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I Forge Iron

Newfound respect for blacksmiths


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Greetings from Cincinnati.

The only experience I have had with blacksmithing was when I was ten and asked my dad for a new knife for my birthday.  A week later he brought home an old woodburning forge, and stayed up all night with me showing me how to make a very crude, but very satisfying knife.  (had to tell that part because my dad is THAT cool).  Well, that was over thirty years ago and these reality shows brought back the memories.  In the interests of having such moments with my own boys, I 'blew' this year's tax return on a Majestic 3 burner forge.

I figured a good starting project, since I have zero tools, would be a pair of tongs out of rebar and a chisel hardy tool out of a railroad spike.  I got it done.  They're pretty bad, but they're functional.

I sat down about an hour ago after completing them.  I gotta say, between my back and my shoulder, I don't know when I'm gonna be able to make it off this couch again.  I might just sleep here.

Anyway, I hope to learn a lot here from you guys (and girls) and hopefully, one day, contribute.


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Well, we're glad to have you join us.  Put your location in you profile, and always read the stickies at the top, we don't mind questions, just not ones that have already been answered about a dozen dozen times.  I've seen people get in big trouble over not doing their research, but you shouldn't have any issues.

P.S.  If your back is getting you it very well could mean that it's time to raise the height of the anvil, so you're not bending over.

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. I advise beginners NOT use heavy hammers till they develop hammer control to a proficient degree. I usually start a beginner with a 32oz. Drill hammer. It's smooth faced with a short handle. At 2lbs. it's heavy enough to do serious work but not so heavy it'll damage you without warning or make your mistakes permanent as quickly as a heavy hammer. The shorter handle gives you another edge on control. This lets a person learn some cause and effect on hot steel for less effort and damage.

Here's to cool Dads!

Frosty The Lucky.

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You're off to a good start.

My suggestion would be not to use rebar for your tongs. Do a search on Google like this "iforgeiron" rebar to see why. Some rebar has it's place in Smithing but tools are not one of them. Others will say never use rebar but if you find old rebar made in the U.S.A. I've found it's suitable for some projects.

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Congratulations on getting started. Let's keep you going.

All of the above advice is good. I will add that railroad spike isn't great as a cutoff hardy material. A better option (if you have to do something right away) is a piece of leaf spring diagonally in the hardy hole. 

Tongs are not a good beginners project: even without the rebar issue, there are a lot of simple-seeming operations that add up to may ways for things to go wrong. Invest the money in some decent tongs (medium-sized wolf-jaws would be good) and learn how hammer control and basic operations before you get too ambitious. Remember, bad tools actually make your work harder. 

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