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Hello guys,

I was thinking about this and am a total loss... I am a beginner blacksmith. To date I have made several tomahawks, a pair of tongs, and a knife. I have a small propane forge and I am looking for a project that will not only suite my skills, but also challenge me to get better. I wanted to make my wife something nice, but am at a loss as what to do? Any ideas... what have you guys done for your signifigant others in the past? I know this is a very broad subject, but I am looking for inspiration.


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Well since your wife must want what my wife does; open hearth cooking equipment is indicated!

A simple trivet: take 3 lengths of say 1/4" x 3/8" strap, Take two of them and forge weld the bottom couple of inches together. Place the welded part in a vise and bend the tops out. Weld the last strap to one end of one of the tops as before and bend it out, then heat and adjust so you can line up and weld the last free ends together. then Heat and adjust so that the e=welded sections are the legs---I generally forge a foot on them to keep them from sinking in the ground under weight and the foot can make the final adjustment so the trivet is level easier.

A decorative toasting fork or a ladle is easier...

Or how about making her a set of hatchels for flax processing!

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How about a quarters mokume gane heart
Take about 15 quarters out of your change doesnt matter what year as long as they are 1965 or newer you want the copper in the middle.
Stack them as best you can and hold with flat jaw tongs or made a holder out of 2 pieces of scrap steel 1/4' X ? wider than the quarters drill 2 holes for 5/16 bolts.
This fixture will be used to hold the quarters in a stack till they are hot and then squeezed in a vise.
You dont have to clean or flux the quarters
Heat this stack in a forge (coal, charcoal gas ect) until it is red if you see the edges of the stack start to sweat you have about 5 seconds before it is a puddle which is not what you want.
When it is up to temp evenly not hot on one side and not the other you can flip in the fire if necessary bring it out of the fire and squeeze with a leg vise or press until cold.
Take out of the fixture or tongs using hammer flatten stack so it is 1/2 to 3/4 its original height. This can be done hot or cold.
Now to make a pattern.
Drill from top pockets not deeper than the web of the drill or grind lines across the face. After you have a number of holes or groves again flatten stack till the hols are leavel with the surface. This brings the lower layers to the surface.

Once you have it to the thickness you want cut out a heart sand smooth then it is time for the patina.

With some type of controled heat 9I use the cook stove burner0 slowly add heat be patiant dont overheat. The copper will start to turn orange then continue to darken the hotter it gets. When it is the right color you can stop adding heat or cool with water. If it getts too dark polish off the patina and start over.
Drill a hole for a necklass or add a pin back or smaller shapes for earrings ect.If you are really cheap you can use nickels and disks of roof copper just have the nickels on the top and bottom of the stack or the copper brazes to the fixture.

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I Learned a neat trick for the quarter mokume will visiting Steve Bloom's shop. You can drill or punch the quarters and run a piece of copper rod thru the stack. Then after you cut and upset the ends of the rod it holds together really well. We used the treadle hammer for welding the stack but I would be tempted to use the power hammer to make it thin enough to fold over on itself. Drilling the little divets makes a great effect but would like the try for more of a damascus look.

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