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I Forge Iron

My first day (hour) of smithing!

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Hello everyone, I finally made my forge operational, and started smithing today.
Well, I did try smithing before, but back then I haven't had almost anything to begin with, my forge was a small brake drum one and really a pain to heat anything, I had no metal, I had an awful old hammer, and a RR anvil.

Now I have a lot better equipment, so this is my first real day of forging. I started a bit late, because I haven't had the opportunity to finish welding the fire pot, so I only did an hour or less of smithing, most part of it was starting the fire (pet-coke really isn't easy to start).
Then I had issues with my air blast, which was too powerful, and realized I have to get a potentiometer to regulate it, because the fire was not unlike a small firework festival :). Anyway, this is the only thing I managed to forge with all that stuff going around, and people distracting me all of the time with silly questions and comments.

This is my first attempt at forging something, and it should be a hot cut hardy when finished. As you can see, it's an amateur work, it's not symmetrical, it has deep hammer marks in it at the sides, but I hope to refine that tomorrow, and hopefully make a decent pair of tongs.
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P.S. Due to my poor hammer technique, I have 2 blisters already, but I already started holding my hammer better so they will go away soon... I hope... :)
[Edit]: The pictures are too big, so it's best if you middle-click on them to open them in a new tab, sorry 'bout that, I'll try to reduce the size next time.
[Edit #2]: Middle clicking doesn't work :(

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That doesn't look too bad, it's not like a hot hardy is a precision instrument, you aren't going to be making watches with it you know.

A good way to control the air blast is by partially blocking the air intake or diverting the output with a bypass. which is best depends on how the motor is cooled, if cooling is provided by the blower they you have to be really careful about blocking the air flor or it might burn out.

It looks like most of the hammer marks are caused by the edge of the face closer to the handle, what I call "healing." Healing is often caused by too high an anvil which means the hammer face isn't impacting paralel to the anvil face naturally. Basically the handle is angling upwards from your hand with the face in contact with the work causing the close edge to be the low contact point.

working thick stock and steep tapers like your hardy is another situation where healing is common. First because the thicker metal is higher in the hammer swing on impact. Second the steep taper means you have to hold your hand unnaturally high so the face is parallel with the taper on impact.

Is your anvil height adjusted correctly for you? Standing next to it in your work shoes/boots or whatever the anvil face should be between knuckle and wrist height. The heavier the work you plan on doing most often the closer to knuckle height is easiest on you. If you plan on doing fine work then higher, closer to wrist height, works better.

You may only work thick stock occasionally so making a lift you can stand on to adjust your height to the anvil rather than adjusting the anvil itself is more practical. Say a piece of plywood on blocks to raise you higher.

Once your skill level increases you'll discover you can adjust your hammer blows on the fly without adjusting the equipment. I don't recommend adjusting equipment for occasional things, only typical uses. As the blacksmith being more flexible to irregular conditions will make you a much better smith.

Frosty the Lucky.

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Thanks for comments guys :)
Frosty, thanks for all the specific details, it's really helpful.
My anvil isn't set on a correct height yet, I just moved it closer to the forge last night, because I haven't yet made a stand for it. I think I need to round my hammer a bit, pjh suggested that I could use an angle grinder with a disc, so I will try that, it should help with the hammer marks.

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Giving folk a hand with questions or problems as well as the companionship of smiths is why a lot of use are here.

Yes, rounding at least the edge of the hammer face is important, sometimes critically important. Putting a shallow radius on the whoe face is beneficial for a general smithing hammer, it helps concentrate the impact energy and so helps move the metal faster with less effort. On that note, keeping a lighter hammer with a flatter face with radiused edges for finishing is important for your hammer rack. This will really help put a nice flat finish on those items you and a flat finish on. A flatter will do this but not well on a tapered item.

Frosty the Lucky.

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