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I Forge Iron

Catalog of New Smith Projects.

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I'm going to fire this new forge this weekend (hopefully) and am wondering what projects to start with. I'd like to build up my tool base as quick as possible, but would like to do so in a progressive manner. That way I don't get frustrated and fixated on building a special tool that I have no business tackling yet.

My equipment consists of forge, anvil, channel locking pliers, and a coal shovel. And the list things I'm thinking of making are as follows.

1. Forge rake - simple steel bar bent at the end at a 90 degree angle with a curled handle.

2. Hardie cutting wedge - rail road spike, cut in half with a grinder cutoff disc and beat into the shape of hardie cutter.

3. Mid sized punch - round rod tapered and hardened in the shape of a punch.

4. First set of tongs - very basic set.

If you guys want to add any suggestions to this list or change the order let me know. If it looks to be a helpful reference for new smiths then feel free to make whatever it turns into sticky ;-).

Thanks again guys for all your help.




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I'm new to blacksmithing too.

I think the first tool I will try to make will be a nail header.

Then I'll start making mails...drawing out, tapering, cutting on a hardy, brading the head...

Alabama Forge Council : Artist Blacksmith Organization


EDIT: that link didn't work so I edited it. Lets see if it works now...

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Spike is too low carbon to make a great hardy, a railroad clip would work better. Don't cut it off with the grinder cutoff disc you could use a spike to hot cut it---won't last long but will bootstrap the system, or if your anvil has a sharp edge you can cut hot steel on that to build your hardy from.

I like jackhammer bit steel for hardies, esp if I can get one with the collar on it so it sits in the hardy hole well. I have been told that the Home Depo rental area will sell old ones for a couple of bucks. You may want to check other rental places. I would suggest annealing it if you can and hacksawing it down to size (or using the grinder) to start off with.

Make your punch out of coil spring and size it for your tong rivets.

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Ditto, RR spikes are too low carbon for most tools. They were intended to be tough with low fatigue characteristics.

Jack hammer bits are a decent choice, another is 5160 leaf spring stock. There are ups and downs to either steel. Jack hammer bits will take the heat and impact better but are a bear to forge if you need to reshape them. There are also heat treating issues with some jack hammer bit steels.

5160 is a lot more forgiving, easier to forge and heat treat and is easy to aquire. The downside is it isn't very heat resistant and if you don't exhibit care the heat from the stock being cut will damage the hardy's heat treatment.

Use the RR spikes for tong handles and other applications where a little springy toughness is desirable.


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I can't figure out how to reedit the first post in this message so if anyone knows how to do it let me know. For now I will attach the pics for the completed rake below.

It is ugly as sin, but it came from an old rusted bar of scrap iron/steel. I had one of those "Mommy look what I did" moments with the wife and she oohed and awed over it which was sweet.

I was actually surprised at how hot this new rivet forge got. I saw the stock I was working get light yellow hot and start sparking. So that means it hit welding heat right? If so I am stoked and very happy. That anthracite caught just fine with a "cheater" brick (firestarter) and my son and I mixed a batch of wet coal up and it made a good bit of coke in fairly short order.

I guess over all the rake didn't turn out too bad considering it was pitch dark outside and I only had the light of the iron and forge to guide me. This just makes me want to find a house to buy so much more, even though the rental we are living in is so nice and the rent is cheap. I've already got my smithy desgined in my head ;-).




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Looks like a very useable tool to me. Congrats. Be careful working in the dark, you may damage your eyes from looking into the coals without ambient light around your work area.

I find that after looking into a forge fire, I can't even see what I'm doing for a few seconds after it gets too dark outside. That's when I quit for the day. Just my 2 cents.

Forge on!

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