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Hi there!

I'm a beginning blacksmith, I found ODBSA last spring and started attending the meetings. I've seen demonstrations by Charles McRaven, Dan Easley, and Elmer Roush, had a day of hands-on instruction at a coal forge, and set up a small forge of my own. At my forge I've made a hook, a hot punch, a few knives, started on a pair of hinges, and a pair of tongs. I also got a few hours in at another coal forge at Danny Ward's Farrier School earlier this month (ODBSA "Challenge"), and made another partial set of tongs. :rolleyes:

I use a box bellows (first thing I made for it) and my forge is just a bunch of firebricks stacked up. I tried hardwood lump charcoal but couldn't get much heat without a lot of popping and throwing embers out. I found that chunks of wood worked as well or better. Through experimentation I've started using a chimney arrangement and adding the wood (now using bull pine) chunks at the top so they're charred by the time they're in the actual firebox. I haven't been able to achieve more than bright orange heat but that's OK for now.

The anvil I'm using right now is not very good, a piece of rail that was given to me. It had a flat sided "horn" cut on one end which I rounded up a bit but would need a lot more work to be really useful. Too much of the bottom flange was cut away and the top is rounded off to one side since it's used rail. I'm looking for a better anvil, thinking about buying a 286lb Euro Anvil. That would be my first real investment.

Here are a couple of the (rustic) knives I've made, both of these came from a spike. The smaller one has some cold shuts (from the head of the spike - DOH!) so I didn't bother to heat treat it, it's a "letter opener". I did quench and temper the bigger one, so I can test my work. I'm working on a larger one from a whole spike for a friend. All of these balance at the junction of the handle and blade, although I didn't test them until they were annealed for sharpening.

Thanks for the forum, I'm sure I'll be learning a lot here!

Good Luck!


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I didn't really get involved in blacksmithing to make knives, I want to learn to make colonial style door hardware and other useful things. Of course knives are fun to make and making anything is good practice. The third one is better, the handle is more aligned with the blade (from above).

Good Luck!

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BeaverDamForge, I also welcome you to IFI.
Just like Mike Tanner, I like your knives also.
You mentioned that “I didn't really get involved in blacksmithing to make knives”.
I was also never really interested in making knives until I came aboard IFI.
But now I try to grasp any information about knife making that I can because it keeps the basics of blacksmithing near the surface for me.
I have formed an opinion that the knife makers found here at IFI help keep the blacksmithing technical information alive.
The knife makers not only seem to keep us updated with forge building information, and forging techniques, but I believe most importantly they keep the topic of heat treating alive and in our grasp should we have any questions.
The knife making process seems to translate over very well into making tools.
Now that is where my interest lies. I am an official 12-step tool junkie.
The knife makers have helped me with a lot of ideas that I apply to tool making. It’s kind of like stealing from them. So please don’t show this to anyone of them.
In summary, I would suggest that you keep knife making as a part of your blacksmithing expertise. It looks like you have a great start!
Be safe!
Old Rusty Ted

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Thanks for the welcome, guys!

Ted, you make some good points. :) I had a friend who was a knifemaker, and I've been to shows with him and collected a few knives, unfortunately only one of his. I had thought about becomming a knifemaker but I needed income at that time and there is a lot of competition. I would have needed to make more knives than would have been fun in order to survive. Trying to make a living is a good way to ruin a hobby.

I'm not sure what got me going this spring. (edit: I'll take that back, I found the ODBSA website. An offer to learn blacksmithing with a local club that has no dues, only a small contribution at each meeting you attend. A good friend joined at the same time, that helped too.)

AM: BFD might be more appropriate... :D

Good Luck!

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Great to have you as a member! The ODBSA is a big group with several talented smiths involved. There are several guilds in Virginia. More than any other state. We are lucky!

Here are a few others:
Central Virginia Blacksmith Guild: Central Virginia Blacksmith Guild - CVBG Home Page
Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac: Tidewater Blacksmith's Guild of Virginia : ABANA (Artist Blacksmith Association of North America) affiliate.
Tidewater Blacksmith Guild: BGOP
Blacksmith Guild of Virginia: Blacksmith Guild of Viriginia - Home

I am a member of several of the state guilds along with ABANA: [ABANA] The Artist Blacksmith's Association of North America, Inc. That way I can soak in all the blacksmithing goings on in Virginia and North America.

I hope to see you around sometime!

Peyton Anderson

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