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I Forge Iron

Now comes the fun part....

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I decided to make a large mirror frame in order to make the pieces i wanted I needed a 14ft long piece of roundbar, the scroll is about 19 inches diameter

in order to bend it I had to drag the anvil outside because my shop walls and roof are too close to bend a 14ft bar as I have found.

I didnt have a large enough scroll jig so I figured I would wing it,

I need to make 2 matching sides the one side I am "happy" with will need a bit of truing up in the end but they will both need to be matched up more before I spend time on that,


this is the one that is supposed to match the other one


things I have found in my adventures are.

The larger the scroll the larger it is to manage and prevent spining on the heavy side in your hands this causes problems when bending and heating because it will move on you or when you are bending you will move it on the wrong axis and your scroll wont be flat and when the scroll is this big its hard to get it to sit right on the anvil or to get 2 forks on it for concentrated bending.

its really hard to heat it evenly in my forge so you need to know where you want to heat and focus on that one area,

once you heat it up and let it cool now you have some spots that are much softer than others,

once you get kinks in it its really hard to make it smooth again

perhaps in the future I should be making jigs instead but for now this is good but frusterating practice the reality is in making the 2 scrolls I have probley 12 or more hours in and about 4 more or maybe more to get the other one close

maybe someone can enlighten me or at least encourage my efforts :)

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Sounds like a great learning experience. It would help to know the diameter of the rod that you are using. The assumption is that you are using mild steel that is less than 1/2" diameter. In that case you might consider bending the scrolls *gasp* cold as that would make keeping the bends smooth easier as you would not have differences in temperature/softness.

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Bryce - Enter upon the bigger stuff world. As you found out - working larger items involves new and different challenges. This is what all of us deal with and one just needs to stick with it and it'll come around for you(literally). - JK

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I'll second (third?) the cold bending suggestions. Just heat the ends to do your taper or whatever, then cold bend the rest.

Take it from me, taper both ends before bending. It's a royal pain to rotate a big piece with a heavy scroll on the back end.

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I rember seeing that awhile ago and not making it because I lacked a piece of plate

I guess it was just good practice, I started making the jig
but I dont have the piece of plate I will have to see what I can come up with,

I guess for the most part this is all made from small pieces not one large one like how i was making my jig,
I will cut the end off and bend and cut the end of and so on untill i have a complete jig

now i need to figure out what i will do with this one piece that i made because i cant match the other piece to it lol

I dont really care about production, finding something I cant do gives me something to fight for right now i dont need to make a profit in the future this will make more of a difference however I will be more practiced and also have made many more jigs by then i can imagine

I have made plenty of small scrolls and armrests for chairs and such getting them 95% the same entirely by hand eyeballing where the bends are

I noticed the counterbend part as well is using a jig, I should also make something similar

I do eveything by hand and eyeball
I draw on the floor with kids sidewalk chalk (pink panther pink!)
measure with a single wire and try and match it up

I guess everyone uses jigs and this is why there is no discrepency in there work?

this makes all the scroll work seem less interesting to me but none the less I guess i chose to do everything the hard way which is just my personality type

Edited by Bryce Masuk
lack of making sence
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Scroll jigs are nice, but ....

When you have a very large scroll jig to make, tack weld it to a couple thick bars instead of plate. Plate is nice, but sometimes the jig needs to be pretty large. A large/heavy piece of angle iron works well for the main backing piece for the jig, then weld other "braces" off of it.

When I do some large sign brackets, I do the long gentle curves cold on the large curve of the swage block. It goes faster and easier in many cases. Just don't use a hammer with fairly sharp edges. A well-rounded old sledge works well.

I use heavy copper wire for laying out my scrolls and the whole shape. It bends fairly easily, holds its shape, and I can lay hot iron right next to it without too much worry.

The last sign bracket I made had me tapering and scrolling both ends of 3/4 square stock 10 and 14 feet long. That's a lot of iron to swing around and taper/scroll/bend. I sometimes clamp a Visegrip on the stock to help give me a hand-hold for better ... leverage ... when holding and swinging it around to get the right angles for a specific section. Just use a visegrip with smooth/warn jaws so you don't mark the steel too much when you "clamp" it on.

A movable support stand is nice. Just a section of pipe coming up from an old car rim/wheel, with several rods tacked on the side at different heights. You can cast some cement into the wheel dish for extra weight if needed.

And sometimes a rope or chain hung down from above really does the trick for helping you hold large pieces that you are scrolling. The longer the rope/chain, the more area you can move it about without having to adjust the height. With a 20 foot high ceiling to hang from, you can set the height and run the piece from the forge to the anvil to the vice without having to adjust things. It takes a lot of strain off of your arms/hands.

And a final tip: get the pieces close, but not ... too close ... to a perfect match. If they are perfect, people will think "machine made" and "bought" instead of hand forged. Plus, even a few inches separation is often enough to not see any little ... differences.

Just some thoughts to ponder.

And remember to have fun along the way!


Edited by Mike Ameling
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Man my posts are rambling, I guess this is what happens when the right side of your braid controls your life,

I have some big pieces of flat bar and angle kicking around I am planinng to finish this tomorrow since i dont have to work

I am definately not as good as Uri Hofi But I dont give up so at least I have hope


the positioning isnt great in the picture its made from several pieces that i cut with a zip wheel I made a few other pieces for fun to see what the scrolls looks like

looks like tomorrow will be a solid day of testing and adjusting if it isnt right

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