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I Forge Iron

Hello from Tucson, Arizona!


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Hello my name is Mario Mondaca and I'm in Tucson, Arizona.

I recently started (about 1~2 months ago) interested in blacksmithing and I believe I have accomplished a lot in this short time.

I have a coal forge set up. I started with a brake drum and a cowboy from Colossal cave was generous enough to give me his forge and some basic tools. The forge uses a leaf blower with a small pipe system to regulate the flow with a butterfly valve. My current Anvil is a rail road piece stuck on a short stump forcing me to work sitting down.

I'm still trying things out, I bought some steel springs from the scrap yard. I cut one (very badly...heh took me around 10 heats), straighten it and shaped it as a chisel. However, I did not anneal it or temper it and the tip snapped off =( but the piece is big enough to make a new tip and this time I will try and temper it correctly.

My main interest right now is tool making and decorative work but a friend of mine is very interested in knifes and hes been a real help around the forge (hes better built than me and does a great job as a striker =D )

If you guys could maybe suggest some basic projects I would love to hear them, anything and everything to help me get started and keep the forge going would be great help =D!

If you are in Tucson and would like to come by and use the forge, its not great...but it works for most basic jobs =)

I would like to acknowledge all the amazing Blacksmiths and cowboy that have helped me these last months. My deepest appreciation for their great help and support. I would not be where I am if not for their help, thank you.

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The Arizona Artist Blacksmith Association has some members out that way---you should look them up and try to attend some meetings. I used to carpool to SOFA meeings when I was living 2 hours away---a lot cheaper and more fun to travel in a group!


Sounds like you could profit from a copy of "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" abebooks.com shows several for under $15 *shipped*. It's a great book to get started from.

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Thank you so much,

I'm currently reading The art of Blacksmithing and Basic Blacksmithing by David Harries but I will definitively check out that book.

Last night I reshaped my chisel's tip and now I'm wondering how to avoid the issue from last time. Should I anneal it and harden it if I'm going to use it for hot steel or should I keep it malleable?

Me and my friend also tried a knife out of a square stock (one of those fence square poles) and it looks a bit rough, but it was nice working with a softer steel for a change.
I've also noticed a lot of terminology from the forums about steel using numbers. Is there a good place to get some of these terms as far as the steel quality?
Thank you all for your help,

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