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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by dancho

  1. True! The only thing I am not enjoing to work with a striker any more but became I striker myself while my Sweetheart holding the workpiece and moving and tilting it properly. We both enjoy it. I work with my 5 kg sledge like with an ordinary hammer with so many opportunities I never had with a striker (they are all bastards who tend to kill me :) ). She is having fun in the smithy still staying tender and delicate I want her to be. But that's diffrent subject. We need to start another topic about working with two or more hands. And about the role of women in the forge :wub:
  2. Hello Owen! Nice to hear you! Well in short making you own anvil involves: 1. Lots of hand work and time. 2. Finding the right foundry to work with. The biggest problem is to get good face quality. I am not really familar with the process of casting. What they do there is a mystery for me. As I said I simply made models and then took the castings to work with. What really makes sense before the grinding, filing and heat treatment is to heat the surface and hammer it to create the forged texture. It really makes difference for the perfomance and this is something you never get on ordinary factory anvil. It is turned into somewhat forged anvil instead of simply cast.
  3. Thank you ! Yes I also percieve it as magic. Actually this is the only way I percieve blacksmithing in whole and that's why I am still in no matter how tried to escape to ecological science. It is a kind of magic and we never able to understand and exlpain it completely. I think you meant convex top insted of concave. It might be as you put it but I still feel it is not about maximazing the force but rather feeling the strike point better and having the ability to tilt both the hammer and workpeice properly in accordance with the flow of metal. I can definetely afford any size of anvil (up to 300 kg) if needed one but I found I do not. Actually the heaviest work (forging a 3 kg hammer from 50 mm round) I do on that small anvil while actively use the ordinary shape anvil for general artistic forging works when I need hardie and round holes and big flat surface. To put in short I use my stake convex anvil when I FORGE in its true sense meaning I sculp the metal like clay in hands. The effiecincy of the strike reception I think comes rather not from the top but from the bottom of the anvil -- the way it set up. In ordinary anvil (no matter how heavy it is) the energy of blow might spread over the surface of anvil stand (stump) while in the stake anvil is concentrated into the stand and directed to the Earth turning the last one into your GREAT ANVIL. I think that my biggest design input and real upgrade was to use the metal shape pipe for the anvil seat instead of wood stump with slot as it was traditionally used in old times. The metal pipe really improved the efficiency since I made it working like a pile in architecture. It is long and has a thick plate underneath. My explanation of course can be discussed but the fact is the fact. The 27 kg anvil of ordinary shape is a toy. 27 kg stake anvil on metal pile is a powerfull tool you can do almost anything.
  4. Bentiron1946' Thank you very much! You put in words many thoughts I had but couldn't formulate.
  5. But mostly I make blacksmiths. :) Some of them turn out to be quite good. Maybe better that me.
  6. It was actually born as a hammer to forge axes. During last 10 years I was involved closely with reconstructing ancient russian axe of 10 century AD which once sroke me with its beauty in our historical museum in Kiev. I felt that in order to get these shapes I need a different hammer. So I started to look at the old pictures of blacksmithing process and found that many of them were long and and tilted downwards. I made my self a sort of one from ordinary hammer (just drawn it a bit and bent). It was very uncomfortable at first. But the next week I got used and found I got more posibilities. Then real evolution started. I observed what happened and made changes. And finally it just came out naturally. It wasn't really a brain work. Something like taking the sand off from what actually already exists. I even probably cannot claim these hammers are mine honestly. Of course I use it not only for the axes. It is good for everything what I make. Knives, hammers. candle holders, -- anything which inolves big degree of controlled deformation. Being a researcher I honestly tried to return to srort straight hammer to check what is going on. No, I cannot work any more with it. Either these long ones realy create more oppportunities or it just human body which is getting used to anything. But as these hammers were once a standard I might suspect the first. I highly distrust industrial times in terms of improving quality of forging. Quantity -- yes but not quality.
  7. Yes, Francis Trez Cole, you are right . Thank you. The anvil on that picture was a bit low. It was temporar arrangement when we experimented with set up but I liked the picture. Usually my anvil is 7 cm or so higher.
  8. Bogdan Popov’s hammer is a result of many years experiments with free hand forging tools. It combines the most appropriate, from the author’s point of view, features of the ancient hammers. The main idea, embodied in the hammer, is a tool, which creates maximum opportunities specifically for free hand forging, that is directly shaping the metal without any additional in between tools. The ends of the hammer have distinctive pitch downwards, which was inherent to many ancient striking tools( hammers and axes) beginning from Stone Age. This feature improves the efficiency due to bringing the strike point nearer to the centre of gravity of the hammer, which is located a little bit lower that metal head taking into account the weight of the handle as well. A little bit elongated ends, compared to regular hammers, help to efficiently control the stroke angle, as well as providing more access to less open parts of the workpiece. Meanwhile the surface area of the ends is left comparatively large due to the presence of necks – a narrowing between the eye and the ends. The flat end, in contrast to mainstream hammers, doesn’t have cants on sides and consequently the corners are left intact, which can be used in various techniques. Along with that, one of the flat end edges is canted, which used efficiently for drawing or forming steps. The peen end, compared to regular hammers, is significantly blunted (has bigger radius). Apart from that the peen end has some radius (similar to the radius of flat end) in the other plane (perpendicular to the handle), which makes moving the metal in needed direction maximally fast and precise. The ends of the hammer are zone hardened and tempered to the depth approximately 1 cm, which almost eliminates the crack possibilities in the eye or neck zone. The eye has side projections up and down, which gives more contact area with the handle and consequently firmer fixation. The handle is fixed in the head in a self-wedge way, that is bottom part is passed through the upper part of the eye and then handle is self wedged firmly due to enlargement of its upper end. However the handle can be pulled back from the handle very quickly which is very handy when carrying the hammers somewhere as well as replacing the broken handle. This way of handle fixation is still standard for striking tools in the Carpathian Mountains and it practically eliminates the chances of the head flying off the handle (which is possible with regular fixation of the handle with steel wedge). In heavier versions of the hammer (2.5- 3 kg) a changeable long handle can be used, which transforms the hammer into a little sledge hammer. The hammer handle has in cross section a shape of a circle trimmed from the sides. This configuration was typical for ancient preindustrial hammers and it is still preserved in Asian forging hammers (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan). The hammer is completely hand forged without use of power hammer. The ends are slightly ground to get the final shape. The material for the hammer head is carbon steel (about 0.6 percent of carbon). There is also a version where ends made of carbon steel and forge welded to the main body made of soft iron. The weight of the head can vary from 300 g to 2.5 kg.
  9. Some year ago my friend while cycling in Middle Asia made this picture of Uzbek smiths. Look. Their anvil is made from steel railaroad bumper (mushroom shape which is seen between carriages). It is convex. I heard that 50 yers ago in Uzbekistan all the anvils were like mine realtively small and convex
  10. Well, I wouldn't say modern flat anvils are that bad. After all it is the hammering skills that matter most not the anvil. But you are right -- this convex shape gives you feeling more like modeling metal by hands. I would say it is good to have both anvils in the shop. For general artist smithing big flat one is OK but when comes for heavy sculpturing relatively small pieces (like axe or hammer maybe) the small convex one I think better.
  11. I ask myself the same question about why it is forgotten today! The reason why convex top is good I think about the same why the hammer face is convex and not flat like a set hammer. Actually now after several years of forging on these conex anvils when I come back to flat ones I get this feeling --like forging with flat face hammer. With convex shape you realy FEEL the strike point not only with the hammer but with the anvil too. I can't really explain it. You should feel it. It seems like in many ways during industrial times (200 years ago) anvils while got bigger and versatile (holes and such) lost something. Same about hammers, same about axes.
  12. I do not have much experince with making models apart from these anvils but I gues it will be OK for sculptures. I take dense polystyrol from building markets (it is usually rose or kind of yellow -rose colour). It is sold in sheets 4 cm thick which I glue together and then cut with one of my own forged knives. Then I use sand paper to get the final shape. Probably there is a better method (like using hot stirng to cut) but I use simplest. White polystyrol with big grains doesn't work that well -- tends to brake though you can get it in big thick pieces.
  13. Yes Beth, your thoughts closely reremble mine in terms of tools scale relating to human body. Also you said very well about direct contact with metall through hand tools. I feel very much the same. Power hammer is great but it will not do what hands will do . I understood this very well when started to research ancient ruusian axe making. Only hands. Even the hammers which you see on the picturea still have to be forged mostly by hands. Power hammer is strong but does only very simple work. The idea behind my search fro the right tool was always how to fit blacksmithing in to natural environment. I call this approach "light blacksmithing". I want to be light and free and do my free forging with the light and free tools.
  14. Thank you Beth! This is very pleasant to hear. I tried to make the shape according to my ideas of ethtetics as well as function. Yes I did this anvil myself and a a dosen of others for my brothers and sisters in fire. I make models from polystyrol and bring them to foundries, then grind, heat treat , polish and make setteing pipes. of ancient The hammers were also my revision of ancient long bent forging hammer. But I will start a separate topic about them and tell a little bit more later. Let's discuss first the anvil. I woul like just to share that these both ancient and modern tools tought me a good lesson how small and simple tools can be very effective.
  15. Special Bogdan Popov’s anvil is made after ancient stake anvils samples and revised according to author’s experience in the art of free hand forging. The face has convex surface which was an obligate feature of ancient anvils. The horn has egg-shape cross section to provide the additional opportunities for free hand forging ( speed up drawing, forming steps, notches etc.). The face corner pieces close to the horn are rounded, while the opposite one are left sharp. The edges of the face parallel to the horn have varying curvature radius. The face edge opposite to the horn is sharp (there are options with notches). All this features taken in whole make up a precise tool, which gives opportunity to solve almost every task, especially those associated with tool and blade forging or forge welding. The anvil is cast of tool carbon steel by evaporative model method. Each model is custom made by hands . After casting and recrystalisation annealing, the anvil surface is ground, polished and then zone hardened and tempered. Parameters of the base anvil model: Face 120x150 mm Height 240 mm Horn length 180 mm Wight 27 kg Face hardness 58 HRC Depending on specific requirement the anvil could be produced in smaller or bigger weight and size, while preserving the basic proportions. Setting up the anvil The anvil is set into specially forged pipe, which is dug into the ground and placed upon the thick steel plate ( there is also an option with a short sized pipe which is set upon the plate on the ground level). The above ground part of the pipe is fixed in the 23 section of steel drum which is filled with earth (stones, sand) and then wedged on the top by wooden wedges. This set up creates the following advantages: Self wedging of the anvil in the precisely formed steel pipe seat Low noise level during the work Maximum connection of the anvil with the Earth Lateral stability Use of the above ground drum support as the tool table or additional working surface When necessary the anvil can be very quickly pulled from the seat and converted to transport position or simply taken for safe storage (for instance during night). Due to this set up method the anvil makes possible to forge relatively massive work pieces (up to 5 kg) almost completely providing for the needs associated with free hand forging). At the same time its small wight makes it possible to bring the anvil anywhere starting from carrying in hands and completing with air luggage. It is worth to mention the low ecological impact of the anvil, since its small weight means less resources were used for production (metal and energy) as well as less pollution was created. Transporting the anvil In transport position, the anvil is inserted in the setting pipe (short length is used)) and turned upside down. The wheels are fastened to the anvil and handle is fixed to the bottom of setting pipe. In this position the anvil is easily carted around even for relatively big distances. Optionally the anvil without setting pipe can be carried in strong double canvas bag.
  16. Well, the festival is quite famous. There is a lot about it here on this forum at As for the forge -- I would say there is not much function apart the one for the festival show. It is hard to employ 6 people permanently unless you have slaves (like I suppose it was in Egypt original ones) I think it can be also good for education projects and such. The idea was to show the possibilities of human body and team work. And this was definetely successful. This year in Ivano Frankovsk festival(May 7-8) we probably repeat the demonstration. Welcome to Ukraine!
  17. The wind forge with drum control as shown at Ivano Frankovsk blaksmith festival 2010. Six to eight people operating in turns and conducted by the drum beat provide steady blow for the char coal ceramic forge. 40 mm thick bar takes 10 minutes to heat Quite fun and some people even get high from hyperventilation if trying too much. Idea: Bogdan Popov Realization: Sergiy Kariy
  18. The previous hammers I made last autumn They are double-side and also butt welded with steel patch. The handle is self wedging and slighty oval but still is more round than oval.
  19. I use that way of handle fix with all my hammers and axes. It is atually a traditional way for Ukrine where I am located. It works great. If it goes loose you just give it a litle hit upon the end protruding from the eye
  20. The last update of my vision for precise free forging hammer with square face. A combination of ancient russian butt and asian single side hammer. The body is made of soft iron, the face is butt forge welded with high carbon steel patch. The handle is self wedged and round in cross section. The weight is about 700 g/ During the process of hammer making no electric welding was used (including temporar fixing of a steel patch for the face) as well as no grinding. The shape was fully free forged (including the face). The face was dressed by hands with abrasive stone and harderned. The next plans are similar hammers of various weight with rectangular faces (cross and straight) for peening and such.
  21. Great work Jake! Congratulations! The lines are clear and beautiful. I do not see too much grinding in what you showed. It resembles to me very much the axe I've seen in Bavaria last year. I do not know who made it But that was probably done of a whole piece chisseled. This means your work is more complicated
  22. Thank you Jake for you words! They mean a lot for me. You are absolutely right about industrial changes. It seems to me like we started to loose the art of blacksmithing not 50 years ago but much much earlier -- 200 years or such with the Industrial Age. That's why I call my approach "Postindustrial blacksmithing" since we might be in many ways well back to tribal patterns soon. In their good ways, of course, like sensible resourse use and social organisation. Not child mortality rate and such.
  23. The last axe to start the spring Bogdan
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