Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Finally got around to joining properly


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

I've been a serial lurker here for a fairly long time (since so often what I search for in Google brings me here ;)); but never felt the need to join...but...

Now I've got my first little charcoal forge up and running, found myself a leg vise (must weigh 40 kilos and I came across it cheap while I was out in the wife's little car...nearly had a hernia trying to get it laid down on the back seat without ripping anything :D ), and just converted an old cross-peen hammer into a forging hammer (a LOT of work with a 10 cent file and some sandpaper involved in that), an old vacuum cleaner is hooked up for air, and I found a crappy cheap anvil (it's already got a couple of dings in it and I've only just started using it!).

I'm sure you've seen it before, I want to give forging a try without spending too much. Over the last few months I've picked up some old files at flea-markets, various tools I hope I'll need, and so on.

I'll be trying to make a knife to start off and REALLY enjoyed actually moving some hot steel around today.(edit: after really spending a few hours hitting stuff today, I guess I'll be starting with some tongs...I had a horrible job holding things properly while I hit them ).

I'll be looking around pretty seriously before I actually ask any questions because it looks like there's TONNES of stuff here. Just felt good about how it went today and felt ike joining properly.

(Enthusiastic gushing over! ;) )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome!  Sounds like you have a good start, a good postvise is more important than a fancy London pattern anvil for bladesmithing.  A good large chunk of STEEL will make a much better anvil than a cast iron ASO like HF sells.  Please think of editing your profile to give a general location as many blacksmithing questions have a location component to them and it's easier to not start each post with "I'm near XYZ and need..."    (even technique questions may devolve to "Go have Fred show you how, he's just down the road from where you are at...")

Starting with knives is usually an exercise in frustration and wasted time; but almost all my males students have  wanted to do so.  Even after my talk on how learning hammer control and fire management *first* will save many many hours with the file.  After spending 4-6 hours trying to remove hammer dings only to realize that the resultant blade will be too thin for their intended use they realize that it's a "I told you so" scenario.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome aboard Shako, glad to have you. If you've been lurking I'm sure you already know what us old curmudgeons are going to say about learning blacksmithing by making a blade. Soooo, I'm not going to straing my fingers repeating it.

Keep an eye open for a piece of shafting in the 4" range, round or square isn't too important. A truck axle mounted flange up is one of my favorite expedient anvils. It has great depth of rebound (steel directly under the impact zone) and the flange and bolt holes make all kings of really handy tool holders.

An old sledge hammer head is as good or better an anvil than humanity has been using for most of the iron age. Fancy is for formal dinner wear not a blacksmith's shop.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses.....I live in France, and I fear that the easy-going support that I read you guys giving out here ("I'm only about an hour away by car, drop by and I'll give you and old vise that I no longer use" ) may be less simple for me ;) !

Knives are certainly what pulled me towards smithing in the first place  (could have been worse, I could have said "SWORDS! :D ). But honestly the whole traditon of smithing, along with the satisfaction of shaping things to your own ends is very appealing to me. I also have a real sense of disgust when you need a little item ( a hook, a pin etc and you have to buy it prepackaged and expensive)

I bought a copy of Lorelei SIms 'The Backyard Blacksmith' and think that I'll be trying a some of the projects she shows (especially the tools), but also have Tim Livey's 'Knifemaking Unplugged'...which makes things look deceptively simple...lol!

Both of you have said it....'coming into forging with your eyes fixed on forging a knife is a recipe for disappointment and frustration'! Yep, I hear you both. I also have seen you demostrating MASSIVE PATIENCE explaining this and beginner advice to person after person. Hats off to you both, I'm impressed. I'll try not to ask things you've answered dozens of times already ;)...


ON THE OTHER HAND...surely it's those rather naive dreams that actually pull us to smithing in the first place...no? I'll be trying to my build tools as I go...eyes firmly fixed on a shining goal. That should give me plenty of chance to learn, to start to appreciate the practise of forging rather than chasing shiny baubles like breath-takingly beautiful knives  If forging metal is going to seduce me, it'll have plenty of time to work its charms. :wub:  (Imagine that this place is a trendy nightclub (going to have to use my imagination a bit here...) and I tell you "That FANTAAASTICALLY beautiful woman over there keeps on smiling at me and waving me over"...You COULD answer "Sheesh man, you're a bit of a noob at this, go dance with that balding chick with the limp, she's more your level" Me: "Yeah, but I want HER over there, she keeps on beckoning me over!" Probably you'd tell me..."Go try your luck, come tell us when things go wobbly" ). Forging is long-held dream for me, I don't really want it to be too easy....if it's too easy, I'll feel there's not enough substance to be worth my while learning. I imagine that if it was easy everyone would be knocking out epic knives and swords (oh no, I said the S-word!).

Back on track, there's a place nearby where I can get a guy to cut me a length of railroad track, do you think that, or the sleageèhammer head you mentioned would be better than the cast iron anvil I have now? I very much like your comment about a sledge-hammer head being better than what smiths used for most of history. A big part of the attraction of forging, is to break out of the ideas that are so common about what IS or ISN'T possible/normal. Trying to pound a old file into a knife is already surprising to most of the people around me who 'know' that files are really hard and brittle, and can't be worked on easily.

Thanks for the encouragement, I'll keep you updated as I inch towards the light... ;)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...