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Canadian Traveling the world needs help


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Hey guys, I am a canadian travelling the world, and I see amazing things people can do with metal and a hammer (and forge)

I went to weta workshop in new zealand and found out they have a master sword smith

The artistry people can show off with this skill is amazing.

 

But my only real question is.... How the xxxx do I start? What do I need? I want in but it's kind of over whelming. 

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What part of Canada are you in ?  In sk the museums have a weekend class you can sign up for to learn the basics and from there it will open doors to the acociation and it's members most guys doing this are more than willing to share there knowledge.  Other than that you need a hammer some sort of heavy anvil  and fire 

 

 

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Greetings, TheKanadian! You have come to the right place!

The quick answer is very simple: READ. Get a comfy chair and a good supply of snacks and beverages and read every blessed thing on IFI that grabs your attention. Start with the pinned posts at the top of each section, as these give information that the forum members and administrators have found to be especially helpful and important. There are a number of sections on how to get started: read these. Pay special attention to the posts about safety: you only have one you, so take care of it. 

Now, as for getting started, it's actually not that difficult if you keep one thing in mind: progressive development (or "Where am I now, and what's the next step?"). This applies both to skills and equipment; I'm assuming that you currently have neither. For equipment, you need the four "H"s: something to Heat the metal, something to Hold the metal, something to Hit the metal ON, and something to hit the metal WITH. That can be as simple as a hole in the ground with a charcoal fire goosed up with a hair dryer, a pair of pliers, a boulder, and a rock, or as complicated as a high-tech induction forge, custom tongs, an expensive anvil, and a custom-made hammer -- or indeed everything in between. Start with what you have and what you can access to address those four "H"s, and add or improve your gear as you go. (One of the nice things about smithing is that you can make your own tools.) 

For skills, start small. No-one ever made a sword as their first project -- at least, no-one ever made a good sword as their first project! Before you can even consider such a project, you need a lot of basic smithing skills (how to draw, upset, bend, etc), good hammer control (which only comes from practice), understanding of metallurgy and heat treatment, etc. Start with basic projects like S-hooks, nails, etc, working your way up as your skills improve. Trust me: it's a good investment of your time and satisfying in itself.

So, go get reading!

(Oh, one other thing: please go to your profile settings and add your location. You might be surprised how many IFI folks may be in your area, and there's no substitute for working with other smiths to improve your skills.)

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Sk Bjorn, Well I'm from Edmonton, but, I'm in Japan for another month and then I'm going to Sweden for a year at least! (I'm going to check for classes there and if not I will definitely check out those classes in SK)

 

JCHH currently I have a book I am reading but the first part is all the tools I will need (including power tools, some of which seem to be made by the guy himself). It's both awesome, and very daunting.

Thank you for the advice, when I get to Sweden I will definitely get the 4 H's and start working on small things.

The forum I found you guys on said you were friendly, but two posts in I'm already loving this page.

 

Oh and also I will definitely turn on my location as soon as I get to Sweden, and if there is no-one around then  at least I'll have people to message back and forth with

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Quick tip: watch your language. IFI is specifically and exclusively family-friendly, and the moderators are merciless in cracking down on even mild cursing. Please edit your last comment ASAP.

That said, what's the book you're reading?

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Ah sorry, that wasn't a word I've considered a curse in a long time, I will certainly keep an eye on my posts. Thanks for the warning.

 

I'm reading The Complete Modern Blacksmith by Alexander G. Weygers

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What type of stuff do you like to read?  Technical Metallographic stuff, fiction, basics, advanced?

At some point you will want to read Hrisoulas' "The Complete Bladesmith", "The Master Bladesmith" and "The Pattern Welded Blade"  but to start we have the author of "Introduction to Knifemaking" participating regularly here, Steve Sells.  (JPH does stop in from time to time too)

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IFI is my favorite reading material. :) there's plenty of things to choose from ranging from projects anyone can do all the way up to specialized things like heat treating knives etc. I've found myself looking around here for ideas for projects before heading out to the shop multiple times. 

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3 hours ago, TheKanadian said:

I'm reading The Complete Modern Blacksmith by Alexander G. Weygers

A classic, and well worth reading. However, a lot of what he says about scavenged steel is outdated:  metallurgy has advanced considerably since his day, and much of what he recommends for heat treatment should be taken with caution. 

"The Backyard Blacksmith" by Lorelei Sims is definitely worth checking out as an introductory primer on basic blacksmithing technique. Mark Aspery's books are also excellent. 

In addition to reading, you might also check out the IFI page of YouTube links. There are a lot of really bad YouTube videos out there (some of them downright unsafe), so we've tried to put some good ones together that are of decent quality and content. Mostly general smithing and not so much blade making, but check them out anyway.

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JHCC Well since you said blade making is out (at least right away) I'm sure  that general smithing is good to start with. I know I mentioned that I like swords (And I really really do) but I kind of want to be able to find a way to make anything that I can dream of. So general is good, and youtube is a wonderful reasource.

The backyard blacksmith is something that I am trying to get my hands on right now, I read just before I joined this forum that it was a good one to start with.

On metal treatment I'm glad you said that because I'd just gotten to that so I'll look into other methods.

 

Glenn, I joined this page late at night so I haven't had a chance to peruse it yet, so thank you for the point in the right direction.

I will most definitely pack a lunch and possibly dinner too.

 

Michael, I will definitely be hitting this Forum for advice and tips and ideas, don't you worry, I just wanted to ask for a point in the right direction for basics because the SO content on here. What do you like to work on?

 

Thomas, If I am honest, I am a massive Fantasy reader, but if I'm interested in a subject I can get into it.

But yes, yes, yes thank you so much for the swords and blade making books, that is awesome!

Technical Metallographic stuff would probably good, and since I'm am totally new basics would be good too

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39 minutes ago, TheKanadian said:

Michael, I will definitely be hitting this Forum for advice and tips and ideas, don't you worry, I just wanted to ask for a point in the right direction for basics because the SO content on here. What do you like to work on?

I work on whatever the mood dictates. Right now I have a pair of spurs I'm working on. I've been toying with a couple smaller hammers I've been working on off and on for the last couple months. Ive been sourcing materials to finish building tools for the shop. Like I said, whatever the mood dictates. :) 

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 Sometimes (especially in the early days) you won't have the tools to do the particular job you have in mind, so you have to make them. Then you find that you need to make some other tool in order to make that tool, leading to "making a tool to make a tool to make a… what was I making?" syndrome.

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12 hours ago, Michael Cochran said:

I work on whatever the mood dictates. Right now I have a pair of spurs I'm working on. I've been toying with a couple smaller hammers I've been working on off and on for the last couple months. Ive been sourcing materials to finish building tools for the shop. Like I said, whatever the mood dictates. :) 

Oh spurs, that sounds cool. What kinds of materials do you need to get?

 

2 hours ago, JHCC said:

 Sometimes (especially in the early days) you won't have the tools to do the particular job you have in mind, so you have to make them. Then you find that you need to make some other tool in order to make that tool, leading to "making a tool to make a tool to make a… what was I making?" syndrome.

Well if any syndrome sounds interesting, that one does.... could be a problem though.

 

Maybe I'll have to get a blackboard and chalk for the shop when I'm starting one.

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1 hour ago, TheKanadian said:

What kinds of materials do you need to get?

Current tools in working on include a belt grinder and a power hammer.

I have my grinder somewhat, almost complete but not really. I still need to get my wheels, belts, and whatever I'm going to use to hold the wheels and I also need to build the tensioning arm. 

The power hammer I still need 90% of the raw materials to build it. Before I can start building I really need to settle on a design. I keep going back and forth between two different designs. One looks easier to build but the other has a much smaller footprint. 

4 hours ago, JHCC said:

"making a tool to make a tool to make a… what was I making?" syndrome.

I have that problem regularly and I always seem to remember what I was trying to do when I'm at work and usually forget again by the time I'm back in the shop. I've started carrying a notepad with me so I can write things down when I remember them. 

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55 minutes ago, Michael Cochran said:

Current tools in working on include a belt grinder and a power hammer.

I have my grinder somewhat, almost complete but not really. I still need to get my wheels, belts, and whatever I'm going to use to hold the wheels and I also need to build the tensioning arm. 

The power hammer I still need 90% of the raw materials to build it. Before I can start building I really need to settle on a design. I keep going back and forth between two different designs. One looks easier to build but the other has a much smaller footprint.  

Wow, actually making your own power tools? That's pretty awesome, I don't know enough about motors or assembly to even consider it

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Many people use a layout table to sketch things out on, chalk generally works on the steel surface, especially after it has a bit of patina.  I have a chalkboard on my wall and in my wife's spinning studio she has a commercial 12'x4' chalkboard. (she won the coin flip when it became available for free!)

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Show the proper respect to electrical items and they usually do just what ou need. 

I'm currently looking for chalkboard or a suitable substitute so I can do as Thomas suggests. So far I'll sketch on a piece of typing paper and note the dimensions of the life size version. I haven't had too much trouble that way but I have had a couple projects run into snags because things were not sketched to scale and didn't want to go in the space that actually was all that was allowed for them. 

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That's a great idea Thomas. Of course you might want to use permanent markers instead of chalk. Unless you plan on doing different scales from time to time. Ive heard of using an overhead projector but not using the contraption you're talking about. Might be worth a shot for those of us that don't have projectors. 

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On 3/10/2017 at 7:08 AM, TheKanadian said:

Wow, actually making your own power tools? That's pretty awesome, I don't know enough about motors or assembly to even consider it

I've heard stories. The Alaska Association has a club 2" x 72" belt grinder build going. We went in on motors, pullies, steel, etc. and have had a couple day long workshops. Club members found great deals on motors, pullies and belts and we bought steel under the club's discount. Not counting personal tweaks average cost is about $350. 

I used my old Rockwell belt grinder for the motor though it's under powered at 1/2 hp. I'm not a badesmith guy and don't do the really hard grinding that seems to be the style. I just don't put much pressure on belt or wheel.

I still have to make the rest and find the right spot to set it up but it makes sparks. It's #4 to make sparks in the club. 

So yeah, some of us make our own power tools. I couldn't afford one otherwise.

Frosty The Lucky.

58c4ac8c15b34_NewGrinder02.jpg.067e018bc45f474cc662885994a84c02.jpg

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