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I Forge Iron


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    South Shore, MA
  • Interests
    Homebrewing, Smithing, Martial Arts, Medieval History,

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  1. Great info - thanks! You are right that the one I modeled from looks like the Italians, but clearly without the pommel hook they all seem to have (I'm curious what its function is). Who would have thought there would have been a Billhook Junkies group...
  2. Thanks, gents. Thomas: Point taken, and I have no doubt some of those 633 do answer the question, but after my first dozen or so mentions of it with no explanation, I decided to save myself from reading potentially 621 more that may or may not. Like I said in my post, lots of mentions (like Glenn's at the top of this post), but very few (none that I had found) explanations with enough detail to be useful. YMMV. Cheers,
  3. Frosty, a point of clarification, if you will: You (and others, like the sticky on the dangers of ceramic "wool") mention rigidizing that wool refractory, but I haven't seen any mention of methods or products to accomplish that goal. Is it assumed that you will encapsulate your wool in the castable layer? Or is there some product or product class that specifically serves to rigidize the wool independent of castable? Or do most available ceramic wool refractories come pre-rigidized? My apologies for the newbie-ish questions - I have only ever forged with coal these las 5 years, but am looking into building a gas forge and want to make sure I do it correctly and safely.
  4. Hey all, I've been away from the forums for quite a while but still doing work. I recently experimented with using powdered citric acid mixed up to a 10% solution and heated to give a nice dark gray/black finish on a few pieces. It worked like hot vinegar only much, much better. My guess is because vinegar is usually only about a 5% acid. I'd say for darkening, the hot citric is almost as good as Ferric chloride with little to no mess and safe enough to pour down the drain. I have not tried actually etching with it, but I suspect it will work great. I had the citric for some stainless steel passivation on other projects. Plus, it doesn't smell up the room like hot vinegar. I'm interested if anybody else has tried it. I'm sold.
  5. Here is the (old?) one I used as a model. It is clearly hand-forged, but its age and origin is unknown. I also referenced that image SLAG posted to get an idea of the range of shapes. It works very much like a sickle, but for tougher material than a sickle can handle.
  6. Hey folks - I haven't been on here in a while, but I've still been forging. Mostly made a bunch of knives for friends and family, but Thought I'd post my most recent project: a Bill Hook requested by the guy that is the live-in barn help at the barn where my lady boards her horse. I didn't know anybody used these anymore, and I am far more familiar with the adapted-to-a-medieval-weapon version of the Bill Hook. I found an old hand-forged example of one a friend had and used that as a pattern. Mine is made from 15N20, hidden tang, mild steel bolster plate/guard and handle is recycled oak household railing left over from a new one I installed a few months ago. I left it brut-de-forge for the most part, for looks and to help prevent rust because I know this tool will get used a lot (as intended). Handle treated with Dark Half from Real Milk Paint (part tung oil, part citrus solvent). Anyway, I am pretty proud of it and being that they are an uncommon tool, I thought I'd post it here for your enjoyment.
  7. Thanks, guys! Can't wait for it to arrive and start using it.
  8. I agree that S7 is way overkill for leather awls, but if you want S7 awls, more power to ya. I made a hot slit chisel out of a 3/4" S7 round. I air hardened by just setting it aside from critical temp. No fans or special airflow setup, just simple air cooling. I tempered it to bronze on the cutting edge and purple on the striking end. It has held up beautifully to a lot of use with no chipping and no deforming.
  9. My brother and I are 5 years apart (he the elder), but we have always been close. Even when we go months without talking because we live half a country apart and life gets in the way. We would do pretty much anything for one another.
  10. Well I was going to try the electrolysis method, but apparently my brother, who is readying the anvil for transport to me, took it upon himself to (carefully) remove the majority of the rust with a wire wheel. Then he applied a wax/oil mix to seal and protect it. I think it looks fantabulous! Can't wait to hit something on it!
  11. Isn't it technically a proximal taper if it is on the tang? (not sharp-shooting you, genuinely asking to make sure I am not misunderstanding terminology). Nice knife, OP. I really like the handle shape. I am putting the finishing touches on my first integral bolster knife - it presents a whole new set of challenges.
  12. Thomas: Mainly for normalization before cold work, but I have started dabbling with raising, which seems to work better with some heat. So far it's just practice exercises with raising, not actually making anything. I've used everything from MAP torches to a large burner for boiling homebrew kettles (80k-130k BTU) for heating a larger area.
  13. True, but similar could be said of steel (maybe 1300 years?). I'm okay with only going back 1000 years ;-) In all reality I would almost prefer charcoal for cleanliness, but coal is easier and cheaper to source, IMHO. That said, I have never worked with charcoal, so my opinion is speculative. For that matter, I have never worked with a gas forge either (only gas burners to heat armor pieces, no actual forging done on gas).
  14. Heck, at that price, I'd go pick up another piece and bed it in another stump on its side right next to the other one. No flipping needed!
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