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There seems to be a lot of material about how to make a ram's head and bull heads but very little about other animal heads. I find them useful for bottle opener handles, poker handles, billy lifters etc.
I am often asked 'Can you make a horse's head?' and recently one visitor wanted a lion's head poker.
Has anyone had any success with either of these, and are there any other animal heads which are possible to forge?
How about a forum 'Show me your Animal Heads'??

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hit up amazon and get yourself a copy of 'the iron menagerie', its 16$ and has something like 15 different animal heads.  some are the same animal at different level of detail, so not all are unique species.

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Along the lines of Darryl Nelson's Dvd's I got his bear head video. I plan on getting his other videos also. Then when I first watched it I took over two hours taking notes on the first 20 minutes of the DVD. Not sure how much notes I took overall. But the level of detail is wonderful. Being a member of the NWBA I have the priveledge of seeing him in person almost monthly. He does a great job demonstrating so people can learn from him. I emphatically agree with Gerald about his stuff. I also agree with the others in the iron menagerie book is useful and Brian Brazeal has some good horsehead videos out there.

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Thanks for the link to Darryl Nelson's videos. That ram's head is just incredible. The detail and proportion are so accurate. Nice how he does the horns without twisting. I will invest in those videos to improve my own work. I like his full bodied ram too.
I will also look up the iron menagerie book on Amazon.
Thank you all for the help.

PS. Has anyone forged a lion's head?? I've seen them on the handle of knives, but they appear to be cast not forged. Wonder if Darryl Nelson would have a go at one. I'm sure it's possible.

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Take some clay or play-doh and figure it out. When you have figured out a starting sequence, fire up the forge and don't be afraid of starting.

 

Darryl figured them out by using his thinking cap, maybe there is a hat store near you.

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I'm awful at making animal heads, but I have some suggestions. It's good to work against a small anvil block that can be held in the vise. Valley Forge* used to sell them. It was a 2" square block sawn corner to corner, so you're using one half of that with the 45 degree angle facing you while it's in the vise. A small flat piece is arc welded on the bottom flat, offset to one side and angled toward the worker. The neck area of the animal head is "trapped" between the flat bar and the other vise jaw, so that the head portion is resting immobile on the 45 degree angle.

 

Heating with the torch is recommended. The chasing tools can be used at a good forging heat and also low finishing heats. Hot chisels are best used at a low red heat to minimize scale, and additionally, the metal shears better at the lower heats. Another reason, all the better to see what you're doing.

 

*Jere Kirkpatrick, Willits, California

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The Florida Artist Blacksmith Association has a great online resource, and you don't even need to be a member to view the info.  Here is the linkhttp://blacksmithing.org/resources/howto/.  A ton of Animal heads.  Just 30 min ago I finished this one.  It's the first animal head I have ever done,  I still want to do some file work to refine the shape, but I am pretty happy with him.  If you live in Florida I strongly suggest you join.  Only $25 for the year, monthly meetings and a newsletter that always has a good project in it.

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  • 4 years later...

Good to know. While there are those that certainly could, I was thinking there is no way I could forge those that nice without catastrophic failure. Lol. Eh, maybe with a lot of practice, but it's nice having tools to mitigate possible issuees. 

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When I started I had no assurance of success but I went ahead anyway. Risk is part of learning. When I got them shaped, they were still flat. I then had to bend and twist them. With them so thin at that point it didn't take much to heat, but they also didn't hold that heat long. I had to keep careful watch so I didn't work too cold and break them. 

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Great video of the bird's head. I think I caught a glimpse of the rest of the bird in the background there. Would like to see the finished piece. Classy work.

I was wondering how he gets on arc welding with no gloves or sleeves. I would be suffering 'sunburn'.

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17 hours ago, ausfire said:

Отличное видео о птичьей голове. Я думаю, что мельком увидел остальную часть птицы там на заднем плане. Хотелось бы увидеть готовый кусок. Классная работа.

Мне было интересно, как он попадает на дуговую сварку без перчаток и рукавов. Я бы страдал от «солнечных ожогов».

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