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I Forge Iron

“D’Oh!” Moments


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Made my best Homer Simpson noise yesterday upon completing a nice little forged Japanese style hammer with a beautiful handcrafted oak handle. The thing was all heat treated and tempered and oiled up ready to be presented to an artist friend when I noticed that there were some accretions on the polished face. Figured I could rub them out but they turned out to be pitting, which baffled me. Got me curious about how this could happen so I whacked a couple of nails just to see how hard the face had become after HT/tempering. Turns out it was not hard at all. File tests verified this as well. How could this be? Well, turns out that Mr. Brilliant here just crafted a gorgeous little hammer out of 1018 stock instead of the 1045 that was meant to be used! Softest hammer ever, although it might be good for mashing potatoes or killing slow crawling insects (no hard shelled beetles, however, because they would dent the surface). Oh well, live and learn...

Anyone else have similar stories? 

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I had the reverse problem when I was making my Andy hammer out of rebar: I'd been quenching the part I was holding during forging, and inadvertently hardened a spot of high-carbon -- which then cracked in two the first time I hit something with it.

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Reading the old books describing testing each piece in a new batch of iron resonates more after a couple of that type of incidents...But we all still forge first and test second from time to time.

My best example was working with a lady to forge a caltrop from a piece of strap in a 3 smith scrap pile.  Went to cool off a leg to work one of the others and *TINK* high carbon strap thrown in a general pile!

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