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Forging Contest Ideas

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In the last three years or so I have entered into several forging contests when being at conferences. In Illinois there was a fine one where a youngster and I competed against 3 or 4 other teams by taking a cylindrical piece of steel, and had to forge it into a cube. Sounds easy enough but the difference was you could only use one arm and when the whistle blew you had to switch up with your partner. Switching, meant going from holding the tongs or the hammer. We also were using wrought iron but did not know it till it came to pieces, then you had to forge weld it back into a cube. The other contests were drawing out a piece of steel, a couple times a washer was welded to one end and you only measured the amount sticking through the washer. I really enjoyed each of these contests and only won on one occasion. I would like to start having forging contests at some of our meetings here in MS but would like to know some of the contests Ideas any of you have already witnessed or posess in your mind. Please share some ideas so we can all benefit from this. I think it is best to keep them as simple as it can be, but still require technique. It is a great way to get people involved and we all can learn from it by seeing the different approach people take to get the task accomplished.

 

Thanks,

             Lyle Wynn

        Brandon, Mississippi

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Stuart thesmith mentioned on here once that at a meeting they had lunch..each person had to forge something to use to eat with that day...a spin off of that would work great.
A more lenghty test would be to forge a pair of tongs and use them to forge something else you have in mind for them. Judge tongs and the other item.

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I think in the past, Francis Whitaker suggested forge welding three chain links together (maybe 3/8" stock?). He also had a contest at one of his workshops, making a tong clip, the kind with the fullered indentations to catch the tong reins and hold them fast.

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This suggestion is just something I have via hearsay, I haven't seen it done nor tried it myself yet... I have heard this from a couple of old local smiths (Hertfordshire UK), that it was done as part of the unnofficial 'tests' before becoming journeymen and was supposed to be done in half an hour; which I think is going at a pretty fair rate.

 

Take 4" of half inch square stock, upset it to a 1" cube and then draw that down to a yard of wire.

 

I have a suspicion it would be amusing to see if you could get someone to try it the other way round, i.e. draw down to a yard of wire and then upset to a cube...

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I've seen a few things. One was to make a tomahawk from a railroad spike within a 30 minute limit - including punching the eye - extra credit given for creative fullering or decorative chiseling. Another was to upset a 2" piece of 3/4 square into a cube then punch a 3/4" square hole through the cube - also within 30 mins.

I also saw a blacksmith (Roy Bellows) attempt to punch a 3/4" square hole into a 3/4" cube from all three planes - he would have succeeded but the drift broke before he could finish. I didn't assist in the demo but it looked pretty tough to do - you have to go a little bit from every side so it stays balanced. I think this idea would make an interesting contest.

Have also seen a contest to forge as many nails as possible within 15 minutes. Contestants were judged on final quantity and consistency of length and cross section.

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This year at the Faba conference we had three different challenges. The first was for beginners to take a piece of 5" x 1/2" round and draw a long taper the longest one. The second was for advance smiths take a piece of 5"x 1/2" round and in three heats slit and drift a 1/2" hole draw a long taper then thread it through the hole. The longest pass through won. Third was taking a piece of round stock 1'dia x 3 1/2" and in a team of 2 one person striking and one holding with a time limit of 10 min make a cube and switch striker holder after five min.
LDW Your pres David was down and enjoyed the event.

one of the other competition I saw pictures of was 2 people each made 1/2 of a pair of tongs and they had to put them together. Looks like a lot of fun as well.

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Greetings All,

 

I like the one... 2 person team...   5inches of 1in round bar...  Forge in into the longest piece of 3/8 square as you can...  Judging is accuracy and length..  Fun to watch newbie strikers... 

 

Forge on and make beautiful things

Jim

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