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.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Moving Heavy Things by Jan Adkin; a book review for Blacksmiths.

Moving Heavy Things.  Sound like the story of my life.  Almost everything in the Blacksmith Shop is heavy, rusty, hot, and possibly sharp.

Jan Adkin's book is filled with great tips on how things have traditionally be moved using muscle, simple tools, and planning.  "Never lift what you can drag, never drag what you can roll, never roll what you can leave."(Adkins, P. 8)

It is being republished by Woodenboat Publications, publishers of Woodenboat Magazine and many fine books relating to wooden boat restoration, building, and use.

The illustrations have all the charm and clarity of those by Antiquarian and Author Eric Sloan.  The book combines a story about two guys in the boat yard trying to move heavy things with tips from the past on how to get things done!  The book is short and not an instruction manual.

It is clever, fun, and full of traditional wit and wisdom.  "What goes up comes down heavier!"(Adkins, P. 11)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hand Cranked Drills for the Blacksmith Shop

I have worked in several Blacksmith shops that for historic or hobby reasons had limited power.  Modern drill presses are great, and can cut through steel like it is cheese!  But without electricity how do you make precise holes?

Hot and cold punching is one answer.  I do that, but sometimes you need to drill a hole.  What then?

I have been fortunate to find a number of classic old tools to solve that problem.  An "eggbeater" style drill works for small holes on thin steel.  But for bigger work they can't supply enough down pressure to cut steel cleanly.  The answer is a hand cranked Heavy Duty Drill.

Historically these were called "Breast Drills" due to the fact that you hold them with both hands and press your weight down on them with your chest.  Above is a heavy duty single speed drill.  It takes up to a 1/2" bit for wood or 3/8 in steel.

Below is a Medium Duty hand cranked drill with two speeds.  You remove the crank axle and replace it in a different bearing to use low speed.  It is in high speed right now.

They can be use for horizontal and vertical drilling.  I often clamp the work to a bench or heavy low stump and lean down on the drill to get enough pressure for the bit to cut cleanly.  Steel required a lot of pressure to cut a low speeds.

For precise or heavy work I use the Hand Cranked Post Drills.  These are both Champion No. 96 from Lancaster, PA.

Both have restoration needs, but they both work.  It only took 20 years of looking to find two matching drill presses that work!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

SOFA Quad State Conference 2013: Part III Tailgate sales and old tools!

New York is a good state to live in as a Blacksmith  It is a state rich with colonial, agricultural, and industrial history.  Between Agriculture and Industry there are a lot of old tools in New York.  It is possible to find used Blacksmithing tools at reasonable prices.  But showing up at Quad-State on Friday is still like Christmas morning!  Hundreds of pick-up trucks are loaded with tools on the tailgates.   Junk and tool sellers have rows of tables of old tools!

Here we are looking at tools before the sun has come up!

Each year the opportunities are different.  The economy has an impact as well.  Ten years ago when I started going to the event there were half a dozen or more old power hammers for sale.  There were also 3 vendors of new air hammers.  In 2013 there were lots of vendors and things for sale, but fewer power hammers and items in the multi-thousand dollar range.  There was also only Big Blu selling new power hammers.  I thing that reflects nationwide trends in the economy.  Blacksmiths were still looking for tools and things they needed and are spending money.  But they are buying more small items instead of one big item.

Our band of Outlaw Blacksmiths may be representative.  Out of five of us we bought one new tool.  My son bought a nice 800g German pattern cross-pein.  Here are a 600g, his 800g, and my 1000g German pattern Cross Pein hammers.  Ironically they were all made in France!

But the rest of our purchases fell in two catagories.  Used tools to rehabilitate and restore to use.  We brought home a broken Champion Post Drill, two leg vises without mounts or screws, and a rusty bench vice.   I found a Champion No. 96 for $20!  It has a flywheel with broken spokes.  But unbroken was the downfeed cam mechanism that is broken on the identical drill I already own.  I ended up mounting both of them in the shop side by side!  I'll forge a new down-feed cam using the one I have as a guide, and get both drills in top shape.  The more worn one will be used for bigger bits and the tighter one with a Jacobs chuck for smaller bits.  I thought I was getting parts, but instead I am using it for patterns to make parts!  That way I have two drill presses!

I also bought an assortment of sledge hammer heads, new files, and used files.

Raw material to use to make new tools or ironwork.  Our first purchase Thursday night was used Nascar axles.  We bought a bunch to use to make anvil tooling.  They are good steel.  The best deal we found on materials was real Wrought Iron!  Several people were selling iron from 19th century bridges.

We collectively bought more than a hundred pounds of 3/4 round, square, welded eyes, and massive wrought iron bolts!  We are already making the list of tools we will buy or sell at the conference next year!  Looking forward to the 4th Saturday in 2014!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

SOFA Quad State 2013 Part II: Demonstrators!

Tools and Demonstrators are why I keep going back to the SOFA Quad-State conference year after year.  Each is great, and is different every year!

The opening ceremony involved the forging of a T-stake anvil by Steve Parker on a big steam hammer!  Making anvils with steam powered tools - always awesome!

The source of steam was a Traction Engine parked outside the building.  The owner said his uncle had built it to the current form.  It looked like a small 3 horsepower stationary steam engine had been converted to a self propelled using antique truck and tractor parts.  Ingenious!  It was parked and piping steam to the hammer inside the main demonstration barn.

It was dark out, so these pictures aren't great.  The crew is manning the boiler as the Hammer Man and Hammer Driver work on the anvil in the barn.  It was nice to be reminded that working big iron in the past took a whole team to run the boiler, hammer, and anvil.  Only in the present does technology let a Blacksmith work alone.  Historically it was labor intensive and the hub of the village or factory.

Saturday afternoon the engine crew drove it around the grounds!

On Saturday there were demos in artistic smithing and moving metal by Brian Brazeal,  Roycroft style Copper work and repousee by Robert Trout, Power hammer work by Steve Parker and Bladesmithing by Tim Potier.

Brian's morning demo included forging steel jewelry.  This ring was forged to a very low heat, which reduced scale and produced the silver finish.  His forging style of using a very heavy hammer, slow blows, and working at a low heat is the opposite of the traditional smithing that I do with historic wrought iron.  But it sure makes a pretty finish and moves metal.  The ring show had just been forged and wire brushed.  Shiny!

Robert Trout's demo was in a big, airy new pole barn.  His tireless work and lively discussion of tools, copper work, design, and methods kept the bleachers full.  I've know Bob for 15 years and his demonstrations just keep getting better.  Even my 14 year old son was entertained and stayed in the bleachers.

He did a great job of explaining how to forge, shape, planish, and patina copper work.  Here he is shaping with a soft face cross pein on the anvil to take out excess curve.  Note the industrial carpet scrap on the horn.  That is placed on the anvil but under the work when shaping to prevent damage to the hammer patina.

Trumpet vase and picture frame.

SOFA Quad State 2013 Blacksmithing Conference- Part I

The largest and often the best yearly Blacksmithing conference is held by the Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil.  The event is called the SOFA Quad-State Roundup.  Even though it is over 600 miles from my house I try to go each year.  I am lucky to have a bunch of Blacksmith friends willing to make this crazy road trip out to the conference every year!  Thanks guys!

It is unbelievably flat in south central Ohio compared to my home in the Adirondack region of Northern New York.

Farmers were getting in the grain as we drove across the state.  Corn and Soybeans seemed to be most common.  We saw John Deere, Case IH, and Gleaner combines.

When we stopped for gas there were 5 boys in line buying cold soda.  They had clearly just come from the fields.  They still had chaff on their jeans and boots as they filled their pickup-trucks with gas.

This year was much drier and an easier drive.  It rained the whole trip in 2012.  At least we got to see the rainbow!
2012 Ohio drive home.
2013 Ohio drive home.

Our crew tented on grounds.  It is fairly cheap and easy to camp right at the event on the Miami County Fairgrounds.  This year was warm and dry.

What a nice change from the pouring rain, lightning, cold, and 86mph winds of last year!  Our tents didn't leak or blow down.  Success!  I am getting too old and cranky to sleep in the car.

Two attractions to Quad State are the tools and the professional demonstrations.  The tailgate shopping for new and old tools draws a lot of people.

Several acres of fairgrounds are covered by pickups, tents, and tables of rusty iron.

Bradley 15LB Upright guided helve hammer.
 Four demonstrators present throughout the weekend as well.  It is always a good time.  Part II of this report is about the demonstrators.  Part III will discuss buying tools!  More to follow.