlswa is cast steel and was made in the 1960's.  I bought it from the original owner.    While it is around 280lbs. it is the London pattern.  That makes it fairly narrow faced and long horned for it's weight.  Good forge work doesn't require a large anvil.  Historically a lot of small town Blacksmith shops used a 125-150lb. anvil.  But a larger anvil is steadier when using a sledge hammer.  I like this one.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blacksmithing and Shipwreck Wrought Iron!

In the summer of 2011 I had the good fortune to luck into getting some high quality wrought iron from a sunken ship!  A pair of sunken coal barges were being removed from the St. Lawrence River as a hazard to navigation.  Local recollection says that the wooden barges were brought there in the late 1940's or early 1950's full of coal.  During a storm they sunk and settled into the mud near the shore.

St. Lawrence River Shipping Channel.

After about 60 years in the cold river and under ice over 5 months of the year the barges were breaking up.  The International Shipping channel is only a few hundred feet away.  In fact this ship went by while we were at the site.

A trucking company was using an excavator to dredge up the remains of the barges from about 12-15 feet of water.  Filled with soupy mud, the wood and iron underwater were well preserved.  Some of the beams appeared to be long leaf Southern yellow pine.  It was still surprisingly sound after decades underwater.

Here is some of the wrought iron reclaimed from the wrecks after they were removed from the river.  Iron that was above water level rusted away, but iron that was always below the water line was almost like new.

Now to plan some special projects for this old iron!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Doors on the new shop.

The little Blacksmith Shop at the end of the driveway now has the barn doors it needed.  They aren't done yet but will keep out the snow and cold.  Here they are!

It was 4 degrees F. when I took the picture!  It is good they are up, as we may get snow every day for a week!

The Black River has started to freeze up.

The -9F. low last night iced it over in only a few hours!  Hopefully it will get thick enough in a week for us to ice skate and go ice fishing.  Last year it was frozen before Thanksgiving!  What a crazy warm winter it has been!