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I Forge Iron

starting out


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Well the *best* way is to lean to smith first and then learn to make knives of monosteels and then learn to do patternwelding.

Now if you want to try to shorten that path you could take classes given by the American Bladesmith Society.

As it stands your question reads much like this "Hi I've never driven a car before; but I just got one and want to know how I can win Formula 1 races with it"

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One of the saddest things I have seen were blades made by a person who did excellent pattern welding but his knifemaking skills were quite bad---fit and finnish and design were terrible and all that work welding up the billets was wasted!

Do you have the hammer control to forge out a blade that doesn't need 50% of it ground off to get it smooth?
Have you worked with steel enough to know how to work high carbon steels in the forge without causing cracking by working too cold or burning up by working too hot? Can you accurately take a piece of steel and forge it into the proper shape for a knife without cold shuts or stress concentrators?

Even jumping up and down and holding your breath till you turn blue *won't* get you forging good patternwelded material any faster than starting with the basics and proceeding as fast as your skills develop! What will help is to start a directed study of what you need to know when you get there.

I assume you have purchased "The Complete Bladesmith, The Master Bladesmith and the Pattern Welded Blade" all by Hrisoulas and read them several times cover to cover?

If you want to go straight to knives get a auto coil spring and cut it down opposing sides to make a lot of CCCC pieces and start learning how to forge them into blades and how to do heat treat and finishing and Test them to Destruction till you start getting *good* blades!

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There's nothing wrong with setting your sights high Jason but there're only so many shortcuts a person can successfully take. Thomas has laid out what's probably the most likely to succeed course to set yourself. Taking a bladesmithing course or attaching yourself to a bladesmith is maybe better. You can learn on your own but it's a long road, full of failed projects. Failed projects are how I learned, learning from my mistakes means I SHOULD hold several PHDs!

Frosty The Lucky

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Most of us won't live long enough to be able to make all the mistakes on our own. Being able to learn from the mistakes of others really does speed up the process!

I have a half fallen cottonwood to cut down soon. I plan to learn from Frosty's birching and avoid similar results!

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And actually it's a good way to go; much better than starting *big* and failing *big* and giving up in frustration!

I still have my *first* blade hammered out over 30 years ago when I didn't even know how to straighten it when pounding in the bevel causes it to curve. It's been a long strange road---I even spent a year apprenticed to a sword maker! (6 days a week in the shop, no pay---I lived off my savings in an old trailer stuck out on a farm, two meals a day with the Swordmaker's family...)

So start small and remember poco a poco se hace mucho!

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