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I Forge Iron

Hello from Woodforge


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I thought I would introduce myself, name is Mark & I am ashamed to say I am not really a blacksmith but I want to learn about it. I do have a small English made 85 lb anvil & tools but no forge. The name woodforge I chose because I like to wood carve (not whitlin'-carving) and make handles for tools for other people & myself.

The reason I got interested in blacksmithing is because I have collected old tools for 25 years now & for the last 15 years or so collecting tomahawks & Indian trade axes along with other Indian trade pieces. I have been writing a book on the subject of Indian Trade Axe makers for the last 7 years amasing over 550 different blacksmith names and marks from all over the world related to the fur trade axes which I am trying to track down. So naturally it makes sense for me to learn as much as I can about blacksmithing.

I am trying to learn when various iron processes began, such as cast steel began around 1740 I believe but when was it used on an industrial scale to make drop forged items? What were the tools most used by a frontier blacksmith in the thickest wilderness? What are the best books to learn about how blacksmithing was done in the 1600's-1800's.

I do have a link on ebay's guide section for anyone interested in identifying tomahawks & trade axes from reproductions or outright fakes.
eBay Guides - Trade Axes Tomahawks--Authentic or Reproduction

Well, heres to us all learning something!

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Welcome Mark! You have nothing to be ashamed of . .It is honorable that you want to learn. It would be rather shameful if you started saying you were a blacksmith and made up lies and stuff. ..

All of us here learn everyday and try to help each other as best we can.
I cannot call myself a blacksmith either as I just finished the first trials on my forge that's situated 25 miles away from where i live ..and I'm currently attending school. .so no time.

But in the time I have I also like to learn new things about this.

Welcome on board :D

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Let's see:

Moxon's "Mechanics Exercises" was published in 1703 but dates slightly earlier, in modern reprint by Astragael (sp?) press

Diderot's Encyclopedia from the end of the 1700's has tons of info though the most common reprint is quite abridged

"Practical Blacksmithing" by Richardson is a collection of smithing articles form the late 1880's early 1890's---covers switching from wrought iron to bessemer steels!

"Ironworks on the Saugus" discusses a bit of the technological status of ironworking in Amrica in the early colonial period.

You might find usefull "Steelmaking Before Bessemer, vol 1 blister steel; vol 2 crucible steel" to be very interesting even if a bit focused on England.

As for cast steel being used to make drop forged items I'd say very late with much more likely drop forging wrought iron and then welding on the steel cutting edges. Actually I would think that Bessemer steel would come around before much drop forging of cast steel was done---However I may be wrong and would suggest a good technological history of say Sheffield or Solingen might speek to this.

Note that "The Arms of Krupp" mentions the competition on which country could cast the largest cast steel ingot in the early 19th century.

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Well Mark, you have come to the right place. There is nothing but endless information here. I, personally, don't know much about what you are looking for, but I guarantee that someone here does.

You may not do any blacksmithing at present, but I think we can change that! :D But welcome aboard, none the less.

-Tony (Hillbillysmith)

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Where are you located? Not your specific street address, just your state / region.

I know a couple guys that really know their stuff on hawks & axes.


Hi Don,
I'm in NE Ohio in Amish country so theres a chance I may get a bigger anvil at one of the Amish auctions--if only just to hear that beautiful ringing noise when you hammer it. If only I had a forge. And a place to put it!
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go to the top of the forum page, click on user CP, click on edit profile, to the bottom of the page and enter your location and save.

LB0003 Blacksmithing Forges
LB0003.0001 Blacksmithing Forges

These 3 forges can be built with little or no cost.

Blueprint BP0238 Side Blast Forge is most likely the simplest forge you can build. It takes the least amount of tools, little skill, and the least time to complete.

Blueprint BP0133 The 55 Forge is another very simple design that takes only a few tools, some skill and only a couple of hours to build. This is similar to the rivet forge design, or the pan forge.

Blueprint BP0333 The Supercharged 55 Forge is the next generation of the design. It still takes only a few tools, some skill and a couple of hours to build. This forge produces less smoke due the design which both burns and dilutes the smoke from the fire.

Look at BP0390 First Fire at the Forge, the 55 Forge on a portable base.

The idea is to build your first fire and get started. Then you can take your time looking for another forge while you play in the fire.

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