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Items to make as a test of ones skills

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Given all the daft questions I ask in here this might be presumptuous but what would be a good item to make to test ones skills?

I've been smithing for nearly 6 years now and I'd like to start really pushing my limits. As much as I enjoy making pokers and such like, these aren't forcing me to improve.

The truth of it is that I'd like to go professional and I still don't feel confident enough to do that.

Andy

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make a chest: including all the straps, locks, corner braces, rivets, hinges....

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How about producing some nice scrolls of different types without the use of a jig and setting them all with collars? Maybe make a nice gate or something along that sort of lines.

 

Or take a walk about and find something forged and see if you can reproduce it?

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One of our local churches has some hinges on the front doors a bit like these that I always admire whenever I pass it. Always think that if I could make something like this then I would at least be getting somewhere.

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post-30666-0-79812000-1369347356_thumb.jpost-30666-0-72780000-1369347388_thumb.jpost-30666-0-00703900-1369347472_thumb.jGreetings Mac,

 

You ask for it.. Make this with only 1 piece of 1/2 x1/2 stock 24 in long without any forge welding of any kind or welding .  No breaks and only one rivet..   Except for 1 small copper drip pan and a match.

 

You ask for a challenge      Jim

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attachicon.gifcandle 3.jpgattachicon.gifcandle 4.jpgattachicon.gifcandle 2.jpgGreetings Mac,

 

You ask for it.. Make this with only 1 piece of 1/2 x1/2 stock 24 in long without any forge welding of any kind or welding .  No breaks and only one rivet..   Except for 1 small copper drip pan and a match.

 

You ask for a challenge      Jim

 

Can you give us a pic from/of the underside please?

 

And shots without the candle or drip pan?

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even though you make lots of pokers, they can be as tricky and fancy as your mind can conjour!  Look at the animal heads, baskets, etc I use them  (and coat hooks) to practice elements like that rather than cock up on a  larger job, yet stillgie me somethign that (if it comes out ok) can still be sold

 

unfortunately suggesting things to push your skills will depend on where they are at now ;)  Would making a hinge swivel on a pintle push you, or does it need to be a petled rose with some leaves firewelded on?

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attachicon.gifcandle 6.jpgGreetings John,

 

Pictures from my I phone  poor    But..... Jim

 

Thanks Jim, not that poor, thoughts confirmed, and a great little exercise in metal manipulation, make a nice little live competition piece, don't know about testing the skill range though.

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Oh wow, I can't believe it took 3 hours for it to occur to me how you did the base without the twists going different directions.  Until I saw that detail, I was thinking you bent it, cut down the middle, spread it out a little, twisted one end down into the hole a few times and then flattened the bottom between a piece of hardwood and a hammer.  I really need to stop driving finishing nails with that 16 pound sledgehammer.  At least I can say I wasn't actively thinking on it for the past 3 hours, so I can claim some small level of intelligence.

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Two things come to mind, both very challenging for a humble amateur such as myself...

 

1) Forge weld a cirlce in 1/2" squage stock so that you can't see the join (by finding a change in thickness). Welding a strong circle is not so hard; but it took me a lot of tries to get sufficient upset metal to remain at the weld-site to be able to blend it well with the rest of the ring.

 

2) Take a piece of flat stock, say 1/4" x 1" x 16", split it down the middle lengthways from each end for about 7", and then open out the 'arms' a few inches. That's the easy bit. Now forge the centre part down - as you open out the arms - to give a symmetrically even cross without pinching either the centre itself or the base of any of the arms. A small radius rather than a sharp corner is ideal. This is much more difficult than it sounds, even John B has said it isn't easy to do well...

 

I think the second test is harder, and becomes even more so if you use stock thinner than 1/4"; although the first is not easy using 1/2" x 1/4" stock (I'm still struggling with that.)

 

The practical use of these things is that they can be combined to make a flywheel / governor for a spit engine (also known as a spit jack or clock jack in the US).

 

Good luck.

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I have recently started concentrating on arrow heads and forge welding 3 to 4mm stock to an arrow socket with a wall thickness of less than 1mm can be tricky. no space for errors, symmetrical balanced etc one wrong blow and you are done.

 I have a pile of failures from arrow head making that would make my pile of failed damascus jealous for my time.

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Cheers guys. I'll start with the chest and go from there. Animal heads etc are not something I've done a great deal of either so I'll do a few of those too.

I must say I really like the candle stand. It is really very nice. I think that will definitely be a challenge for me.

Cheers
Andy

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attachicon.gifcandle 3.jpgattachicon.gifcandle 4.jpgattachicon.gifcandle 2.jpgGreetings Mac,
 
You ask for it.. Make this with only 1 piece of 1/2 x1/2 stock 24 in long without any forge welding of any kind or welding .  No breaks and only one rivet..   Except for 1 small copper drip pan and a match.
 
You ask for a challenge      Jim


You mind if I ask what kind of time you have invested in a piece like this?

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make a key and a lock, that should keep your mind busy


Hey I can do that.....it's the part where the key has to unlock the lock that gets me!

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Greetings Sparky,

 

To answer your question... It took about 7 hours to complete...  The hardest thing is to plan required material for the 4 elements and what to forge first.. As you can imagine what goes in the fire first and how do I access it..   When to rivet and how do I match the jelly roll scrolls...  I guess I have a goofy mind because it came out just as I had pictured...  I have made others with different elements.  The Impressions on the base were made on the flypress while still square prior to twisting...

 

I always said to my customers " if you can dream it I can make it "   I just hope you can afford it....

 

Forge on and do great things..

 

Jim

 

Jim

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I completely agree with Frank Turley.  Making various types of tongs will test your mettle.

 

There are many blacksmith books that show differing types of tongs.  If you don't have the books (even if you do), use BING to search for "blacksmith tongs", then display the results as images.  You can page down and look at the images as presented, or click on one to get a larger image of one of the pictures and then click on the ">" on the right side of the image to bring up one picture at a time.

 

There are even some progression pictures (showing the steps you go through to make tongs) if you look enough.

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