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Hello from cali


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Anybody here from northern California? I'm very new to black smithing/ knife smithing. I've been using a old bbq as a charcoal forge and trying to learn as I go. Nobody that I know is even slightly intrested in blacksmith. Hoping to meet new people make some new friends and maybe someone to teach me a thing or to.


Best regards 1491697126541-566326336.thumb.jpg.031c0ec17fbe39bd16e6b1d1c354f28a.jpg


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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might  be surprised how many of the Ifi gang live within visiting distance. Telling us once in a thread isn't going to stick in our memories once we open another post.

Check out the "Just a Box of Dirt" forge thread for a good how to for making a charcoal forge.

What are you using for your anvil?  I see you have what looks like a couple "bucket" pins off dirt moving equipment. It's typically 4140 which is an excellent steel alloy for making blacksmithing tools, everything from power hammer dies, hand hammer heads, hardies, hot cuts, punches, chisels, etc. It's a medium carbon Chrome Moly steel able to take huge amounts of stress without work hardening to brittleness.

Uh. . . rebar. Unless you simply can NOT avoid it lose the rebar at least till you've developed proficiency at the anvil. Rebar is made to a performance specification that's pretty darned broad so the companies making the general use bar don't take a lot of care in what junk steel gets dumped in the melter. General purpose rebar tends to be pretty inconsistent in it's qualities sometimes it can change considerably within a few inches in the same bar. It can range from barely enough carbon to be steel to tool steel, it just depends on what's in the scrap pile when they make it.

Anyway, while you're learning to forge you just don't need to have to be altering our heat management, hammer techniques at unpredictable times. A stick of 3/8" sq. or 1/2" rd A-36 isn't much money at a steel supplier and while it's not as consistent as proper "mild" steel it's WAY easier to use.

Same story for learning bladesmithing. It's another learning curve and has forging techniques pretty unique to the craft and you need to be working high carbon steel which is another type of heat management without considering heat treatment. Trying to make blades from rebar is like entering a rusty Yugo in a vintage car show. No matter how well you dress it up it'll NEVER make the cut.

My suggestions to beginners run like this: Buy new steel from a supplier. Don't use a really heavy hammer, 32oz. is plenty to learn with, once you develop hammer control is time to go for more power and heavier. Learn basic blacksmithing before you start forging blades. Once you have a handle on basic blacksmithing techniques adapting to bladesmithing is just learning a new steel and a couple tricks. It's REALLY a lot faster and more satisfying if you set yourself up for success and take things one step at a time.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank you frost. The welcome and advise is much appreciated. I will definitely check the just a box of dirt thread. The bbq is just something I threw together. I'm gathering material to make a propain forge as we speak. 

All the material I have came from one of the job sites I'm on. I'm a steel erector by trade. But the rebar will definitely go. I saw a guy on you tube that made a rebar knife so I figured I will give it a shot. But I understand that it's not very good to learn from. 

This all started with me just beating metal some metal messing around but know I'm hooked and I'm gonna start over and learn the basics first as you suggested. I tend to see something I wanna make and jump directly into trying to make it instead of learning and building up to it.

Once again thank you. Your post was very informative. And exactly what i was was hoping for when I signed up.

Thanks bigundoctor.

I live about 2 hours north of Sacramento and 1 hour south of Redding in a small town called Corning

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I know where Corning is, and I have been there. A friend's dad had a couple of acres in Rancho Tehama. I grew up in Fairfield, and got around a good part of the state when I lived there. 

Smithing is not that complicated---heat, something to hammer and item on, and something to hammer with.  The rest is gravy. 

Start with the basics to develop hammer skills and accuracy. Use some 3/8"-1/2" stock and hammer round to square, then back to round. Then work on tapering round and square. You can also do some twisting with these parts. Try and do it with minimal hammer marks left in the piece. Pay attention to symmetry as well. These basic exercises can be made into s-hooks for hanging plants or other items. Once you get the hang of where to hit, and can do it in an efficient manner, then move on to more complicated items. 

Good luck, and post some pics of your progress. 


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Zion 2634,

Anyone can post a video on You Tube. Some of those videos are downright dangerous and many display nonsense, by incompetents.

The chap you saw, making a knife, must be a comedian. Doing so is a complete waste of time with little chance that a decent knife would result.

There is a list of competent smiths on this site. Look up "a collection of smiths on you Tube", and jot down the names and check out some of their videos.

You will be pleasantly surprised at what you discover.

Welcome to the group and to the craft.



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1 hour ago, zion2634 said:

I live about 2 hours north of Sacramento and 1 hour south of Redding in a small town called Corning

Ha! Quite close to Paradise, where I have gone panning on numerous occasions, on Butte Creek, and the Feather River.

Welcome aboard!

Robert Taylor

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Thanks everyone.

Ironwolf I have searched the Internet and for some reason couldn't find anything. I have been on the cba website and haven't found anything around my area. So any help you could give would be much appreciated. 


Thank you everyone for the welcome. Looking forward to learning from this group.

Here's my first knives I made. Not pretty but I've learned alot.

Don't mind the harbor freight anvil. I know it's a price of junk. My girlfriend bought it trying to be supportive of my new Hobbie.



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