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fields.rafael

New Member/Beginner Blacksmith

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Hi everyone. My name is Rafael and I am new to this forum as well as new to the trade. For as long as I can remember bladesmithing has been a passion of mine, as well as blades in general. I have spent countless hours reading books and researching the subject, but have very limited hands on experience (several lessons with a local blacksmith). I am looking to start my own shop, a simple one with just the basics. First, I intend to build a forge. I have found several plans for simple to build forges, (http://www.timlively.com/washtubforge.htm or http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/metalworking/4303543) but I am not sure which one is better, or if there is a better one out there. Next would an anvil and tools. Any advice on where to pick up a usable set of tools or an anvil without spending an arm and a leg? Also, any advice on which tools are a must have for a beginner?

Thanks

PS. any ideas for some simple beginer techniques to practice or simple projects to start with?

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First go to your profile and list your location. IForgeIron is visited by 150 world wide countries so to get you better information we need to know which country or state you live in.

Go to the IForgeIron chat room Wednesday Night 10 pm Eastern time US for the knife chat. They are giving lessons on how to build a knife from nothing to a finished knife.

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Give some thought to your question---If I asked you "should I get a dumptruck or a Honda accord to drive?" You would be kind of lost making a recommendation without knowing if I needed to transport a ton of gravel or commute to a job. Just so with recommending a forge with no knowledge as to how you plan to use it!

The lively forges are easy to build and are tweaked both for use of real chunk charcoal and for bladesmithing. If you don't plan to go that route then it's not a good fit for you!

Frankly I think the Popular Mechanics forge STINKS! For one thing you don't want or need a quench tank right next to the forge most steel you will be forging will be A36 or higher carbon and should be normalized NOT quenched!

The other thing is that I don't see slots in the side of the forge to allow you to get long stock down to the hot spot---a MAJOR FLAW in the design. To me it feels like it was designed by someone who had heard about blacksmithing but never done any! Note my first forge was made from a cast iron sink---but an old Farm sink that was about 1/2 as deep as the new sinks are and so the hot spot was about level with the edge of the sink and not down in it. They did raise the tuyere up using firebricks that would help some; but then the make it deep and then pay extra to shallow it seems a bit off. Remember in use you generally want your metal going in horizontally or a very shallow angle. The forge fire has layers, starting from the tuyere: Oxidizing, neutral, reducing, neutral, oxidizing---the top where it's exposed to air. You want to get your piece in neutral to reducing if you can.


I strongly suggest you spend some time going to the local ABANA Affiliate meetings and getting an idea of how things work; who knows someone may even have a loaner forge or even a "give away" I gave away my brake drum forge when I moved.

Search on a brake drum forge or 55 gallon drum forge

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Welcome aboard Raphael, glad to have you. Take a look in the IFI section about contacting blacksmithing groups in your area and hook up with one. You'll learn more in an hour or two with an experienced smith than days or months trying to learn on your own. That said, learn to forge first than take a shot at making blades. Once you've learned the dance making blades is an application of the craft. Trying to learn to make blades before learning the craft is like wanting to enter Indy before learning to drive. Okay, that's an exaggeration but not as much as you might think.

I know of which I speak, I'm mostly self taught, spent years and years at it. Sure wish I'd had some classes available or even just knew a smith I could've pestered. I'm not saying learning yourself is a BAD thing, it's just a lot slower, it IS fun though, nobody around to tell you X isn't going to work so sometimes you make a thing that "won't work" work just fine from blessed ignorance. No joke.

The knife chats are "run" by some outstanding bladesmiths and well worth joining. Heck, I'll maybe be there and I'm NOT a bladesmith. Tonight though there's a Halloween party at church and those are fun Fun FUN. <grin>

Frosty The Lucky.

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