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I Forge Iron

Leaf hook

Ozark Nick

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I'm kind of on a hook kick.

I don't like the idea of practicing on stuff that will intentionally go to waste. So I'm practicing my tapering, then I'll try a little scroll and hook.

Thought I'd try a leaf today.


Having a little trouble figuring out how to get the leaf started. But my hooks are looking better. :)

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Heat that leaf up and lightly pound on the face with the hammer slightly tilted. Tilt to the left down one side and tilt to the right down the other. This will leave a higher ridge right down the center of the leaf. I hope that was clear enough to understand. Then use a small chisel and put the veins in the leaf. The more you do, the better they will look. Good luck with them. :)

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This might not come across very well in text, many of us could show you in 5 minutes.

For your leaf, put a short taper on the bar and then neck down where you want the leaf to start only on two sides over the edge of the anvil.
When you've gone as thin as you want for the 'stem' you hammer down the taper on the diagonal t flatten it out into your leaf shape.

The length of the original taper will determine how long/thin/fat your leaf is.
After that do as george says

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When you've gone as thin as you want for the 'stem' you hammer down the taper on the diagonal t flatten it out into your leaf shape.

On the diagonal!!! That's the key I was missing I think. Thank you!

I was flattening out the taper while it was laying flat on my anvil.
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One of my older videos and not my best, but maybe it will help.

You've got a lot of material left in the edges of your leaf. This can be "pulled" out using the edge of the hammer or the peen on a cross peen hammer.

You are practicing tapering which is good. To make a leaf you need to know how to taper (how to control the length of your tapers,) how to neck or fuller the metal, and how to spread.

From looking at the tip of your leaf, you are heading in the right direction with the taper on the tip. Try to get it a little sharper next time.

It looks like you did a good job thinning down the material behind the leaf. That is the necking or fullering part of things.

Your ONLY real trouble was spreading. From the center of your leaf, use the edge or peen of the hammer to pull that material out until it is paper thin. This will take some practice and hammer control, but each leaf will develop more profile as you develop your eye and coordination. To get that nice leaf profile, you'll want to pull more material out at the base of the leaf and less towards the tip.

It is difficult to describe, and hard to see on video. Try to locate a blacksmith near you and get a live demo. Your best bet is to go on ABANA and find some contact info for guild members near you. I did that when I was first starting and got some great advise from a guy about all sorts of stuff.

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I thought that was a very fine video Dave.

I noticed you said you were using 3/8-inch stock, mine is only 1/4 and I had been wondering if there just wasn't enough material to do what I'm trying to do. But I suspect it is more just getting the hammer blows down pat.

I think I'm going to back off these more advanced things for the time and focus on my tapering and scrolling for the time being.

Thanks for all the advice!

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I would not suggest 1/4-inch material for starters.

The guy that showed me the first few things I ever learned, told me to use 3/8-inch stock.

Three eighths is a happy medium: it doesn't loose heat so fast, there is enough material there to play with and to see what is going on, and there isn't so much material that you beat your brains out trying to forge it. I'd suggest going with 3/8 round or square.

In addition to practicing tapering and scrolling (which is a smart idea,) practice spreading. This can easily be incorporated into hook making as the screw hole bracket. Practice spreading the material evenly to both sides. This will prove a great help once you resume leaf making.
Here is my old J-hook video where I show how to spread the material for the screw hole bracket.

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