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I Forge Iron

Moving metal help

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Ok today I took a piece of leaf spring put it in the forge(gas) and tried to make it into a tomahawk, TRIED being the key word! I need a book on how to move metal where I want it not where it wants it. Am I making sense? And another try came when I set the spring down and put a piece of 1" square hot rolled and put it in the press and upset it, it worked great but how do you heat a "spot" not the whole thing? I thought if I could put the square in a pipe to shield it from the heat but I didnt have any pipe that size to try that idea.

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Heating a single area would be easier in a solid fuel forge than a propane forge. Obviously irrelevant if you have a gas forge, so I digress.

You could heat your piece up and dunk whatever you don't need hot in water (so long as it is NOT hardenable steel) this comes in handy for upsetting a specific section. 

Learning to manipulate the metal and move it where you want takes time and experience. I recommend you take some mild steel and just play with it. Take a square piece and make it round. Then make it square. Then make it round. Make some tapers on both the ends of those square and round rods. Take and bend those tapers around and make some S hooks. You may not want to be a professional hook maker, but exercises like this teach you to predict how the metal will move and work proactively instead of reactively. It is my personal opinion that if you do not know how to move metal, you shouldn't be trying to make tomahawks, you should be learning to move metal. Do you know any carpenters who have no idea how to read a measuring tape, but want to build a house? I'm not trying to be a harsh, it's just the way it is. 

Another piece of advice: READ THE FORUM!!! Questions like yours are all over the place, and answers like mine are as well. Whatever questions you have may have already been answered, and you may learn things that you didnt know you needed to know. There is so much knowledge and wisdom here that many members have literally spent lifetimes collecting, and offer to you freely. It's worth your time, and then some. 

My rant is now over. Good luck. 

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Go get some modeling clay and form it into square and round rods. Use a light hammer and hit it like you would to make something, and watch how it reacts.  Then you will see why there are cross peen hammers, rounding hammers, etc.. they move metal differently. Watch how it moves when struck between the hammer and the edge of the anvil, as opposed to over the horn. Watch how it moves sing the round peen on a ballpeen hammer. Clay is nice to get the basics because you don't have to worry about heat, tongs, and it is easily put back to shape to try something different.

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4 hours ago, pigpen60 said:

Sorry Will! I was tired sore and aggravated when I wrote the original message. I dont have an anvil I have 2 RR rails standing on end and welded. I think I bit off too much for the first try.

No worries, pigpen, I'm guilty of asking questions without checking the forum myself. But believe me, you check the forums looking for a way to do scrolls, and you come away knowing how to make a pair of tongs, how to dress your hammer faces, how to vein a leaf, how to make chain, etc. etc. 

I've done some work on a chunk of rail myself, and I think they work great honestly. It doesn't have to be shaped like an anvil to work like an anvil. A fellow member, Daswulf, had a thread about using a big piece of granite as an anvil!

I only offer the advice about learning the basics first, because I was one of those people when I started who bit off WAY more than I could chew. I read everywhere "learn the basics first" but I thought... how hard can it really be?... I have a pile of my first attempts to make spears, axes, knives etc. And those were some of the first things I tried to forge! Not beginner projects. My point is, I wasted a lot of time, fuel, and material because I didn't listen, and learned that lesson the hard way. My little piece of wisdom? Don't do that. 

Good luck. 

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