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I Forge Iron

Visual Progress - lots of pictures - and my first real post

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This is my first big post, you guys, and this site are awesome, hope you enjoy my newbie stuff!

Got my first full day of hammering in yesterday, going out again today. Up till now Ive been just reading/researching and getting things set up for as cheap as I can and now as I start working I will add the tools I need and buy what I need. In April I will have my workshop built at my house finally, but for now I have my stuff set up at my moms farm and I just make stuff for around there.
I'm starting out practical, no magical ninja weapon crafting here, reading till I understand the basic terminology of blacksmithing, hamering out basic projects that involve drawing/tapering/twisting/cutting and as I get comfortable with those I can make them more elaborate or move on to more complex items. I am approaching it like playing guitar, starting with a cheap beginner one because the things I would play wont sound any better on a high end model. Then as I use it, get the feel of it, and start to be held back by it as my skill increases I can justify spending the money on a nicer one I can appreciate and benefit from.

I'm working on a Rail anvil, its made from a 100lb piece of some type of crane railing I picked up for $20, sitting on a frame I built from 2x6 boards and a 1/2" steel plate. I will eventually cut the wood down so the rail is the tallest part and bolt it to the frame, but for now its working great. I know those straps will get burned eventually, but for $10 I'm not too worried.


and a ball peen hammer I got from my dads stuff after he passed away last year, I shined it up good!


So I grabbed my hammer and my 3/8 square A36 bar stock and here is what I was able to do yesterday, these are laying out in the order I made them, you can see how they got better as I went. The time consuming part is tapering 3/8 down to about 1/4 and keeping it square. It is good practice though so I don't mind for now, I got pretty good keeping my hammer blows in the same spot and just moving the work underneath it. I think Im going to straighten out that middle one when I go back today.


Here you see the start of one, tapering and drawing out the larger bar, turning a quarter turn every hit to keep it square.


When it is drawn out to where I want I do a scroll on one end.


then cut and scroll the other


then twist, quench, clean on a wire wheel, rub with vegetable oil


and hang


Couple others I made

Thanks for reading! I hope I can keep doing this and sharing as I learn.


This is the workshop I drew up, got a few quotes and Its going to be built in April, I needed some type of storage/work area out here anyway, but now its definitely going to be set up with blacksmithing in mind as well.

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Hey Daniel,

I see the height of your building is set to be between 8 and 10 feet. Making it 10 feet tall would be much better for blacksmithing purposes. Not only does it give a greater volume of precious air and keep the hot stuff away in the summer, but it also allows much more "head room" for swinging a large sledge hammer or manipulating longer pieces of stock around.

For keeping your rail anvil straight and upright(good job on making it vertical, more mass under the hammer) I would suggest getting a few 3/8" or so lag bolts and some large diameter, 1/8" thick or more washers. The washers could also be made from thick sheet metal by cutting out square pieces and drilling a hole for the lag bolt to go through. Use the lag bolts and big washers to attach the rail to the timber by drilling guide holes in the timber and screwing in the lag bolts so that the washers under them lap over onto the rail and grasp it to the timber. You would want the lag bolts to basically butt right up against the sides of the rail anvil.

If you get ahold of a post vise, your wood post that holds up the rail anvil would be a perfect place to mount it. Just on the opposite side of it as the rail anvil. Actually that kind of setup gives me a few ideas. . . hummm. That would be increadibly convenient for switching from vise to anvil.

It looks like you have already made some good progress with your hooks!

If you don't mind I would like to suggest a really great project that will help develop your ability to produce curves rapidly. It is the Treble Cleft Chime by Bill Epps, as liked to bellow.


From your analogy in your first post in this thread, this really sounds right up your alley. It was one of the first things that I made, besides the simple hooks like yours and although it is challenging to get correct, it is very rewarding when it is done right! The original is for 1/2" round stock, 36" long. I had found that the varience in stock width should be reflected in the original stock length otherwise the proportions don't look right. Such as 1/4" stock would be 18" long originally and 3/8" would be 27" long.

I also found that making the treble cleft from square stock, with it bent "on the diamond" that is with the corners sticking out in the bends. I liked that a lot more then using round stock to make it, but that may just be personal preference.

Keep up the progress!

Caleb Ramsby

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If you do indeed cut the wood down below the height of the rail, you may find it useful to sharpen the top of the flat side the sits flush against the wood on one side of the web and round it over on the other side of the web. This way you will have a fuller (basically a small anvil horn) and a hot cut in reach at all times. I tried to upload a pic to better demonstrate what I mean but was unable to. :( If you do this please be careful, while not a hardie protruding from the face of an anvil the sharp edge could still cause damage if careless.

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Great start! It's hard to tell if that's pressure treated wood in the picture, but if it is, be careful with your hot iron around it, that stuff is nasty when burned. If it's not, or even if it is, you could attach a piece of regular spruce or whatever (I've heard hardwood works better) to the top and keep a wooden mallet right there for straightening out your twists as you work. The wood flaring up as you straighten them adds a little "pizzaz" to your work :P, and it keeps hammer marks off the corners. Have fun!

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Thanks for the encouraging words and ideas!

To respond to some of you;
Greenbeast - Yes by quarter turn each hit I meant more that I flip it back and forth, not in a circle as I'm going, although I did try it, it really is more awkward.

Ramsberg - Thanks for the info on the bolts, I wasn't sure what sized I would use but I do want to do that for sure. That Treble Cleft Chime link just goes to the list of projects, I couldn't seem to find it in the list, is there another link?

yea3114u - I have seen someones rail anvil with those parts shaped like you mentioned, I may do something like that and make a leather sheath for it to cover when I'm working.

DanBrassaw- I got the non treated wood from lowes, I didnt want to breath that stuff in. I like the hardwood top idea though with the wooden mallet, that would make it look a bit nicer as well.

The second day I was able to make a few more, they were all looking good like the one here, it was my first that day, much better than my first one the day before.

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You're off to a flying start Daniel, good show. My shop has 14' eaves and even taking a full overhead swing with a double jack sledge you don't need that much. 10' minimum and 12' far far better is my opinion.

There's nothing wrong with shining up the hammer's face, stock moves easier under it as there's less friction, just don't get obsessed about it.

Well done on the rail anvil too but keep an eye open for either a "real" anvil or more rail, the curved rail surface has uses a flat face isn't so good for.

Frosty The Lucky.

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