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I Forge Iron


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About Randwulf

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  1. I bought the Vaughan, knowing it was an economy hammer, so I could try some different head weights and handle shapes inexpensively. About the only thing I know about it is that the head material is "Forged Steel", the handle is hickory, and it cost me $18 delivered to my house. It was not difficult to file so it is most certainly not hardened tool steel. The Vaughan handle feels quite comfortable, the Hultafors' handle is a little slimmer, especially between the belly and the shoulder, and the Peddinghaus handle is huge, bigger than any hammer handle I've used. I don't plan on reshaping any of handles before I forge with them.
  2. I'm not stuck, I'm methodical Seriously, though, I just got my "fire" last week. My original goal was to have everything set up and be hammering by the end of June so I'm still on schedule, maybe a little ahead. Researching anvils and forges took some time. My original plan was to get a vintage anvil so I started reading up on them first. I just couldn't find one in good condition at any price so ended up buying a new one.
  3. Randwulf


    LOL yes, I do. He has told me about Davis Creek and Glass Buttes, the obsidian he's collected nearer (I know he's found some in Napa and up near Clear Lake, don't know where else) he says is low quality. He buys and trades material with knappers all over the US. Here is a piece he made this week out of Knife River Chalcedony.
  4. Yes, I am DEFINITELY aware I need to use the hammer! I've been acquiring tools and setting up my shop for the last couple of months; I received the last piece I needed last week. I have a quality anvil, a good forge, several hammers and tongs, a good assortment of mild steel, and a little 4140. I still need to build an anvil stand and mount a beam to lift the anvil onto it and then I'll be a-hammerin'. I'm always wary of YouTube videos but I have watched dozens. Most of them were by three smiths that are well-known and respected in the blacksmithing community. I've also read three blacksmithing books and am reading a 4th so I think I've done more than enough homework, just need to start pounding metal to make some of that book learning stick. There is a certain minimum amount of tools that you need to be able to do that though!
  5. Yes, I actually went there first. I bought some hardware for my anvil stand and lifting beam but I bought the steel at a different supplier a few hundred yards down the street which has a much better selection. My son is a flintknapper too, he's made hundreds of pieces that I find beautiful and awe inspiring. I marvel at the skill required to make each piece. After I told him today what I paid for the steel, he lamented that his hobby is more expensive than mine. Not sure that is true as he makes all of his own tools, but I didn't know how much he was paying for flint. I haven't been to a scrap yard yet. I'm sure I will go but I'm new to blacksmithing and have enough learn without adding mystery steel in as another hurdle.
  6. Well I've dressed my first hammer. I welcome your critique before I tackle the others. The one on the left is Vaughan 3 lb cross pein and the one on the right is the same hammer in 2 lb undressed for comparison.
  7. I went steel shopping today and came home with 357 lbs of hot rolled A36 in assorted shapes for $310 (not including tax) here in Sacramento. I didn't shop around, I just went down to a local steel supply store and bought new steel off the rack. Works out to a smidge less than 87 cents a pound, cut and loaded into my pickup. What are you paying where you live?
  8. I disagree. I have lots of hobbies -- blacksmithing, woodworking, gardening, photography, hunting, fishing, dirt biking, waterskiing, snowskiing,...i don't do any of them to show off to my mates and from my observation, most other people, regardless of the hobby, don't do it to show off either. They do it because they genuinely enjoy it. Hear, hear! I agree completely. My son wants to learn so he can make knives. What's wrong with that!? Just seems pretentious to me to dismiss someone who wants to learn any craft or a skill because his reason isn't your reason. Eric Clapton inspired me to learn to play guitar. I didn't want to be a rock star, I just wanted to make music. But if I had wanted to be a rock star, why would that be something to look down upon?
  9. I'm new to blacksmithing and I'm not from the UK or the EU, born and bred in the good ol' US of A. I got into blacksmithing to make farming, lumbering, and gardening hand tools. Perhaps if I didn't already have a small but nice collection of fine knives I'd want to make some, but I do so I don't. ...but why the judgement? What does it matter what the catalyst is that piques someone's interest into something as positive and constructive as smithing? I'm sure that 80% of the newbies will drop it before their first year is up, but those that don't will branch out into other smithing interests and a few will, in time, become mastersmiths. I say, let them make knives!
  10. I use an oil stone after reshaping an axe bit with a file; I'll try that dressing the hammers too. A few extra minutes to end up with a nice surface seems like time well spent to me. That is EXACTLY why I asked this question. I'm new to blacksmithing. I don't know what works for me and removing metal is an irreversible process. The only metal shaping I have done is with cold metal -- cold riveting, some auto body work, and attempting to straighten or rework bent part back to their original shape.
  11. An angle grinder is too aggressive for me, removing metal is an irreversible process. I reshape axe bits and splitting wedges with a file, I'm going to try dressing the same way. If it doesn't work, I will reconsider but a file provides fine control on the amount of metal removed.
  12. Thank you for the specific advice for the pein and face, I will definitely heed that. I don't have a bench grinder (my ex has it :/) or a belt grinder. I do have an angle grinder but that seems a tad dicey to dress with. I was planning on dressing with a file and whetstone. As for the handles, I want to use each of them for a few hours to determine what I like or don't like about them. I have an axe that I bought with a very pronounced knob on the handle which I didn't like at all -- until I used it. It has actually become my favorite axe and the knob has remained untouched! The handles in my original post look like they are varnished, but I rough sanded them and put a few coats of tung oil on them. I do that for all of my hand tools with wooden handles; I like it feels and the way it grips. What do you polish them with? The hammers that I bought all have different handle profiles and thicknesses. I plan to use them for some time before deciding to reshape them.
  13. Yes, I definitely agree that everyone needs to learn how to dress hammers. I file and stone splitting wedges and axe bits to suit my needs but I've used them for 50 years -- I know what I like and I know what I want. I've used hammers that long too but not for smithing and I've not dressed a hammer. I don't know what I like so I'm a bit reluctant to start removing metal.
  14. I'm new to blacksmithing and have purchased an assortment of commercially available hammers. If I was an experienced blacksmith, I would just go ahead and dress them, but I'm not. I'd like your opinions, given that I'm a beginner, should I leave them as is and use them "off-the-shelf" for awhile or try to dress them?
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