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newbie forging bevels

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Hello there. Let me introduce myself. My name is Chauncey and I am a complete noob to forging knives. I have made a few over the years vis stock removal but wanted to give forging a try. I can get the tang and the overall shape of the knife forged out just fine but I can't seem to get the hang of the bevel. I can make one side of the blade perfect but I just can't seem to get the hang of making the bevel on the other. Just can't seem to get the hang of working on the left side of my anvil. (1"thick 7x12 piece of mild steel). hammer angle is just all wrong. I am practicing on some 1 x 1/8 a36 steel right now. Plan to use 5/32 or 3/16 O1 for the actual blade. Is there any techniques or tips you guys can help me out with?(besides practice practice and more practice?)


Thanks
Chauncey

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Have you thought of grabbing the blank by the tip instead of the tang and doing most of the bevel on your good side and only having a minimal amount to bevel on your off side?

But Practice Practice Practice is the real answer!

BTW if you edit your user CP to put in your general location you might find a local smith that can help you out.

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I teach complete novices to forge blades, so I've seen quite a lot of frustration over not being able to forge bevels well from one side or the other. As attested to by the dings in my teaching anvils :(

a few things that are worth trying:

1) lock your tong arm into your side to stabilise it on the anvil. That way you can get a rythm going with the hammer without the metal moving around and causing you to lose focus
2) on your off-side concentrate on individual blows rather than a stream of forging blows. IE it is easier to place one blow at a time in the correct position than it is to do it fast. I do this when I'm forging a tight area that requires more than my usual level of accuracy on my offside
3) I'm guessing that the side you are struggling with (if right handed) is the one that needs to be worked away from your body with the hammer. If you are currently working on the far side of your anvil, try working on the left edge instead and lock the bar into your leg for stability as above. If you are already working on the left, try working on teh far side and see what happens
4) use a lighter hammer than normal until you get good at working both sides evenly
5) use a hammer with a little more radius than usual. Most of my hammers are square faced with little crowning, but I've found some students make less of a mess with a slightly more rounded round round (not square) faced hammer
6) try forgin left handed. I had an ambidextrous student a while back and couldn't get on with forgin away from himself. So he forged both sides towards on the nearside of the anvil, but by switching between left and right handed he worked both sides evenly

But at the end of the day, it's like Thomas says, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

Also I suggest for your first forged blades something a little more forgiving than O1, it doesn't like being forged too hot or too cold, so you don't get much time to put those well placed blows in. Try spring steels as they are much more tolerant

just my 2p worth of course :)

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The above posts are like gold. Trust wot they aree telling you. Now let me give my take on the issue. The basic problem is you are not far enough along in forging to be able to do this task as well as you wish. You need to develop body mechanics and get your mind to your body to allow you to reduce the thickness of metal any where on the piece exactly how much you want it to be. Before you can expect to forge a blade or for that matter just about anything to specs you have to be able to forge. A smith that lears the basics and gets efficient can forge almost any shape with a minimum of fuss and have a high rate of success. Fast track yourself to this with a few simple steps. Get help: see another smith that will get you going in a right way. If you self learn you may get really good at doing bad things. Do not make a blade, or anything else. get about 40 feet of mild steel cut it into short enough lenghts to handle and make blade shapes. When yoiu have used all of that steel forge one side of the pieces into tapered towards the edge blanks. When you have done all pieces start over on the other side and forge those sides down..Is this gonna take long? yes it may. But so can making poor blades. At the end of a period of forgeing drills you may even see that you are indeed learning something. Go back to who helped you and see if you are on the right track. If not correct wot you are doing and do exercises again. This will not make you a bladesmith. but if you do it it will make you better at forging.

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such good advice - loads and loads of repetition. its like any kind of training drills i suppose - not just for blades or forging, anything you desperate to get good at! repetition gives you something to compare against as well. good luck with yr blades chauncy:)

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