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Matthew Roy

Leaf work, cracks at top of stem

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So, I am new to iforgeiron and I’ve only been blacksmithing for a couple of months. I’ve been working a lot on tapers and drawing out, and in the last couple of weeks have tried about 10 or so leaves.

    The problem I am having, without fail, is that the stem seems to twist and crack right at the base of the leaf when I start to flatten it out.....almost every time.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what may be causing this? Thanks!!

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Looks like you need to grind a slightly bigger radius onto the corner of your anvil.  Either your hammer or the anvil edge is shearing off a little portion of the shoulder of your workpiece and smooshing it down into the neck area.  This causes what blacksmiths call a cold shut or engineers call a stress riser.  Thus the crack and breakage.  

A few hundred more pieces and you should gain the hammer control to avoid this without tool alteration.  Either way works, but the key is practice, practice, practice...

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Yup. You have to set the leaf down over a bigger radius. I had the same problems with my leaves.  Build a hardy tool with an edge with a  radius of a pencil. It looks way too round but will work. Like Judson says, practice.

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Also, make sure that you aren't stressing the stem when it is has already cooled down to a black heat. It is an easy mistake to make, because the thin steel cools down very quickly while you are working on other parts of the leaf. If you are using high-carbon steel, this is even more of an issue.

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Hi, I started a thread on this a while ago when I finally figured out how to avoid this problem. I posted step by step pictures in it and you might find it's what you're after.

 

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