Farm Blacksmithing

by J.M.Drew St. Paul Publishing Company 1918


Machine made chains are so cheap that no farm blacksmith can afford to make his own, but he will often be called upon to mend chains and supply missing or broken hooks and rings. To make a link, take a piece of 3/8 inch rod, heat about three inches from the end, and bend so as to form the letter "U" Fig. 8. Now cut off on the hardy, so that both legs of the 'U' shall 'be of the same length about three inches. Then holding the bent part with a pair of chain tongs, heat the two ends and scarf, flatten, the inside corner of the left one. Now turn over and scarf the corresponding corner of the other leg. In doing this scarfing, do not flatten the whole end, as this would make the end of the link too thin. Simply flatten the inside corners a little. Next, bend the two legs so that the flattened or scarfed places shall come together and the ends cross each other at right angles. You are now ready to make your first weld. When iron is at welding heat it is perfectly white and the surface is in a melted condition. It. presents the appearance of wet ice or snow,-exactly like a hard snowball that a boy has held for some time in his warm hands.

Making a Chain Figure 8

To get the end of the link to the required heat, hold it in the center of the fire, there should be burning coke both above and below it, and turn it over every few seconds to make sure of heating both sides alike. If it were held still in the fire the bottom side would burn before the top got hot enough to weld. When you have it at the right heat place it quickly upon the anvil and strike first on one side and then on the other. Do not strike a single blow after the iron gets below a welding heat, as that would only make the iron thinner without doing the weld any good. Finish off the weld over the horn of the anvil. Try to make the welded part round and the same size as the balance of the link. Your link will now be too wide at one end. To shape it properly hold as at d in Fig. 8, and strike in the place shown by the arrow. Beginners often make the mistake of holding the link flat on its side when trying to shape it. The result is always something like the shape shown at f. The correct shape is shown at 6. After a little practice one should be able to make a link with only two, or at most, three heats.

The greatest difficulty with most beginners consists in getting the iron to a welding; heat without burning. The great majority try to weld before the iron is hot enough. The only safe way is to watch carefully and take the iron from the fire the moment the surface begins to flow and look wet. If you wait until the sparks begin to fly, the iron will be burning. With large irons no harm will be done if a few sparks are seen; but with small irons, and especially with mild steel, this is just beyond the danger line.