John Crouchet on Fly Presses
John uses his fly press virtually every day in his professional forge. He is able to turn out first class work and he is able to offer one of a kind, hand made products at reaonable prices, because of the productivity gains that the fly press, uniquely offers. There is no banging around or chasing hot steel trying to get your chisel in the groove or staying on the edge of a work piece when beveling the edge. Just nice smooth bumps with the fly press handle. After striking the workpiece the fly press will rebound the tool back up, so it doesn't suck all of the heat out of your stock like a hydraulic press does.
John makes most of his tooling with electric motor shaft collars on round stock that goes up into the fly press tooling hole in the ram. He then tig welds on S7 or H-13 or mild steel to the tools he makes. Fullers, chisels, slitters, bending jigs, surface texturing tools are all used by John to turn out his beautiful ironwork.
Below are some example of the tools John brought to Ironfest in Grapevine, TX this past June. John put on an amazing demonstration of what the fly press can do for your shop. He demonstrated how you can increase your productivity dramatically, while maintaining the hand crafted look of steel worked with blacksmith tooling. You will never get a machine made look to your work with a fly press, because you use the same tooling and tool geometry as you would use in a hand tool. What this means to you is that you can get four or five times the amount of work in an hour with a fly press than you can by using hand tools. Because the fly press allows you to index your work with a guide in the horizontal plane and in the vertical plane your work is accurate and precise.
I've included some photos of the tooling the John uses in is shop and a photo of a sign holder he made for a customer who needed a high quality product, but was on a very tight budget. The fly press' productivity allowed John to price this sign holder at a price that the customer could afford, without sacrificing the quality of the product. The old rusty rail road car background detracts from the beauty of the sign holder, but I think it gives you an idea of what a person can do with a fly press.
The tooling below is just a small sample of the kinds of tools that can be quickly and easily made for the amazing productivity gains that you will realize when you have an Old World Anvil's fly press in your shop.
Most of the bends in the sign were done cold and much of the chiseling was also done cold. The large round forms in the leaves were made with a tool that has a ball bearing on the end. This tool can be seen in the photos below.
John's Contact Information for Fly Press Demonstrations:
If you're looking for an artist/blacksmith to show you or your ABANA club how a fly press can be help you get more work out the door in less time shop and expand your market for new customers who can't afford work that isn't made on a fly press, contact John for a demonstration:
Sycamore Creek Forge
5828 FM 1431 East
Marble Falls, TX