ForgeNub

Width vs. Length of Bar

18 posts in this topic

Come across a good amount of spring steel, very new to the entire smithing scene, have been putting work into a few blades lately.  I'm curious what the best technique for widening a bar is after drawing it out flat.  I can keep hammering away and I'm getting a lot more length but not width so the blades I'm making tend to be a bit on the slender side.  Any specific tool/hammer I should be using instead to achieve this or is it mainly a technique thing?

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Generally speaking, a cross-peen hammer with the peen parallel to the length of the workpiece will make your workpiece wider. 

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As will the horn of the anvil if you work the piece with the major axis parallel to the major axis of the horn.  Not having either you can work the piece with a fuller, top, bottom or both!

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Or on the edge of the anvil, with the major axis parallel to the edge.

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Think rolling pin profile for either hammer or anvil or both, and how you roll out pastry. The pastry always moves at right angles to the axis of the pin.

If you just push the rolling pin down rather than roll it (mimicking the impact of a cross pein hammer, fuller or anvil horn) the pastry still stretches in the same direction. So will your metal.

Alan

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JHCC unless you have sharp edges on your anvil and then you are heading towards disaster knifewise!

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3 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

JHCC unless you have sharp edges on your anvil and then you are heading towards disaster knifewise!

True, but you shouldn't have such sharp edges on your anvil!

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I believe I may have mentioned that before on these forums...

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True, but if it's worth saying, it's worth repeating.

 

I'll say that again: if it's worth saying, it's worth repeating.

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I would modifie that to "you should not have all eges sharp". There are uses for a sharp edge and It is practical not to grab for the hardy hole inset every time

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So, imaging major axis of the piece, would be aligning my work piece length wise along the horn of the anvil and using the curvature of the horn to spread the center outwards? My anvil face does have relatively sharp edges so to widen using the face, parallel to the edge and use half faced blows?  Since I've started I've been wary of using the peen on my cross peen or using the sharp edges to taper/draw out because I caused some cold shuts (i think) in doing so.

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If you have a couple of cross pein hammers, you could crown one along its length and radius the very ends so that there were no sharp indentations on the work piece. Each hammer blow is then overlapped to give a continuous spread with no cold shuts.

Each blow would leave an elliptical mark.

The tighter radius of the minor axis would still be acting to spread your metal sideways.

Alan

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There are so many ways to do a directional draw I'm surprised to see so few suggestions. Don't you have a turning hammer? If so start at the edge you want to draw wider make a pattern down that edge. Then move in about half the depression made by the pein of the rounding hammer and repeat. Don't forge the spine edge of the stock.

Another really easy method is to make a fuller. Just find a piece of Rd. stock that'll fit your hardy hole and bend it 90* to lay flat on your anvil. Double it or square it up some to fit snugly.

Buy or make a hammer, cross peins are a little easier to orient though an angle pein is better. You want a pretty wide pein and crowned makes for better control. The face is to smooth out the irregularities left by the pein.

I do almost all my drawing on the horn and I have half a dozen fuller bottom tools available. I use them rarely but they're handy when I need one.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I have 2 hammers, and neither are very fancy.  One is just an old 4 pound sledge that I ground one face of to round it.  The other is just a home depot Estwing "Blacksmithing Hammer" that I bought and rarely use in comparison to the, been thinking about making a spring fuller just havent gotten to it, probably going to go home after work and alter the pein on the Estwing so its not so sharp, its pretty narrow, all in all its turned out to be a shabby hammer, i don't like it much.

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That Estwing is a quality hammer, so if you grind the peen to make a gentler curve, do it SLOWLY!  Don't grind any more than you can comfortably touch with your hand or you run the risk of removing any temper in the hammer head.  Cool the peen or wait for it to cool before resuming grinding.

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The new video " how to" on forging a colonial style knife has the information you are looking for.. I use both the peen of a hammer and the face to do directional forging. 

Ideally when you make a knife you should keep in mind what the finished knife should look like.. forge to  the general shape then do the largest percentage of metal moving ending up with the finished product.. 

Anytime you want to make a thin section thicker (upset) it's a bear and a skill up on the list of ones to master well..  and moving the metal only in one direction, ( to where you want it to be).(direction forging) is another one.. 

The video is here.. https://youtu.be/TZU_Sl8oTew

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1 hour ago, jlpservicesinc said:

The new video " how to" on forging a colonial style knife has the information you are looking for.. I use both the peen of a hammer and the face to do directional forging. 

Ideally when you make a knife you should keep in mind what the finished knife should look like.. forge to  the general shape then do the largest percentage of metal moving ending up with the finished product.. 

Anytime you want to make a thin section thicker (upset) it's a bear and a skill up on the list of ones to master well..  and moving the metal only in one direction, ( to where you want it to be).(direction forging) is another one.. 

The video is here.. https://youtu.be/TZU_Sl8oTew

Good info, have to check that out when I'm off work today!  Upsetting has been upsetting working on a leaf spring I picked up the other day, was going to try a Kukri but....abandoned it shortly thereafter and made a slender one out of coil spring, which is the blade in question regarding this post.  Turning out nicely though, granted I'm totally clueless and just banging stuff into cool shapes and as flat as I can ;-)

On 4/22/2017 at 11:07 AM, Frosty said:

There are so many ways to do a directional draw I'm surprised to see so few suggestions. Don't you have a turning hammer? If so start at the edge you want to draw wider make a pattern down that edge. Then move in about half the depression made by the pein of the rounding hammer and repeat. Don't forge the spine edge of the stock.

Another really easy method is to make a fuller. Just find a piece of Rd. stock that'll fit your hardy hole and bend it 90* to lay flat on your anvil. Double it or square it up some to fit snugly.

Buy or make a hammer, cross peins are a little easier to orient though an angle pein is better. You want a pretty wide pein and crowned makes for better control. The face is to smooth out the irregularities left by the pein.

I do almost all my drawing on the horn and I have half a dozen fuller bottom tools available. I use them rarely but they're handy when I need one.

Frosty The Lucky.

Frosty, I do intend to purchase a hammer, would a nice rounding hammer be a good idea for moving metal more effectively?  I'm looking at saving a bit to make a really nice hammer purchase, possibly one from Alec Steele or something of that sort, his "squircle" hammer as he calls it.  Whats your favorite type of hammer?

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There's a reason rounding hammers are getting bought and made so frequently. You bet a rounding hammer is more effective at moving metal in both directions and not leaving deep dents like a ball pein. I LOVE my rounding hammers, I typically have both on my anvil's hammer rack.

A thing to keep in mind is forging is hands on basic physics. Rule 1 To move an object has to accelerate which is force x mass x time. 2, Steel reacts to PSI, meaning the momentum of a moving hammer, say 1 lb. hammer swung at 20mph for roughly 20ft. lbs. of momentum. The smaller the impact area the greater the PSI and effect.

3, Energy ALWAYS takes the path of least resistance. This is why striking strap stock anywhere but dead center causes it to draw to one side and makes trying to forge a straight blade such a job. There are tricks of course but it can still be a PITA. You see blade pics where the smith didn't know how to correct or overcome the effect all the time. You know the ones I mean, an otherwise beautiful knife, fit and finish but the blade has so much belly you could use the point for a hoof pick.

A flat hammer face or rounding pein moves the metal in 2 dimensions and strap stock being strong in 2 dimensions can make it hard to control. I really prefer forging round or square stock even to blade shapes. Were I making blades and had to use leaf spring I'd cut blanks and grind them. If folk insisted on forged I'd cut the blanks with a counter curve so the spine came out acceptably and grind the rest. Forge thick, grind thin.

Just because the stock is sort of the right shape does NOT make it a good choice.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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