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I Forge Iron

Sword Forge?


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Hello Everyone,


  I'm an aspiring metalsmith. Hoping to acquire the necessary equipment, gradually over the next few years, and more than likely throughout the rest of my life..(lol)

  I had a question about forges. Gas forges in particular.  I actually plan on starting small, with knives. But, I was curious.  Lets say I wanted to make a 56 inch overall length( including length of tang) Great Sword (I just broke a sweat thinking about that chore).  What size forge would be necessary for such a task?  I figured if the forge was able to tackle that feat, it would be able to handle any sword shorter.

  Does anyone make a gas forge that can handle that size project?  Or would it require a coal forge?  I am just not so sure coal is readily available in my area, also, I am not so sure my neighbors would appreciate me burning it. 

Or is there some detail I am missing about forges. Like only needing to heat sections of the blade at a time. Flipping it around and doing the other half.  That way, to accomodate a 56 inch sword, a forge that is 28-30 inches deep?..


Thanks for the help.


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Well you never want to heat more of your metal than you can work before it cools so your sword forge can be SMALLER than you knife forge as you will have a lot more heats in it! Heating the area you are not working results in grain growth, decarburization and scale losses all *BAD* things. The only time you need to heat it all up to temp is during heat treat so only a couple of heats vs many many heats during the forging. I dig a trench forge out in the back yard for long heats and use my regular forge otherwise.

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If you build a 30" long forge you'll go broke paying for the propane to heat it.  I'd suggest building a forge that gives you a chamber between 4 to 6 inches wide and 8 to 12 inches long.  Build it in such a way that you can pass a long piece of stock through the back of it.  That will allow you to work stock of any length, but also only heat as much steel as you would need to work in one heat.  That will save you a lot of fuel, and still give you the capacity and versatily you need.  As far as forging a sword, I have no advice to offer.  However, I do know that blacksmithing at it's simplest is made up of a handful of basic skills.  Once those basic skills are learned and mastered individually, you begin to learn how to use them in conjunction with one another in a way that produces whatever it is you're trying to make.  Take the time to master those basic skills first and in time you'll know what it would take to forge a sword. 

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