Lesson II – The Sledge and the Fire

The Sledge

The right use of the sledge is important. The helper should stand in front of the smith and anvil, and not to one side. When we see a helper standing either at the butt or the horn-end of the anvil, we know that he has not received the first lesson in striking.

Correct Position

In Europe it is customary to hold the sledge so that the handle will be under the arm,—the right or left, as the case may be. In this position, it is impossible to strike hard or endure, for the helper must first put one arm around to the other side, which is an unnatural position.

Swinging the Sledge. Incorrect Position.

Let the apprentice take hold of the sledge handle in such a manner that the hind hand will hold at the extreme end of -the handle, and the fore hand slide up and down as it best suits, to make the work easy. See Fig. 3. Another position must be taken in swinging the sledge. The apprentice should take hold of the extreme end of the sledge with both hands, and let the sledge describe a perpendicular circle. After the sledge has struck the iron on the anvil, it should drop straight down to the floor. See Fig. 4A.

Correct SwingingThe Fire

A poor smith makes a poor fire, and a poor fire makes a poor weld, and a poor weld makes a poor job. It is a fact that very few smiths have learned the art of making a good fire. First clean out all clinkers and cinders; then take some shavings and set them on fire; let them burn well down; then take a handful of dry, small green or fresh coal, and sprinkle this on top of the almost burned down shavings; now start the blast, but blow lightly, as a strong blast would blow out the fire; now add some coke, and, on top of that, wet coal; then pack them tightly together. This will make the coal solid, and prevent the fire from spreading. Another way is to place a wooden block the size of the fire wanted on the tuyer, and pack around it wet coal; then pull out the block, and start the fire in this hole. If the flame is of a yellow color, look out, for then the fire is not fit for welding. If the fire smells of sulphur, it is also a poor fire. When the fire spreads out too wide, and you notice a lot of fine coal dust or grains in the fire, ‘it is also a poor fire.

Buffalo Blower

Do not let the fire grow hollow or empty, for the wind will then blow directly on the iron, causing it to scale. This is termed “oxidizing fire.” Too much wind will in every case produce an oxidizing fire. When the blast or air comes in contact with hot iron, it forms oxide or scales. Much oxide makes a rough surface, and prevents fusing. Make the fire large enough. Many smiths are too saving with the coal. The iron to be heated is almost in touch with the tuyer. The result is that it will not heat, but produce scales. Let the fire be so deep that the iron to be heated rests from three to eight inches from the tuyer, with plenty of coke between. If the fire has a tendency to spread and grow large, it is because the coals are in large pieces or poorly packed. In either case, pack the fire and keep it wet by sprinkling water around it. Good coal, of course, is another requisite for a good fire. Good blast is also essential. Buffalo Forge Co., Buffalo, N. Y., makes the best blowers, as well as many other tools and machines which I shall mention later.

I used to think that the old-fashioned bellows could not be beat for blast, because many of the so-called blowers failed to be what was promised from them, but we now have a blower that blows, and does it easy. Every smith who needs a hand blower should have a “Buffalo Hand Blower No. 200.” This is the easiest blower I know of. I cheerfully recommend it to every smith. I don’t know how many bellows the different apprentices in my emolny exploded, but it was quite a number. The “Buffalo Blower” is “fool proof”; it can’t be exploded. Ask your dealer for it.

Buffalo Noiseless Blower

In Fig. 5A, a modern steel plate forge and blower, the Buffalo, is shown. This forge is portable; can be placed blast is to supply several forges, the “Buffalo Steel Pressure Blower, Noiseless,” should be used.

Downdraft Forge

Fig. 5C is the latest invention in down-draft forges. In these forges the smoke is sucked down by the draft, and chimneys are done away with. Fig. 5D is another forge or furnace for heavy work under steam hammers, or when many pieces at a time are to be heated.

Buffalo Forge