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I Forge Iron

First attempt ever


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I finally did it. I've been fussing around trying to gather all the 'right' things I 'need' to start blacksmithing. I finally got tired of waiting and threw some bricks in a pile, got a 3 foot black iron pipe, put a few holes in it, got my leaf blower and a router speed control and put the lump charcoal to the flame. I tossed in an old HC railroad spike and started fumbling along.

The result: the first thing I've ever forged (not counting the things I ruined in fires when I was a child):

I cleaned it up a little with a flap disk on my angle grinder and straightened up the edge a bit with a file. I'm going to finish it up and use it as a letter opener.

What I learned--It was quite fun and harder than it looks!

--Controlling the tongs was brutal. It seems learning how to hold and position the work is over half the battle.

--The steel cools a lot faster than I expected. I lost a few full heats because it took me so long to get the spike held right for where I wanted to hit.

--I love my big 17" 2nd cut file. It's a beast and was able to help me get my edge in a better shape. (Once I'm better able to forge an edge that's not so wavy, I'm sure this won't be necessary.) I was able use it almost like a Lansky knife sharpener-sweeping an arc along the blade-to get curve I like on the edge.

Now... I'm off to make a titanium sword! :D


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Well done. Now that you have completed your appreticeship in bladesmithing it sure is time for the titanium sword that can cut through rocks like hot butter :)

If that is the first thing you forged it is really well done. However, I would possibly take a step back and get some mild rod and practice the basics like round to square and back to round. Drawing a square point then making it round. Running a bevel along the edge of the piece. Stopping down over the edge of the anvil for making tangs, etc. Upsetting the ends and in the middle to make the rod thicker. This will give you a better background and you will progress in leaps and bounds that way.

Keep hittin' it........

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If it opens letters, you have succeeded, the basic skills suggested are a must. Have fun doing it, and do not be discouraged, think about the tongs issue, are they the correct tongs for the use? I take small pieces of angle iron and weld them to flat tongs for better grip on the diamond, that gives a good hold and leverage. Half of what I do is in the mind, 1/4 tool making and the last is the actual forging, and that leaves out cleanup and finishing. And my scrap pile is immense, but it's all been a fun learning curve.

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Since I've yet to reach the point where I can actually make my own tongs, what would you recommend for a couple of pair of 'general use' tongs that will hold me over until I can make the ones I need? The one pair I have look similar to the ones here.


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Cyo One thing I have learned is "Think at the forge work at the anvil!" In other words while you metal is heating plan out your next step, having your tools ready so you are not looking for them while your steel cools, etc. (you mentioned you lost some heats trying to figure out how to place your spike) Some of us use clay to work out what to do next so you know where to hit to move the metal where we want.

All that said I will finish you did a great job and keep up the good work. William

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