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I Forge Iron

silver and copper


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The forges I have been reading about on here are primarily directed towards iron and steel. I am wondering if there is a differnce between your forges and perhaps the forge used by a silver smith, copper smith, or even gold perhaps

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They would probably use a gas forge, and mostly for annealing.  I doubt many non-ferrous smiths use a coal forge.  Copper, silver, and gold forge at a much lower temperature than iron.  And a lot of non-ferrous work is done cold.


Another big difference is that they keep most of their hammers and anvils polished to a mirror finish, so that marks are not transferred to the softer metal.

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I watched a gold forging demo at the ABANA conference in Seattle.  The smith (can't remember his name) polished a 10 lb hammer and a nimba anvil to a mirror surface and heated the gold ingot with a torch and a couple of fire bricks made into a box.


I was amazing to me how much force he used to forge the gold, at least to start.  He was really going to town, 2 handed full blows.



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I've done a bit of forging of copper and silver (mainly fine, some sterling and coin) using my forges.  If a solid fuel forge I prefer real chunk charcoal to avoid the sulfur issues, (just wearing my silver around the forge will tarnish it) In a propane forge I like a single soft firebrick forge using a common plumbing propane torch.


Big thing to watch out for is TEMPERATURE, a forge can very easily melt copper or silver if you are not careful---CONSTANT VIGILANCE!


I hot forge both metals---a lot faster than just using the forge for annealing and for most of my pre Y1K stuff the basic shaping can be done hot.  Watch out for too much time at temp on copper as it builds up copper oxides along the grain boundries and then starts cracking.


Most non-ferrous metal smiths work cold and only use a furnace for annealing and so a torch with a rosebud tip and a surface of refractory material is all they need.

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