Scruffylookingnerfherder

Beginner forging question

16 posts in this topic

Hello everyone! This is my first post, and I am a beginner bladesmith. I use a charcoal forge connected to a hand blower to forge my knives ( if you can call them that). The problem is, whenever I forge a knife it ends up having quite a few pockmarks in the surface, and sanding or grinding them out completely would, it seems, leave the blade too thin. I was wondering if this is normal, and if not, tips and/or techniques to minimize or completely prevent the flaws. Any nuggets of wisdom would forever be appreciated!

Thanks!  

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could be too much air, too much time in forge, too hot, too long at heat, it is very hard to saw with so little information. what happens when you forge other things in that same fire

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Pictures speak a thousand words. 

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Are you wire brushing the scale off regularly?  If not you may be driving pieces of scale down into the steel that will leave pits/pockmarks when you clean up the blade for grinding.  And there's always the old adage of "forge thick and grind thin."

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Here are two different pieces that I forged. Both are very rough. They also have quite a few high and low spots, but I think that is due to poor hammer control. Sorry for the poor image quality. Hope this helps!

1497630295226.jpg

1497630386786.jpg

41 minutes ago, Buzzkill said:

Are you wire brushing the scale off regularly?  If not you may be driving pieces of scale down into the steel that will leave pits/pockmarks when you clean up the blade for grinding.  And there's always the old adage of "forge thick and grind thin."

I try to brush the scale off every time I remove it from the fire. Not a lot seems to come off though, until I start hammering on it and it starts to fall off. 

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What was your starting stock for these blades?  To me some of it looks to be from scale hammered into the work, but if you are starting with old rusty steel you may have some pitting that is deeper than you realize to begin with.

It may just be the lighting or camera angle, but that second pic makes me a little wary. Maybe it's just material in the grinds, but if those are cracks it could be a problem.  Most likely you'd find out for sure either during the quench or when you clean it up afterwards.

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2 minutes ago, Buzzkill said:

It may just be the lighting or camera angle, but that second pic makes me a little wary. Maybe it's just material in the grinds, but if those are cracks it could be a problem.  Most likely you'd find out for sure either during the quench or when you clean it up afterwards.

I had the same thought.

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Look like cracking in the second pic to me as well. 

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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 Iforge gang live within visiting distance. Are scruffy nerfs harder to herd than well groomed ones?

I see a few problems. Too long at heat. You're driving scale into the surface, keep it brushed off before you hit it with the hammer and drive it into the stock. The relatively parallel looking "defects" kind of look like you're burning your steel.

Brush the scale off. Heat your steel higher in the fire or turn the blower WAY down. Heck, both. You have to allow the fuel enough time and room to consume all the oxy before it gets to your project.

Those are pretty good pictures, well lit without glaring out the details. That's not easy to do without knowing what you're doing or just plain luck. I'll take both.

Frosty The Lucky.

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1 hour ago, Buzzkill said:

What was your starting stock for these blades?  To me some of it looks to be from scale hammered into the work, but if you are starting with old rusty steel you may have some pitting that is deeper than you realize to begin with.

It may just be the lighting or camera angle, but that second pic makes me a little wary. Maybe it's just material in the grinds, but if those are cracks it could be a problem.  Most likely you'd find out for sure either during the quench or when you clean it up afterwards.

The second pic is from one of my first knives, and made from a fairly rusty old peice of metal. The first pic is from new stock. 

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1 hour ago, Frosty said:

Welcome aboard, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many of the Iforge gang live within visiting distance. Are scruffy nerfs harder to herd than well groomed ones?

I see a few problems. Too long at heat. You're driving scale into the surface, keep it brushed off before you hit it with the hammer and drive it into the stock. The relatively parallel looking "defects" kind of look like you're burning your steel.

Brush the scale off. Heat your steel higher in the fire or turn the blower WAY down. Heck, both. You have to allow the fuel enough time and room to consume all the oxy before it gets to your project.

Those are pretty good pictures, well lit without glaring out the details. That's not easy to do without knowing what you're doing or just plain luck. I'll take both.

Frosty The Lucky.

Thanks for the warm welcome Mr. Frosty! As for your first question, all my nerfs are impeccably groomed, I tend to be the scruffy one. As for your suggestions, am I right in saying that I need to have more charcoal between the steel and the blower outlet? Approximately how much? If my pictures were any good, it was pure luck! 

Thanks!

Scruffy

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Oh, one more thing. I am going to post pics of my forge, and I was wondering if anyone might know something about the design and if you all have suggestions on how to have a deeper fire or how to use the forge more effectively, I would certainly appreciate it.

Thanks!

Scruffy

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Just now, Scruffylookingnerfherder said:

Oh, one more thing. I am going to post pics of my forge, and I was wondering if anyone might know something about the design and if you all have suggestions on how to have a deeper fire or how to use the forge more effectively, I would certainly appreciate it.

Thanks!

Scruffy

Oh, we love pictures. So much easier to see what you're talking about. More detail = better questions = better answers.

Just make sure you post the photos in the correct Solid Fuel Forges section.

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Need pics. You might oh heck most likely need to turn the air down, WAY down. It's air that makes the fire hot not the fuel. You can have a huge pile of fuel but without enough air it makes a small fire. A blow drier on low is WAY too  much air for most work.

The best way to judge the fire is by looking at it and how the steel reacts. It's mostly a matter of practice, you'll get it soon enough.

Frosty The Lucky. 

 

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I use a hair dryer and charcoal. Low is too much air.  I open my air gate and waste about 25% of the low setting and that seems to be perfect for my forge and practice. I burnt and melted steel before learning what was just right in my setup. I like about 4" of charcoal under my steel and about an 1"-1 1/2" above it

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