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I Forge Iron


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  1. Worked a bit on a tanto I am making out of an old file, inspired by Crossed Heart Forge's work. Was busy using files on it today, which is working a lot better since it is more "annealed" than last time I was working on it. I need to get a better annealing setup, or perhaps "tool" steel is a lot harder to work with than what I am used to on mild steel. I also need to work on forging blades straighter... but I guess that will come in time The O-1 tool steel I am making into a saya chisel behaved much better with this second annealing job. The files were actually biting.
  2. if those are cracks... those are running awfully length-wise! Regarding return policy... if there actually are cracks that deep, in my opinion you should get them replaced by the vendor. It's not like you're returning perfectly good steel just because of a few surface "defects" from processing.
  3. I'll second MARKING steel. Steel accumulates in the shop and you'll have a hard time remembering what exactly you bought a year or two later. Was it 4140 or 4340? I'm not a blacksmithing expert but I think 5160 is a good starter "tool" steel. I have some chisels, punches, and center punches made from it and they make good beginner knives too. The trick with 5160 is that you need to oil quench it, so if you're starting out that's something you need to think about, having a container of flammable oil in your shop. Other good starter tool steel is 1045. I would look into 1060 as well. 1045 is what I hear a lot of people use for hammers. I've made an engraving hammer out of 1/2" 1045 and it was a fun project. I drilled out the hole for the handle because I was too scared/lazy to punch it out. An advantage of plain carbon steels is that you can quench in water.
  4. I use a gas forge so a garage is OK for now. I would like to get into using charcoal, but having a heated shop (or rather, a shop without one of the walls open) would be nice for when I turn off the forge in the winter! Contacting the Chamber of Commerce of a community is definitely a great idea. As for location, I'm not sure yet. A lot of things are in flux. We'll have to see how the year carries on.
  5. I'm looking at moving soon to a completely different area, perhaps for a short term, and may need to lease a space for blacksmithing. Anyone have tips for finding a suitable commercial/industrial compatible spaces? If I can manage it, ideally the best plan is to have a place out in the country where I can build a small shed or use what's there. That's easy. The commercial/industrial/light manufacturing real estate is completely alien to me.
  6. Not a bad first knife! Mine are nowhere near that level!
  7. Does anyone know, perhaps Kozzy, if there is a good spec/standard for food-safe carbon steel for cooking? Are there certain elements that you do NOT want in such an application? Asking because I would like to get into making such cookware.
  8. I'd have to dig into my materials science books or look at literature to see if there is some feasibility of diffusing alloying metals into a steel bar. As ThomasPowers stated though I'm guessing the diffusion rate is not worth it. The easiest way to visualize this is that carbon atoms are smaller than alloying metals, so that's why carbon and nitrogen are used in these case-hardening processes. However with your crude procedure I see issues with using sandpaper to get the particle size you want. That sandpaper is going to produce contaminants. Using the flour and salt would also likely add contaminants. If you want to change the surface composition of your steel, I think forge welding, spray deposition, or electrochemical processes would result in more consistency and a better product. If you really want to use powders in your garage, I think the best way is to mix them around your part and consolidate via forge welding with a jacket technique or otherwise sinter them together with specialized tooling.
  9. Interesting people mentioning using silicone to attach the anvil to the stand, but for a long time I have had trouble with my anvil stand wandering around in my garage, especially when working on the horn. I have about a 150 lb anvil, so it crept enough to have to move back once or twice during a forging session. I have tried using rubber feet, widening the base, etc but it still moves. Don't want to drill into floor to fix it in place. Using silicone between the stand and the cement floor has now secured it in place. Very well. No more wandering! Makes forging more enjoyable since I like the setup I have. Of course the downside to this is that it is semi-permanently in place, so if you need to move your anvil in your garage from time to time, then this might not be the right solution for you. I could send a picture of the stand, but it isn't anything really special. I got a few stumps thinking one of them would make a good anvil stand, but none of them were square enough to suit the task, let alone the right height. It is actually very easy to make a stand out of 4x4s glued together, so I recommend that to people who don't have the tools and experience necessary to make a metal stand, or access to a big piece of wood/stump for a stand.
  10. I'll have to try this approach sometime. My approach would be to burn off wax in forge, then go in manually with files/sandpaper to work the thick scale off to a semi-finished state. Then put back into forge to build up just a thin layer of uniform scale and refinish with wax.
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