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I Forge Iron

Hello from Italy!


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i'm thomas and i'm from Italy, i always loved fantasy-middle aged like things ( swords, armors, shields etc...) and i always loved the figure of the Blacksmith, this old dwarf with a long beard that hits iron all the day and use only his immagination and arms to create things, AMAZING! Being a blacksmith is being an artist.

A few days ago i found him: Michael Craughwell, a giant swords maker, and i thought: Cool!, but when i've seen him making them i thought: those swords aren't cool at all, they are not forged but just shaped.

i'm here because of that, i want to make incredible swords like those swordsmiths in middle age, cover myself in coal, heat up and warm up, model the metal hitting it with my hammer, concentrate and put all of my heart and efforts in it as if every sword is going to be my last one. But in order to do this i think i will need time, a teacher, etc... so i'm here to learn and found my way of smith :) 

for now i have yet to start ahah, i think that first i have to build my first forge and i have to find how to do this (i wish to build up something middle age style, but it's not a easy task), i hope there are such noobies-hints in this site, ahah, thank you so much :)

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 Building a JABOD is a very easy and inexpensive forge style and there are plenty of discussions and plans in the solid fuel forge section. The most ancient forge style was a hole in the ground. JABOD just brings it up to a better working height. I plan to build a washtub forge which is similar

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All of that is possible. There is much information here to get you started and help you learn how. What is your situation - do you live in an apartment, in a city, or in a house with area for a forge? Are there schools nearby that teach blacksmithing, or a blacksmith that you can learn from?

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Unfortunately modern culture: Movies, video games, fantasy books tend to make things like sword and armour making look both too hard and too easy.  Too hard as modern depictions often throw in unlikely stuff to make it more *interesting* and too easy as they skip the 15 years of dawn to dusk training such a smith would undergo. They generally ignore several other facets like a smith did not make swords---he forged and heat treated the blade and maybe had a rough grind done in the shop, final grind and polishing was a different shop, hilting was a different shop, ornamentation was a different shop and sheath making was a different shop. Also each of these show was not just a "master" doing everything there will be a BUNCH of apprentices and journeymen working there. So you are trying to take the place of say 50 people!

In many places in Europe having the tools to do the work of a different guild could alloy that guild to pull down your workshop! (Also few craftsmen could afford to have multiple sets of tools and leave them not being used while they did a different task.  We are positively glutted with tools nowadays.)

(This is my area of interest and I can bore most people to tears discussing it!)

So if you visit over at armourarchive.org not only will they happily coach you in Armour making; but there is also a fellow in Italy, Signo, that is active there, (last visited today) As I recall he was doing smithing and would be a great resource for you. He's associated with an reenactment group,  http://www.flosferri.it/; but I don't know their current status. (such groups tend to grow, subdivide and disappear seemingly at random.

Remember most viking forges, even sword forges had a hot zone or 4-6 inches, (10cm - 15cm) and so were not huge.  This is because you only want to heat as much metal as you can forge before it gets cold; heating more degrades the metal---not a good thing for weapons!

I attend Real Viking an event trying to recreate viking life. (My tent was a "sail" 10'x20' piece of canvas with saplings cut to form the structural framework and tied with natural rope. I slept on a pile of sheepskins cause I'm used to a life of soft beds!)  Anyway I did some forging there: I walked over to the campfire and racked some hot coals over to an upwind side and place the tue pipe through the rocks bordering the firepit  and into the pile of coals. Two small single action bellows, (One I built for under US$2 using scrounged materials Like a thrown out vinyl awning for the "leathers". When my design was proved in I made a second and actually bought oil tanned leather---somebody throw a bucket of slush on Frosty and CRS to revive them)  My Y1K anvil is this:


On the other hand steel pieces that would be a good medieval anvil starter piece from my local scrapyard: (the most expensive one was US$16)


Let's talk!

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