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There has been a lively discussion on whether to sharpen an old blade or buy a new one.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f11/better-sharpen-blades-replace-39399/

The question has been raised about making your own tools and many of us want to learn more. Rather than hijack further I'm starting this new thread. New information to me is that until about 30 years ago most craftsmen (and hobbiests I suppose) used to have skills that are being lost with regard to forging, machining or otherwise creating ones own tools. All of this has raised a lot of questions, at least for me.

How can I build a coal forge in my back yard? (Someone please talk me down from this one. :blink:)

What's a Taig lathe and how is it different from a wood lathe? Can one lathe do both?

I was given an old Craftsman arc welder and accessories. What's the safest way to learn how to use it? Does it require hours of practice to get good enough to rely on my own welding for something like a mobile base?

Where can I learn more? What are good sources of supplies?

Hope to hear from some of you who have been doing this for a while and would be willing to pass down some wisdom and tradition. For those of you like me who want to soak up this info like a sponge let's hear your thoughts and questions too. Seems like a big subject, so why not start somewhere. :thumbsup:
 

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hi shopdad
i have 2 taig lathes and they will work with wood, plastic, metal.
here is a link to a owners group for tha taig lathes and mills.
http://taigownersclub.forumotion.net/
i had to make a new bronze bushing for my delta lathe and made the replacment part on my taig.
using tools to make and fix tools!
as for welding that is something that usally takes a while to learn and master.
if you where going to school for welding they would have you running beads all day untill you got the hang of it and then just keep running them becuse you are not good enough!
 

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Try a post on Wood Central

Another site I frequent is http://www.woodcentral.com.

Try posting on the Turning forum.

Do a search on the site with search words e.g, forge, making tools, etc.

If I recall Steve Antonucci has made some of their own tools. Also John Lucas who posts on the Woodturning forum of this site.

One example message.
http://www.woodcentral.com/woodwork.../read/id/224455/sbj/man-did-i-have-fun-today/

After reading his posts I would say a home forge can be done. You will also need anvil, etc.

Lots to learn. May be fun. You also need to understand how to heat treat (colour of the metal determines) and then how to cool. Sometimes fast via oil or water, sometimes slow via air.

For welding, do you have a local trade college which offers courses? My father was a welder, but I was never able to get any tips or lessons. I would also find it useful to be able to weld. I may one day have to take on this learning curve.
 

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In History is the Future
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Once the discussion in the other thread turned that way last night I got on YouTube and found the following hoping there were decent videos on it already.



I've watched them both and being relatively new to it myself nothing really jumped out at me like some hand tool videos have in the past (there is a lot of BAD info and horrible demonstrations out there). So take them for what they are worth as they may be worth watching.
 

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There has been a lively discussion on whether to sharpen an old blade or buy a new one.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f11/better-sharpen-blades-replace-39399/

The question has been raised about making your own tools and many of us want to learn more. Rather than hijack further I'm starting this new thread. New information to me is that until about 30 years ago most craftsmen (and hobbiests I suppose) used to have skills that are being lost with regard to forging, machining or otherwise creating ones own tools. All of this has raised a lot of questions, at least for me.

How can I build a coal forge in my back yard? (Someone please talk me down from this one. :blink:)

What's a Taig lathe and how is it different from a wood lathe? Can one lathe do both?

I was given an old Craftsman arc welder and accessories. What's the safest way to learn how to use it? Does it require hours of practice to get good enough to rely on my own welding for something like a mobile base?

Where can I learn more? What are good sources of supplies?

Hope to hear from some of you who have been doing this for a while and would be willing to pass down some wisdom and tradition. For those of you like me who want to soak up this info like a sponge let's hear your thoughts and questions too. Seems like a big subject, so why not start somewhere. :thumbsup:
I've been making homemade tools all my life. Often the tools I need are too expensive or don't exist. I've had a Craftsman stick welder for more than 25 years. It's not hard to teach yourself how to weld. The hardest part is getting the amperage of the welder matched with the welding rods you are using. Very often this information is given on the package of rods. Just remember you strike the rod like a match to get it going. I don't get into any work that uses a forge. I use cut and weld cold rolled steel. A few years ago I purchased a metal cutting band saw at harbor freight which has helped a lot. You can buy the steel and welding supplies at many box stores however it will be a lot more expensive. Most every town has a welding supply where you can get welding rods and there are steel yards in many different places which the steel is a lot cheaper.

A taig lathe is a small metal working lathe. If you are making small things you could use this for both. You just couldn't make a table leg on a taig lathe and you couldn't make a threaded rod on a wood lathe.

The picture is the latest thing I made. It takes the place of a feather brush on my wood shaper. Just some scrap steel and a couple of springs.
 

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I've had a Craftsman stick welder for more than 25 years. It's not hard to teach yourself how to weld. The hardest part is getting the amperage of the welder matched with the welding rods you are using. Very often this information is given on the package of rods. Just remember you strike the rod like a match to get it going.
+1 I learned to weld from my Dad on the farm, 35 years ago and it isn't as hard as some would make it seem, especially if you are just looking to make a mobile base or other small projects for use around the shop. I wouldn't advise any new welder to go out and try anything structural like a trailer, but with small projects the weld can look really ugly and still be strong enough for use. If you find a welding shop near you they may be willing to give a few lessons in exchange for your business, and many community colleges have welding classes as well. Or, find a neighbor who knows a little bit and give it a try.

Other than getting burned from hot steel or slag, there isn't much risk from welding assuming your cables are in good shape and you aren't welding while standing in water. Most of the welding I do is on dirt floor and I have no problems.

A good way to practice welding is to get some 1/4 inch material, cut it into small squares/strips and butt weld them together. Then take the piece, put it into a good metal working vise with the weld above the jaws and beat it with a 3# hammer until it either breaks at the weld or bends over. If you are running a good bead, none of them should break, they should bend over. Looking at the ones that break should give you a good idea of what is going wrong with the weld.

I also have a oxy/acetylene torch, so I wouldn't even think about a coal forge (although it would be neat to have:yes:). If you do some searching around, I think that there are forges that look and operate similar to a coal forge, but are fueled by LP. These would be a lot easier to fuel and probably easier to operate as well.
 

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This book has a ton of information.

Amazon.com: Make Your Own Woodworking Tools: Metalwork Techniques to Create, Customize, and Sharpen in the Home Workshop (9781565233065): Mike Burton: Books

If you want to try your hand at making cutting tools, it's a great place to start. I got some good information from it and I was a tool & die maker for over 30 years. This just gives a more at home approach.

As for welding, the money spent on a good (Miller for example) 110 volt wire welder will be one of the best investments for making shop repairs and building stands etc.
 

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Teaching yourself to weld can be done, but its so much faster and easier to get someone who welds to show you the tricks and set-ups. Mig prob. has the smallest learning curve, i've taught people to mig weld in an afternoon, not perfect mind you, but enough to get started. Get an auto-darkening helmet, that will help you starting out more than anything. Metal prep. is also important esp. with mig or tig. Stick welding needs to be done outdoors, or with good ventilation, it will stink and smoke-up your shop in a hurry. Avoid welding anything galvenized, its toxic, breathing it can be fatal. I would also advise buying a 220v machine if you plan on welding anything over 1/4" thick. Remember, your welds are the glue in the joint, not enough glue (not burned in well enough) and the joint will fail. Last piece of advice, don't ever try to weld without a helmet (eye protection) like you see all these bike builders do on T.V., you will get flash burned and its not fun.
 

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Awesome information guys! Don't need to find another slippery slope but I'd love to add skills as I can. Here's a pic of the welder I have. It is 220v. I've plugged it in and turned it on to hear it hum but nothing further. Don't have the manual and want to know what I'm doing.

Technology Machine Electronics Electronic device
 

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Can you find a model number. That welder looks a lot older than mine and a different model. I went to google images and found this one. It looks like the A side is for 115V and the B side is for 220V. It looks like the model number is 113-20103. The web site I found was http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=30973 Perhaps you can get more out of it. I'm on dial up internet and this site doesn't work very well for me.
 

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This book has a ton of information.

Amazon.com: Make Your Own Woodworking Tools: Metalwork Techniques to Create, Customize, and Sharpen in the Home Workshop (9781565233065): Mike Burton: Books

If you want to try your hand at making cutting tools, it's a great place to start. I got some good information from it and I was a tool & die maker for over 30 years. This just gives a more at home approach.

As for welding, the money spent on a good (Miller for example) 110 volt wire welder will be one of the best investments for making shop repairs and building stands etc.
$855.00...? Really? Paperback Edition?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Good eye Steve. It is indeed the venerable 113.20103. Here's the back panel. It's currently wired for 230 volts.

 

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I will put in a plug for the underdog of metal lathes- Atlas, or Atlas Craftsmen "Sears".
I would recomend a 12" swing, plain change gear model, with the Timken bearing headstock.
Because, they can be had cheap, they are much better then any small import, big enough to make most any woodworking tool on. And, even if you were careful, took your time, a no longer made table saw arbor could be cut out of good steel, and the left hand threads cut. I did that many years ago

Such an under dog, discussion on them is not allowed on the practical machinist site, but non the less, a useful machine, and a good one to get started on.

I know Southbend is considered better, but the price will be higher.

Here is a site from Tonys UK lathes with info on the old Atlas and many more machines.
http://www.lathes.co.uk/craftsman/page2.html
 

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That welder seems to be rare. I couldn't find any more on the internet. It's smaller than mine. At 90 amps max shouldn't use welding rods greater than 1/8". If you weld 1/4" material you have to go real slow with it to get a good weld. If there is not a dial on it somewhere than the ports is all you have to use different amperage levels. If this is the case than for most applications I would just plug your lead into the port below B Heat. It should give you 90 amps. If you were going to weld some thick sheetmetal with 1/16" welding rods you would probably use the port at the very bottom. Without a book it will just take a little guess work and tinkering. Just get some scrap steel and practice. Just remember you push the rod into the steel you are welding and pulling it back working in an oval motion. If you just lay the weld over the top it won't be very strong.
 

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$855.00...? Really? Paperback Edition?

:eek: Didn't catch that price when I posted. Got my copy at Barnes & Noble for $19.95. Some of the pricing on Amazon is totally ridiculous.

The book was published by Fox Chapel Publishing, maybe you can find it there.
 

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I'm limited to a Taig setup due to extreme space limitations. I'm right in downtown Chicago where a parking spot runs $30,000 and what little space I've repurposed in my flat is dedicated to wood.

Now is an awfully good time to be buying old, manual machine tools. Between industrial obsolescence with CNC and the general decline in manufacturing that's gone on over the past 30 years, several incredible old workhorses are being sold for scrap. This won't last forever and the market doesn't seem to be as rich with dirt cheap shop equipment as it was say 10 years ago, but its still out there.

We had a very industrious young man at our church who developed a natural interest in manufacturing without any formal training, taught himself the ropes with the internet. He borrowed some money from his parents to purchase a couple old machines that had come up for auction and promptly put them to work, making a *killing* by offering small parts fabrication services to local businesses. He quickly secured a contract to make a certain part for a nice sized product line, within a year, had paid his parents back, put 50% down on a home and paid cash for brand new F250. Last I heard, he had taken on a couple skilled hands as employees (twice his age :laughing: )

BennyBlanco mentioned, there were 'big money interests' who wanted to see manufacturing die in this country. They killed industrial education in schools. There is still opportunity in this world for a man with an entrepreneurial spirit and a good brain.
 

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This video, is just plain weird to me, I have never seen anything like this, or would have even thought of doing anything as stupid as this when I was young.
This kid could have been killed.
High school shop, kid vrs small gearhead lathe.

 
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