Author : Susan Arnold

15 posts

There is a warm, hospitable beauty that is unique to a country-style home. More than the inviting colors, fresh look, and happy atmosphere, there is energetic tranquility that courses through the home and welcomes anyone that steps inside. The ability to decorate is in itself a beautiful thing because it allows you to communicate yourself through the venue of your home. When you are decorating a country home, one of the tools that can help you communicate clearly is the use of wrought iron in your decorating scheme.

Decoration Ideas

There are many options for using wrought iron throughout the living areas of your house; one of these options is the use of wall hangings. Several different types of wall hangings can be considered, ranging from wall sconces that hold candles, to the decorative designs of wrought iron grilles and medallions that serve as three-dimensional pictures. You can also find wrought iron clocks and even shelving that is perfect for holding lightweight books, candles, or figurines. Hanging planters are great for adding both class and color to your décor, and coat and key holders are a practical addition as well as an attractive one. Little artistic iron keys are easy to find and look great hanging on iron key holders when suspended by a satin ribbon looped through the handle.

Curtain rods are a great subtle way to add wrought iron into your décor and can be used in any room. Another subtle accent can be the handles on your furniture-changing them to wrought iron as well will add a tone of delicate consistency throughout your home. If you have blankets you would like to display in a bedroom or living area, look for a wrought iron towel holder that is free standing. These have both utilitarian and aesthetic benefits. You might also look for basket tree, which looks like an actual iron tree with arms for hanging small, decorative baskets you wish to display. If you have a fireplace, be sure to choose a screen that incorporates wrought iron in its design, and try to find a matching fire tool set and log holder as well.

Small iron accessories can also be effective in country home décor. Delicate candle holders and platforms are classic and easy to find, and if you have a large picture to display, look for a wrought iron picture stand to hold it up. Lanterns, clocks, free standing crosses, and other figurines shaped from iron are easy to find in almost any decorating store, and look great on a shelf or table.

Accessories such as a hanging pot rack, chandelier, and wine rack can go a long way in carrying the country theme into the kitchen. Smaller pieces such as napkin and paper towel holders, cookbook stands, and soup spoon holders can be tied in as well. Wrought iron spice racks look great standing on the counter, and plate racks hung on the wall add a nice touch as well.

Wrought iron bathroom accessories such as a towel rack, toilet paper holder, and shower rod can tie in the country theme to your lavatory, and a simple accent such as a candle holder can contribute as well. If you have a garden or patio, consider adding a wrought iron table and chair set, along with a garden trellis or decorative fence that you can use to support a flowering vine. Window planters and hanging baskets are other great iron pieces that will help carry your theme outdoors.

Final Thoughts

Decorating your house with wrought iron is simple to do, as you have many options available to you, and they are all easy to find. Discount stores like WalMart and Target have plenty of wrought iron accessories, and stores like Kirklands and Garden Ridge will have a wide variety as well. Wrought iron is a great addition to a country home, and very effective in tying your stylistic theme effortlessly from room to room. The result will be a warm, hospitable house that you can’t help but love coming home to!

Anyone who has experience with fireplaces knows that burning wood directly on the floor of the fireplace doesn’t really work. A good fire needs good air circulation, so it’s almost imperative that the logs are lifted off the ground a few inches. There are many types of fireplace accessories out there that will solve this problem, although andirons are usually the best and most attractive option.

Using Wrought Iron Andirons

Many people use a traditional wrought iron log rack in their fireplace. They work well, they’re sturdy, and they can be nice to look at. Wrought iron andirons have one major advantage over fireplace racks, however. Since andirons are not attached to each other, you can move them closer or further apart from each other depending on the size of your logs.

Andirons have some major design advantages as well. Since they’re always made with tall front support beams, they can really become the focal point of your room. People’s eyes are always naturally attracted to the fireplace, and having beautiful wrought iron andirons framing your hearth can really look impressive.

There is one final benefit of using wrought iron andirons that many people never consider. Iron has the ability to absorb and retain quite a lot of heat. Even when your fire has gone out, your andirons will remain hot and will continue to heat the room. In this sense, they’re also great for energy conservation and for keeping your room warm for longer periods of time.

I have an ’89 F-250 with an externally regulated alternator. I researched weldernator conversions and I wanted to get some first-hand experience before I altered my charging system. I collected some parts and built an alternator welder powered by a lawnmower (see my blog for details). It worked well enough for me to justify converting my F-250.

Modification Process

I picked up a large project box from Radio Shack, a double-throw switch, an automotive battery disconnect switch, a choke/throttle cable, and a 200 volt DC gauge from eBay. I had some 6 gauge wire, jumper cables, 110v outlet, and a 60 amp winch disconnect plug laying around the garage. I made my welding cables from the 6 gauge wire. I used the jumper cable clamps for the ground and electrode clamps. I used some scrap 5/16″ copper tubing to make some butt connectors to attach the wire to the winch plug.

I fitted the volt gauge, outlet, and double-throw (DT) switch into the project box. I used the studs on the volt gauge as the junction for all of the wires. The battery disconnect switch breaks the connection between the alternator and the battery to prevent overcharging. The center post of the DT switch is wired to the “field” post on the alternator. One of the remaining switch posts is connected to 12v+ and the other post is connected to the “field” wire from the voltage regulator. The switch allows you to bypass the voltage regulator and full-field the alternator by sending 12 volts to the field post on the alternator.

Most guys use welding disconnects to attach the wire to the control box, but I had the winch plug so I used it. I was going to use welding ground clamps and electrode holders, but I wanted to be able to reverse the polarity if needed. The welding plug prevents me from plugging the wires in backward so I used the jumper cable claps as the ground and electrode holder. They can easily be switched from ground to electrode and the price was right (free).

The 110v outlet is wired to the positive and negative posts on the back of the volt gauge. It can be used to power a 110v AC tool that has brushes (saws all, grinder, drill, etc). It can also power anything that uses a transformer like a cell phone charger and incandescent light bulbs. The choke/throttle cable is needed to bump up the engine rpm and generate the voltage needed for welding or operating the power tools. I swapped my large alternator pulley for the smallest one I could find. It spins the alternator faster and lets me keep the engine rpm’s lower while welding. I upgraded the positive wire from the alternator to a 6 gauge wire. It runs to the positive post on the volt gauge where it connects to the positive side of the winch plug, 110v outlet, and the battery disconnect switch. The battery disconnect switch is connected to the positive side of the battery. The negative side of the volt gauge is connected to the alternator with a 6 gauge wire. It’s also connected to the negative side of the 110v outlet and the negative side of the winch plug.

How to Use it

The first step to using the welder is to turn off the battery disconnect switch separating the battery from the alternator. Plug in your welding leads and flip the DT switch from charging to welding. Pull the choke cable until the engine reaches the desired rpm’s. My large body Ford alternator generates about 70 volts at 2,000 RPMs. I get good penetration in 1/4″ steel at that setting with a 3/32″ 7018 rod. I was worried about overloading the 6 gauge wire and the winch plug, but they were not hot after burning through 3 rods. The alternator was warm but did not seem to be too hot. Make sure to switch back to charging mode before you reconnect the battery to the alternator.

If you have an alternator with an internal voltage regulator or do not want to modify your charging system you can add a bracket for a Ford alternator to your engine. You can search the junkyard for a bracket to modify or make one from scratch. If you do not have room under the hood you can simply remove the second alternator when you are done welding and store it inside the vehicle.

For cabinetry with a more hand-made look, many people choose to use wrought iron hardware and accessories. While wrought iron may not be the most durable of materials, many people are drawn to the rustic look and feel of it. Wrought iron provides a medium for many artists, so if you are looking for handmade, one of a kind items, wrought iron is a good place to start.

Because wrought iron has the propensity to rust over time, make sure to choose a durable lacquer or finish when selecting hardware made of this material. Some may choose to pursue the darker traditional look, letting the true color of the iron shine through with the aid of a protective coating. Others may opt for a color lacquer, with will also protect the metal against damaging moisture.

What is so Special With Wrought Iron

Decorative hinges are easy find when seeking out this particular material, largely due to the history of the material itself. There are actually three types metal that are classified as wrought iron, yet only two of these materials are actually true iron. Charcoal iron was the original version of wrought iron, and was the metal of choice for blacksmiths before the eighteenth century.

During the nineteenth century, technology was made to improve the strength and malleability of iron, whereby puddle iron was created. When you come across genuine antique wrought iron hardware, it is most likely made of puddle iron. Because the consistency of this iron was easier to control, more decorative accents could be included within the hinge and handle design.

Finally, most new wrought iron hardware is actually made of mild steel, as it has recently replaced puddle iron in the hardware industry. While this material does tend to be stronger than traditional wrought iron, it also tends to corrode and has a shorter life span. However, despite this shortfall, mild steel’s strength and consistency has given wrought iron hardware a broader range of options in style and design.

Wrought iron is currently one of the most popular types of indoor decor for walls, but it is just as trendy outdoors. Beautiful works of sculpted art that include colorful glass accents are available for the yard. They are absolutely stunning, and they are a giant step up from plastic geese, cast resin bunnies, spinning daisies and other cheap types of yard decor. They last much longer too.

I prefer wrought iron over cast resin or ceramic yard decor. I have a few beautiful pieces in my yard, and I want to add more. However, overdoing yard decorations can cheapen the landscape no matter the theme or style. I choose my wrought iron decor wisely, and I creatively place it in my yard. I arrange glass and metal pieces where they will pick up sunlight, and I use flowers to provide a natural background.

Consider a Wrought Iron Post and Glass Ball Arrangement

I love glass gazing balls, but I do not like the typical methods of display. I prefer wrought iron posts and wraps over birdbath bases for exhibiting glass gazing balls. I have been displaying the same iridescent blue and purple glass gazing ball for years, and I have since added two iridescent green and blue gazing balls. I arrange them in a trio, and they look fantastic near the corner of my porch.

Decorate the Yard with a Beautiful Wrought Iron and Glass Sunburst

Some of the latest and greatest wrought iron and glass works of art are sunbursts. Without a doubt, they glimmer brilliantly in the sunlight. I would like to create an arrangement of wrought iron and glass sunbursts in another area of my yard. A sunny area is the best location. They are available in a rainbow of beautiful colors, and the wrought iron is just as gorgeous as the glass.

Add Wrought Iron Sculptures to the Landscape

Wrought iron sculptures add beauty and style to the landscape, and they can be quite beautiful. I found a highly detailed wrought iron sculpture of a crane. I also liked a trio of metal Siamese cats. However, when I decorate my yard I prefer to stick to a specific theme or style. Choose your favorite theme and style, and do not overdo it. A few high-quality pieces are much better than several cheaper items in any yard.

Blacksmithing is a 3,500-year-old profession. Blacksmiths were working on metal projects as far back as the Bronze Age. In the past, blacksmiths had to rely on manpower to get the job done, but nowadays, industrial blacksmithing power hammers are helping to make the work much more efficient.

Significance

The Blacksmithing profession has come a long way from manual labor to a more automated process. Blacksmiths no longer have to toil long hours over the same slab of metal; industrial blacksmithing power hammers now make the job easier. Additionally, metalworking products are of superior quality compared to what was produced in the past.

History

Blacksmiths have been around since the beginning of modern civilization. In fact, the blacksmith profession can be traced back to the Bronze Age (about 3000-1500 BC). Blacksmiths were the toolmakers and manufacturers of their time. They were responsible for constructing tools, weapons, and machinery out of bronze, steel, and iron. There were also decorative and architectural blacksmiths who made gates, fences, and artistic pieces.

When completing these projects in the past, Blacksmiths had to rely on pure manpower; they had to hammer steel and iron by hand. This is why many blacksmiths had to be strong and able-bodied.

Luckily, today there are industrial blacksmithing power hammers available for metalworking projects.

Benefits

Compared to elbow grease, industrial blacksmithing power hammers have a lot to offer modern blacksmiths in the way of convenience and ease of use.

There are two main types of blacksmith power hammers: mechanical hammers and air hammers. Mechanical hammers use a crankshaft to power the machine, while air hammers are powered by air cylinders. These motorized hammers can deliver up to 500 pounds of force. The additional power allows modern blacksmiths to bend metal more accurately. You can easily adjust and move the metal you are working on, which helps shape the entire metal piece with greater precision. For example, if you need the metal to bend at a sharper angle in a certain place, you can set your blacksmithing hammer accordingly. So all in all, you will get a better quality product when you use a power hammer.

Challenges

There are a few downsides to industrial blacksmithing power hammers. For one, these hammers are much more complicated to use as compared to a regular hammer. With the basic hammers Blacksmiths previously used, all that was required was a good grip on the handle and some manpower.

But you have to be trained to use an industrial blacksmithing power hammer because there are many settings to navigate. Also, a power hammer is a dangerous tool; you have to be sure that you are taking every safety precaution when using one of these machines.

A lot can go wrong when welding and metal fabrication is involved. Let’s watch a real incident that I personally saw.

The Incident

As I drove toward Morton, IL to go to my weight loss group, I could see huge billows of smoke rolling into the air. I was still in Washington, IL, and heading toward whatever was on fire. I assumed it was in the commercial area of Morton to be throwing smoke in such huge amounts.

As I got closer and closer, I could see that it was Morton Welding that was on fire, and I was astonished at the amount of black smoke that was being thrown from the building. The traffic was moving at a crawl so I had the opportunity to snap some photos of the smoke. As I got to where I could see the fire itself, the flames looked like they were shooting 100 feet in the air. It was approximately 6:15 pm that I drove by.

The traffic was horrible and I was astonished at the number of people that were pulled alongside the road and standing outside of their cars just watching this scene.

The fire began at approximately 5:50 pm on Thursday evening. Reportedly, a pile of plastic pallets had caught on fire, then caused several propane tanks to explode. I have never learned how these pallets caught fire in the first place. Still, protection is vital when it comes to metal fabrication. Employees said that the blasts were so large that they could feel them rumble the building.

Thankfully, all of the second shift employees escaped unharmed. Morton Welding employs approximately 500 people in the facility, and approximately 130 people were working on that shift.

The damage to the building was not as bad as it could have potentially been. The exterior metal was melted by the heat of the flames. After a few hours, the employees returned back to work, and only a handful of night-shift employees weren’t able to work that evening due to damage.

It could have been a terrible loss to Morton had the fire been worse. The company has been in this town for 40 years and makes parts for such large companies as Caterpillar and John Deere. We are thankful that no one was seriously hurt and that it was under control quickly!

My husband was brave enough to share his experience in tig welding with me. He is not the most patient person, but he does enjoy showing me what skills he has acquired when he can slow me down enough to teach me. Sometimes being asked to step into the man’s world is a benefit for the relationship. I know I was impressed at how much he was able to convey to me in such a short time, which didn’t even touch the amount of knowledge he has to carry around in his brain on a daily basis!

So, from a woman’s point of view, an amateur welder by far, and from the perspective of a wife, here is what I learned about tig welding in one afternoon! Although I was proud of the courage I showed to give it a try, I was still amazed at how something can look so simple but require so much thought. My list is not necessarily in the proper order.

1. Argon comes in mixes. The best tig weld to be had requires 100% Argon gas.
2. Know how to hook up the Argon.
3. Know how and when to sharpen the tungsten. The tungsten is the metal piece that you strike to begin and continue welding.
4. Know how to strike your tungsten.
5. If you have no Argon gas, it will burn up your tungsten.
6. Know how to keep your tungsten from sticking to your metal.
7. Know how to hold your torch.
8. Wear your gloves to protect your hands from accidental injury (burns included).
9. The cup comes in different sizes. The cup is the sleeve around your tungsten.
10. The cup gets very hot.
11. Know how to ground.
12. Hook up the lead to the positive side of a tig/arc welder for tigging so that the Argon gas can flow.
13. Know how and when to adjust your temperature.
14. Know how to turn on your welder.
15. Know how to grind your welds to clean the rough edges.
16. Know how and when to use filler rods.
17. Filler rods come in different sizes.
18.ALWAYS wear your welding helmet.
19. The best welding helmet is adjustable for the size of your head and has an auto-darkening lens.
20. Know how to change your lens should it become necessary.

Let it be noted that while I definitely would require much, much more practice before I could claim any positive achievements in this field, I still very much enjoyed what I learned and observed. Thanks to my husband and to all those welders (male or female) out there who make this skill a part of their lives to help provide something useful for our world.

By taking what is considered one of the most intricate manufacturing processes and automating it, companies can increase efficiency of output at a lower cost, to keep profit margins higher and sustain better levels of quality. This article will explain the benefits of hard automation.

Traditionally, most manufacturing companies in the business of assembling parts have taken great pains to automate the factory floor, but have failed to address the welding process. In some cases, manual welding is still required. However, in many cases these days, most welding processes can be automated, given the advancements in software, tools, and technologies that support it.

Important Factors

The key to knowing if welding automation applies to a process relies on some key considerations:

  • · Is the quality or function of the weld critical in the final piece? If so, these are the applications that benefit most from automation.
  • · If repetitive welds are required on identical parts.
  • · If parts have collected a great deal of value before welding.

Some examples that are perfect candidates for automated welding are:

  • · Capacitor Cans
  • · Valve Elements
  • · Batteries
  • · Sensors
  • · Pipe Fittings
  • · Medical Components
  • · Fuel Filters

Automating the welding portion of the assembly for these types of items bring costs down, increase quality and consistency, and decrease waste.

The overall quality of a weld consists of weld integrity and repeatability. Using automated welding systems, like that offered in orbital welding machines, yields integrity through automated weld process controllers that consistently apply the correct amount of weld on every application, for every part.

Efficiency and output increases when welding is performed by machines. They can be tuned to weld to exacting standards, which is oftentimes not attainable on a consistent and long-term basis through manual welding. Automatic and semi-automatic systems remove the human factor from welding to increase production rates.

Human factor and errors are also removed by automation of the torch and any moving parts. Automation guarantees each weld is like the one before it. The same consistency, the same application rate, and the weld only occurs if all requirements are met. Humans tend to overlook small inadequacies and weld over them. Machines will not do this, which means results will be consistent and less product will be scrapped as waste, another savings in cost.

Most semiautomatic systems can produce, at a minimum, twice the output of a skilled welder with quality results. Machines also are on duty when you need them. If workers are unable to come in, you lose production rates, unless you can find skilled replacements. Finding skilled workers has become more challenging. However, finding a core set of skilled welders who can operate automated machinery is an easier goal to reach, which makes automated welding an option that bears increased cost-savings.

Conclusion

It is always important to remember that automation does not always guarantee profitability. The welding process being automated must fit the criteria for automation in order to yield desired results. Taking care to study and analyze what you plan to automate before making the investment will help you make the most of your investment dollar, and achieve greater profitability.

 

Blacksmithing requires many tools that help the blacksmith make objects from metal. Many wonderful items are made by a blacksmith like gates, horseshoes, and plant hangers. The metal is heated and pounded into the desired shape. Hammers, tongs, and files are some of the tools used by a blacksmith.

Most blacksmith tools are made of iron but some have wooden handles on them. These wood handles need to be kept clean. You can keep them clean by taking a clean soft rag and soaking it in some tongue oil. The tongue oil cleans and conditions the wood to keep the wood moist. If the wood gets too dry it can split or crack and ruin wood. A wood handle that is not cleaned and oiled will eventually need to be replaced and that can be more costly and time-consuming than keeping it clean in the first place.

Protection from Corrosion

Hammers, tongs, and other metal parts need to be oiled as well. The metal can rust even if it is kept in a dry place. Humidity can create rust on the metal in the best conditions and it can make the tools less desirable to use. If the rust is allowed to get too bad it can destroy the tool. To prevent your tools from getting rusty you need to coat them with a thin layer of oil to protect them. You can take a soft rag that has some tongue oil on it and rub it on the metal parts. Make sure you only spread a very thin layer of oil on the metal and then rub the tool with a soft dry absorbent rag to soak up any remaining oil. Let the tool air dry for a few hours before you use it.

Tools that get wet should be dried off as soon as possible to prevent the metal from forming rust. You can use a soft cotton rag to soak up the moisture and let the tool air dry completely before storing or oiling the tool

Blacksmithing tools should be kept in a dry place. The less moisture that the tools are stored in the better the tools will keep from rusting. You can hang the tools on a wall so air can get all around the tools. You can also keep them in a dry toolbox until you are ready to use them.

Conclusion

Those were some of the most important methods that you can use. Take good care of your tools so you can enjoy forming hot metal for years.

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