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Hello, I Forge Iron community! So happy to join! 

 

I have a few questions, as I'm new to forging axes (but utterly obsessed). 

 

1. I am considering a project where I pattern weld some coil spring steel together to use as a carbon insert tip for folded hawks. As long as my welds are solid (I know, I know. Easier said than done, right?) I shouldn't have any trouble with splitting or anything, right? I'm hoping to be able to see the pattern welded layers on the tip of the hawk. I think I've seen this before? 

2. I'm all about recycling and upcycling steel. Generally, are lawn mower blades high carbon? Or are they just a bit harder than hot rolled or cold rolled steel? I've been given 3 of them from a zero-turn mower (and if they're carbon, I have more on the way). 

3. I'm interested in forging historical blades, mainly from the Viking era. I'd like to forge mainly axes, but long blades and seax would be fun, too. Other than just giving it a whirl (in which I've gave a few stabs at), are there any literature pieces that you as a community like to refer people to? I have some in my library now, but always looking to expand :) 

4. I've been hammering and smithing for about 2 years now, but only started forging and finishing axes in the last 6-7 months or so. I'm looking for some good chisels to do some metal carving/engraving into ax heads. Do you, as a community, have any that you find to be tried and true? Best recommendations? 

 

Thanks so much! Happy hammering! 

-Benton 

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Coil spring may be difficult to weld to itself especially automotive coil spring.  (depending on the exact alloys involved)

 

If you are doing edge tools and edged weapons you should know how to test steel by now:  heat a thin section and quench in water and then WEARING EYE PROTECTION try to break the quenched section with a hammer: Broke while quenching---high carbon; Shattered with gentle hammering---high carbon,  Bends but with difficulty upper end of low carbon.  Bends easily pretty much zero carbon.

 

Remember that no two pieces of scrap metal have to be the same alloy---the manufacturer can switch alloys whenever they feel it's in their best interest!

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Welcome aboard Benton, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the header you'll be surprised at how many of the IFI gang live within visiting distance.

 

Mower blades are generally a medium carbon steel as toughness is more important than edge holding in the hard impact world of a lawn mower. I'm thinking mower blades would make fine axes, weld in a HC bit is better still.

 

There's enough chrome in typical automotive coil spring to make it tricky to down right hard to weld, especially to itself. Doable for sure, just not easy.

 

There's a large section devoted to bladesmithing here, inhabited by some of the best makers on Earth. If you were to pack a lunch, something to drink, pull up a comfy chair and spend a week or so reading, taking notes and printing out pages you couldn't go wrong.

 

Just as a for instance, without some base knowledge you can't ask a good question let alone understand the answer.

 

Oh, and as a last forum thing, we LOVE pics, project, progress, shop, tools, equipment, house, yard, family, dogs, scenery, dinner dishes, etc. Darned near any thing. <grin>

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank you two so much for your responses! (and quickly, at that!) I'm in Evansville, Indiana, which is the very South Western "toe of the boot" of the state. 

 

I've done quite a bit of research on forge welding, but I'm finding it's much like anything else in smithing; everyone does it different. Some say light taps, others say bash the heck out of it. I've done research in books such as Swedish Blacksmithing and a bunch of others. What do you find works best? A tack weld, then pound it? Or just from the start hammer the heck out of it? 

 

Thanks! Here's a folded hawk/ax I did. Had a bad forgeweld on one side. I think you can see it. Has a tool steel insert from a jackhammer bit. 2014-03-07_21-42-16_762.jpg

2014-03-07_21-42-36_996.jpg

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Bill Merritt from out your way often demonstrates forge welding using a hammer handle to set the weld.

 

I do a firm but not sharp hit to set the weld and then hammer harder---sort of a "thump---WHAP WHAP WHAP"

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The first time I forge welded anything scared the heck out of me when that first "WHAP" like pop noise came out. I almost jumped out of my boots. My step dad was a farrier for 30 years so he'd welded before, he was expecting it. 

Bill Merritt, I'll have to look him up. My little home town of New Harmony has a blacksmith come every year and set up a booth at Kunstfest. I've chatted with him before about welding, too. There are a lot of talented smiths around here, just no sense of community, involvement, or connection like there are in other places. A lot are ABANA members, though. 

I've had thoughts of starting an Ohio Valley Blacksmith's Association or something. 

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How far are you from the Southern Indiana Meteor Mashers?  Might be worth a drive every now and then.  Also think about going to the IBA conference in early June a bit above Indianapolis.

(and before you say too far just remember I plan to drive a 25 year old truck from New Mexico to Ohio to attend Quad-State...)

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After I made that post, I did some research on the IBA and have decided to join. I'm probably an hour and a half or so form the Meteor Mashers. Never met the fellas, but I may shoot 'em an email and see if I can go observe their work. Definitely not too far! 

 

I'm considering driving up to the IBA conference that Saturday or something, it's only about a 3 hour 45 min haul from Evansville. I'm just sad I can't participate in the Norse Ax class that week prior! 

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Back when it was a 2 hour drive each way to get to SOFA meetings for me,  we started a carpool; lots more fun and cheaper to travel in a group. We would stop at a good fleamarket on the way and descend on smithing stuff like a hoard of locusts---and then go have a slice of pie at the FFA booth...

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Yeah, I'm a firm thump to set the weld first kind of guy. Hitting it hard first blow can do a couple bad things, it can rebound out of contact or slide a tad and shear it, neither of which will make a weld. The idea is to get the two pieces of stock close enough together they start sharing electrons. To do so there can't be anything between them and the heat excites the atoms enough the electrons get their traveling shoes on and go visiting.

 

Old time machinists can tell you about some new guy stacking Joe Blocks and discovering them welded together next morning. Joe Blocks (Gauge Blocks) are precision ground to be dead flat and finished blemish free, just shy of polished so precise measurements can be made to correct or verify micrometers, verniers, etc. A little film of oil keeps them from rusting but doesn't inhibit the weld.

 

The finish is so fine they'll stick on contact requiring a a bump to break them loose but leave them together very long and they'll weld.

 

Without doing that level of prep work we heat the steel/iron which not only excites the atoms but softens the surfaces enough a light impact or squeeze brings the two or more pieces so close the atoms begin exchanging first electrons then nucleii and they become one.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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