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I have made my spirals in a number of ways. I prefer turning them over the edge of the anvil as if I were making a scroll. Then, like making a scroll, rotate the spiral 180 and roll them on the face with more or less horizontal blows. Watch for looseness and don't let it get out of control. It's hard, but not impossible to correct if the gap is within the spiral, but it's much easier to correct when it's not under the top wind. Catch it as it happens and rotate it back 180, hang it over the far edge and tighten it up. If it gets out of plane, then level it on the face of the anvil. When you reheat it, place it in the fire spiral up. This way your finished wraps stay cool .

I'm not much for jigs and stress that hammer control has always been my goal.

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Lol, you guys,,, dingmarks solutions,,,. ;)

Bend it, don't forge it. If you have something under your iron when you hit it, you change the cross section. If there is nothing under your iron when you hit it, you bend it. Bending it shouldn't cause dingmarks,, but it can.. 

If you are dinging it when you are bending, or scrolling, you are hitting it too hard. Hammer control solves that.  :)

Spirals are good ways to practice scrolling and developing good hammer control. If there are any ding marks, they are covered up by each new revolution. Thus you have just participated in a ,,, "cover-up". :) Hopefully by the time you do the outer ring, your ding marks will be gone or very small 

if you open your spirals, the movement of the hot iron,scale, and a good wirebrush will pretty near remove any of those pesky dings. Thus no need for a wooden hammer.

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4 hours ago, anvil said:

Bend it, don't forge it.

This is one place tongs can be used.  Make a pig tail and a couple of wraps, heat a section of stock, then grab the spiral with the tongs or pliers and use the existing spiral as a form to bend the heated stock.  The resulting spiral is tight and uniform.   Only bend the stock when it is hot, soft and pliable.

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I'll try to make this short story long.......LOL

Like many others, my first-made thing was an S-hook.  I was a bit curious about blacksmithing, so was invited to a monthly meeting at a member's fantastic smithy.  I stood around most of the morning, just trying to be observant and, frankly, too intimidated to ask questions.  After a couple of hours, this gentleman approached me and inquired "Well, what are you wanting to make?".  Not knowing flip about smithing, I replied, "I have not the faintest clue".  He took me under his wing, out to the "resource pile", otherwise known as the scrap iron pile.  He picked out a piece of steel rod, probably 1/4", about 2 feet long.  He said that he would cut it in half, then he would make the S-hook to show me how, and then I was to make one like his.  "Watch closely", he instructed.  OK.

He proceeded to make his hook about 6" long, with the most graceful, fluid motions including a nice little finial curve on each end...beautiful.  He handed me the hammer and said for me to now make mine.  I had never before struck a piece of steel and was praying (and shaking a little) that this would not be a train wreck.  After finishing mine, it miraculously turned out really good, almost a mirror image of his.  I was awe struck and proud at the same time!  The smith congratulated me on doing very well for a beginner and went on off to join the other members.  Needless to say, "my cork was pulled under" and I was literally hooked on blacksmithing; joining the organization right on the spot; eager to start acquiring the tools necessary to launch off on a new adventure of smithing.

An announcement was made that it was lunchtime and to gather at the house.  I inquired of one of the members who was that kind and patient gentlemen who was helping make my first smithing item; that I had neglected to get his name.  "Oh", he replied, "that was Bob Patrick".  I had heard a little about Bob Patrick's reputation and at that point I was about ready to crawl in a hole!!....if I had known beforehand who was taking the time to patiently instruct me on my first project I would have been too intimidated to proceed.  He was the kindest, most patient person to walk me through my task.  After I got home, I researched Bob Patrick further and then really WAS humbled to have had that experience.

Still, smithing to this day... the most enjoyable thing I have ever done in my life.  All thanks to Bob Patrick.

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arkie you just described my first encounters with Bob Patrick. After my mentor Ike Doss passed away, I stopped working in my forge for about ten years. Just couldn't bring myself to light a fire. Then sometime around 2000 or there about's, I met Tom Upton and he invited me to attend one of the meetings at his forge in Rogers. When I arrived the sight of his forge sort of overwhelmed me and the first person I met was bob and if I recall he was demonstrating making a pinch bar and how to heat treat it. It was the same type item Ike had shown me how to make so many years ago. I was once again hooked or should I say he re-lit the spark. Since then I have had the pleasure of helping Bob when he was giving classes at ESSA and to this day I am amazed at his work. When I grow up, I want to be just like him and be able to forge weld  as effortless as he does.

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