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Alex Davis

blacksmithing

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Welcome aboard Alex glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how may of the IFI guys live within visiting distance.

Have you done any reading? It's a really good place to start and there are a lot of good books listed here as well as literally thousands of pages written by hundreds of guys on all kinds of smithing topics.

However your question is pretty typical of a fellow who doesn't know what to ask, no problem, nobody is born knowing this stuff we all asked really basic stuff. The term blacksmith means a person who Smite's "hit's" (smite is the root word of smith) the Black metal. Iron coming out of the fire is black once cooled. A blacksmith beats iron or iron alloys into things.

So, the answer to your question as asked is iron or steel. Steel is a lot easier to come by than wrought iron so folk usually start with mild or A36 steel, A36 is cheaper but can be a little more challenge. You can of course work with whatever you find so long as it's legal so don't take down the neighbor's fence. :rolleyes:

If you scroll to the bottom of the Iforge front page you'll come to the regional organizations section where you can find contact information for the blacksmith club closest to you. Get hooked up with the local club or a smith close enough to visit. You WILL learn more working with an experienced smith in a couple hours than you will in days or even weeks on your own.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Mild steel, A36, rebar, spring steel, files, rasps, stakes, tie rods, old worn out wrenches, old worn out hammer heads, rail road spikes, old dull drill bits that are beyond sharpening, broken punches and chisels, car axles, pretty much any piece of steel as long as it is NOT GALVANIZED!!! I repeat NOT GALVANIZED!!! And it is obtained legally. I wish you the best!

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All the above is true. However "new" steel is easier to work to make forge control tools such as clinker picks  and coal rakes. Knocking in the nubs on rebar gets old. But if it is all you can find enjoy your self. Square bar or round is easy to buy and a pleasure to work with. Remember the rule work round to eighths and round up and square bar to what you want. Make it long or pointed or bent. And enjoy the pounding and shaping.

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A list of scrounged high carbon steel is a long way from what a person needs to contend with at first. Have you given any thought to telling Alex how to determine HOW to work with mystery steel before advising him to select for high carbon?

The warning about galvanized is a good one and one I hadn't thought of, seeing as Alex is so new. That's my bad, the dangers of any plating should always be advised to the new folk.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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And avoid wrought iron at all costs. It will frustrate you and disappoint you no end. I admire the masters who can make something of it, but for a beginner it's heartbreaking stuff to deal with.

Get yourself some mild steel 10mm square bar from your friendly metal supplier (they may throw some offcuts at you) and practise your drawing, splitting, twisting, punching or whatever.

And yes, if you enjoy breathing, leave the galvanised alone.

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