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I'm pretty interested in making a rr spike hawk. Would this be a decent first project? If not, what WOULD be a good first crack at forging? Thanks.
Keagan

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It could work. The very first time I put hot metal, hammer and anvil together I was making pattern welded steel!
However, it was at my good friend Colin KC's hammer-in, with Trond overseeing. Everyone there got a turn at that piece of metal, or at least at some part of the process of turning it into a knife.
Don't be shy, just go for it & see what happens, having read up on the processes involved first. It's not as simple as you may think, particularly the heat treatment part. But you will have fun & learn a lot. :D

WARNING: If you don't badly hurt or kill yourself in the process, you will be addicted! We accept no responsibility for aiding your addiction! ;)


Keep us posted. :)

Edited by Ratel10mm

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I've read up about making one, and have a few ideas in mind. So if I understand your post, it don't matter what I try first, I'm bound to wreck it, so its all about learning? My goal is to make a pretty nice tomahawk for my buddies birthday (november 1st).

Oh, and don't worry, i'm already addicted :)

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No, you're not bound to wreck it. If you're better at book learning than I am, you'll probably be fine. If you're like me, then you'll find it helps enormously to have an experienced advisor or 10 to hand. ;)

As it's a birthday present I'd respectfully suggest that whatever material you're going to use, make sure you have spare, in case. All the old hands here will tell you, don't expect to get it right first time. It takes practice, practice, practice, and more practice.
For example, right now I'm having a go at some leaves for the Tree Project. But since I have a limited supply of stainless, I'm making a few from mild first, to make sure I have the technique sorted so I am less likely to waste the stainless. The (succeessful) mild leaves will end up in another project somewhere, so that material won't be a waste either.

Either way, axes of any type are a lot of work by hand, so I hope you have access to a power hammer! :D

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On the one hand, I say go for it. On the other hand, take some time to learn the basics. And yes, I know that's contradictory. I've been trying for the last four years to forge a knife. Until this year and many mess-ups, I didn't put out a single knife. All this because I didn't take the time to learn the basics of drawing out, upsetting, bending, or whatever else there is. Now I've finally got it through my thick skull that if I get the basics down, I will be a better bladesmith.
So give it a shot, but also work on some basics while you're at it.

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Yes, I do have spare. OKay, maybe not wreck it, but obviously i don't expect perfection the first try. Before I even try making a knife, I plan on playing around with some scrap steel, just to see what I'm capable of. I'll just try to draw out, bend, and maybe upsetting. Although upsetting is a pretty advanced basic is it not?

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If I understand correctly, it is going to bend, no matter what. What you have to do to upset it, is to correct small bends before they become major?

Ratel10mm- I do not have access to a powerhammer. Its all me.

Edited by flandersander

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Yeah, I believe you're pretty much correct there.
A power hammer would be nice! I've got an old ball peined hammer that I am hammering down into an axe head, but I hammer for a while and then lay it aside for a while. It really wears down the arm.

The other option is if you had someone to hold while you hit it with a sledge. Or better yet, get them to his it with the sledge. lol

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Thats like asking sombody to hold up the log, while I chop it with the axe. I'll do the swinging thanks.
There's still one thing i'm hung up on. The slitting and drifting of the eye. I know you punch a hole with one tool, and then pound in the drift, but how do you get it symetrical, or close to it? Is it possible to use the horn of the anvil to even out the eye? Then shape the eye using the drift, so it fits perfectly onto the handle? Sorry for all the questions, I'm such a noob.

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Ot tales a ;pt pf basoc slo;; tpf prge anything a rr spike ae is one that will challenge those skills. Not sure how much eperienc yu have had but it soundsl imited. You will not only need to learn body mechanics and the basic use of tools safely but you will also need to have a good heat source and some experience in managing it. Learn to bump up metal on something else before you tackle a spike,,as you said they do bend a lot. Then you will need a slitter and a drift and will have either need to learn to select steel to make them and get them right. Then you will need to be able to draw the blade out for width. The best way to learn something new is not to start reaching for a finished product. It is learning all the steps you will use in getting to that end.
Or you can follow Ecarts lead and stumble along until you realize the old way is the best and quickest way to the end. I have done that also. Learns the first steps first There aer getting started step posted in this site.. REad them all and work through some basics. And one of the best ways is to get one on one or group help Seeing someone do what you wish to do will shorten the learning curve alot. One on one persoanal instructionn is the best get what you can. If you seek help by watching utube vifeos beware some are excellant and some are not.

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Ot tales a ;pt pf basoc slo;; tpf prge anything a rr spike ae is one that will challenge those skills.


I'm normally pretty good at reading internet slang, but you've lost me.

Thanks for the advice!

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Personally,i'd have to say that it would NOT be a good first project.

The "first" implies continuity,a gradual build-up of skills.Skipped/misunderstood/un-understood functions would just contribute so much less to the learner.

Yes,as several posts above state,you can cowboy your way through.Some depends on how much of a masochist you are-do you learn well from disappointment?Pain?Loss of much preceeding hard work?If so-great!

Blacksmithing was the machining of the past.A.Weygers used much machining in his techniques,like drilling holes to guide the drift,and the like(Read him,if you haven't yet).Machining is more logical than forging,easier to grasp cerebrally.
Forging has a larger intuitive element,very like many martial arts-you try to allow innate response of your physiology to compensate for the lack of precize measurability,like shooting instinctively.That is why the practice,the rote,comes up often,and is so strongly recommended by many.You don't really try to learn about the certain karate move by reading about it on the internet...
But even machining employed training by rote,like flat-filing,as an example.One's body/psyche has a magic ability to move the file in a perfect,flat and level plane.But,to access that ability,one must practice ad nauseum...Weygers' steamboat engineer's degree took him what,6 years to complete?Much of it was filing.

But,it's all a set of choices.All the very best with yours!Cheers,Jake.

P.S.Don't start with a spike.Poorly proportioned stock,of worthless metallurgical qualities,the product is technically useless(not enough mass in the eye),and butt-ugly to all but the proud creator.Naturally,all of the above is my own take on things(Who else's would i expound on?Thankfully,there are other views on this forum!).

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Aw,Charlotte,i'm embarassed...Thanks,but i do wish that i could express myself better.Naturally,addressing the "choir",that you obviously are,makes it so much easier to be understood,but others,not so experienced in the trade...I'm afraid that i make it quite obscure.

My approach to iron forging stems from my RESPECT for this element,and the magic of it's interaction with our central nervous system.That gives me a starting point relative which something can be "right" or "wrong",and only that.There IS a scale of "rightness" in forging,and all of it is determined by the material itself.I beg pardon,as always,if it makes my take on it sound harsh,but my love of iron exceeds that of the pernicious principle of the political correctness,so please try to disregard those aspects that you,any one of you,may find offensive.

Here's a good example of what i'd consider a "right" approach to forging a handled tool-head.I've much respect for it's author,he speaks clearly and concisely indeed,and really good photos,too.
Even as a first,or close to it,project,this might make a very valid,and,eventually,rewarding,exercise:Making an Adze - Bladesmith's Forum Board

Most respectfully,Jake

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Thank you for the link. That is an excellent tutorial for an a really desirable tool. I am copying key parts of it so that I can get the proportions correct. I'm adding it to my list of todo craft tools.

For me, I find getting the right shape of blank and the placement of hammper created features to be one of the most difficult aspect of forging a tool the first few times.

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...For me, I find getting the right shape of blank and the placement of hammper created features to be one of the most difficult aspect of forging a tool the first few times.


Likewise,Ma'am,i couldn't agree more.And,it doesn't take going back too many centuries(2-3?)before EVERY feature was hammer-created,because it was the FUNCTION of the specific forging process.

In turn,that feature determined the action of the tool on the intended material.
As a result of THAT,a style of shape for that material was determined,a carving style,or even the architecture of the entire period/region.

ALL that was seriously interdependent.Iron,the mother of all the tooling,dictating the way in which the tools were used,by means of dictating to a smith how it itself wished to be forged.

To drift away from that,into "fantasy",or succumb to some happenstance of found junk,or other un-reasoned deviation from this clear course,is simply inane.
Life IS stranger,more interesting,more challenging than fiction.In particular when one's only developing as a craftsman(and when does one stop?).
But i digress,as usual...By the way,none of the above is original,it was already old news in the 1860-ies,John Ruskin,William Morris,Roselli,Ashcroft...Nothing's new under the moon!

Happy forging to everyone,cheers,Jake.

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