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Low cost noob

Need tips for starting out.

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Ok I'm starting a new hobby hope to make a few hunting style knives myself. I'm hoping to keep the cost down at this point so salvaging and reusing parts as much as possible. I been collecting parts I believe are necessary. So far I have,

1. Big old anvil and assorted mini sledge hammers.

2. Used freon gas tank. Planning on fabbing a propane forge. Pretty much getting ideas off you tube. (Is it to thin?)

3. Motor for belt sander (need to know best way to make this. What size belt? How do I make the pulleys? Pulley tensioner?)

4. Black pipe and assortment for burner.

5. Working on making 2 burners as of today. See what works best. 1st. will be a high pressure line to a benzo nozzle, using tank 20lb. pressure. 2nd style is regulator with gauge to fabbed up nozzle using assortment of 1" and 3/4" pipes with reducers and nipples, stoppers etc.

Guess I just looking for tips and ideas of how to get my shop together. What's am I missing? What mistakes can you guys and girls help me avoid as a complete novice.

I will check this any post for questions I can answer to help you help me. Any info is much appreciated and look forward to learning more about this timeless skill. 

Happy 

 

 

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Welcome to the forum. We're the support group for your new addiction.  We find it best to learn to live with the addiction.

As far as what you've collected so far:

1.  Good.  Search for threads on dressing hammers for smithing, and rebound test on your anvil to make sure it's decent quality.

2.  That's a good size to start out with for a propane forge.  It's probably better to abandon Youtube for this and focus on one proven design.  Here's a good thread to help you understand what makes a good gas forge:

https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/47439-forges-101/

3.  You might be getting a little ahead of yourself, but again it's best to pick one proven design and go with it.  I used the No Weld Grinder plans personally and there are some minor changes I would make.   The biggest change is I would go with a direct drive system and variable speed rather than the step pulley system, but it did work ok for the year or so I was set up that way.  I also would recommend at least a 1.5 hp TEFC motor.  Bigger is better.

4 & 5.  At the risk of being too repetitive, pick one proven design, study it, and follow the plans for it exactly.  Unless you have a thorough understanding of the way that these burners work (and I don't) it's not worth making "small" changes to the design.  You'll end up with more headaches and probably a sub-par burner.  Here's a couple links to get you started on that:

https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/46536-burners-101/

https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/43976-t-burner-illustrated-directions/

After reading through that stuff and picking out what you plan to do feel free to ask questions about things you don't understand, but it's best if you take the time to read those for yourself first.  Most of the questions we see from newcomers have been asked and answered in detail multiple times on the forum.  Rather than type it all out again it's better if we point you to the right spot or have you search them out for yourself.  The search function on this forum isn't great, so it's better to use your favorite web search engine and add "iforgeiron.com" to the search term.

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BuzzKIll got in first: I note that we agree quite closely!

Yes youtube is way to thin to base your plans off of  before you have the experience to judge if their ideas are good or bad...

I strongly suggest you get in touch with the Western Reserve Artist Blacksmith Association, wraba.com, they are on facebook as well.  See if there are any smiths in your area you can see and try out their forges.  (also see Wayne Coe's website for plans and supplies for making a propane forge.)

You say you have a motor; it's a 2 hp TEFC one?  2x72" belts are the default standard for belt grinders; lots of info and plans for building them out there.

Are you working to specific plans for your burners? Are you following them EXACTLY?   This is where many people mess up as they assume that  because they are not knowing much about them their guesses are bound to be better than experts with decades of experience! For instance you will want a regulator! (Would you drive a car without a working accelerator?)

 

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11 minutes ago, Buzzkill said:

3.  You might be getting a little ahead of yourself, but again it's best to pick one proven design and go with it.  I used the No Weld Grinder plans personally and there are some minor changes I would make.   The biggest change is I would go with a direct drive system and variable speed rather than the step pulley system, but it did work ok for the year or so I was set up that way.  I also would recommend at least a 1.5 hp TEFC motor.

I realize this is somewhat contradictory on the surface, BUT  I did follow the plans and instructions to build the grinder intially.  After using it for a while and understanding the system better I felt confident I could make some improvements for my purposes.  Choosing variable speed direct drive over step pulleys is the only change I would recommend to anyone building their own grinder unless they had a good understanding of these machines to begin with (and in that case they probably wouldn't need my input :) )

.

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18 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

BuzzKIll got in first: I note that we agree quite closely!

Yes youtube is way to thin to base your plans off of  before you have the experience to judge if their ideas are good or bad...

I strongly suggest you get in touch with the Western Reserve Artist Blacksmith Association, wraba.com, they are on facebook as well.  See if there are any smiths in your area you can see and try out their forges.  (also see Wayne Coe's website for plans and supplies for making a propane forge.)

You say you have a motor; it's a 2 hp TEFC one?  2x72" belts are the default standard for belt grinders; lots of info and plans for building them out there.

Are you working to specific plans for your burners? Are you following them EXACTLY?   This is where many people mess up as they assume that  because they are not knowing much about them their guesses are bound to be better than experts with decades of experience! For instance you will want a regulator! (Would you drive a car without a working accelerator?)

 

Since I posted this I found a Gas supply store with an knowledgeable old timer who was interested and willing to help. They have my burner with the regulator at there shop and will hook up appropriate hose and test everything for me.  Forgot to check what size motor I got but it was a bigger one from my choices. thanks for the tips will check out Wayne's plans

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My best advice for knifemaking, especially ones you plan on using for something like hunting and such, resist the urge to make a knife for as long as you can, within reason. Burn through about 10-20 projects that aren't knives, specifically geared towards beginners and teaching how you make certain shapes. How you heat metal properly, what temperatures to work it at, how to hold and swing your hammers, what part of the anvil to work off of, how to use tooling in your forge to work on less heats, how to remain safe when forging, etc. 

 

There are a good number of books that walk you step by step through this process, I have Art of Blacksmithing and Complete Modern Blacksmith, both titles are great and have good diagrams with projects. If you don't want to buy a book the ABANA Hand Controlled Forging program is available in PDF free online. 

I'm still quite the newb myself, but looking at the forums and seeing people say "this is my first project" and post a knife that looks like a prison shank, but worse, makes me cringe. Compare that to beginners who post actual attainable beginner projects, hooks, coal rakes, plant hangers, nails, etc. Not only does their work look better earlier, which builds confidence, but learning itself has a curve. The quicker and more efficient you learn basic lessons the faster you'll progress. 

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1 hour ago, Charcold said:

My best advice for knifemaking, especially ones you plan on using for something like hunting and such, resist the urge to make a knife for as long as you can, within reason. Burn through about 10-20 projects that aren't knives, specifically geared towards beginners and teaching how you make certain shapes. How you heat metal properly, what temperatures to work it at, how to hold and swing your hammers, what part of the anvil to work off of, how to use tooling in your forge to work on less heats, how to remain safe when forging, etc. 

 

There are a good number of books that walk you step by step through this process, I have Art of Blacksmithing and Complete Modern Blacksmith, both titles are great and have good diagrams with projects. If you don't want to buy a book the ABANA Hand Controlled Forging program is available in PDF free online. 

I'm still quite the newb myself, but looking at the forums and seeing people say "this is my first project" and post a knife that looks like a prison shank, but worse, makes me cringe. Compare that to beginners who post actual attainable beginner projects, hooks, coal rakes, plant hangers, nails, etc. Not only does their work look better earlier, which builds confidence, but learning itself has a curve. The quicker and more efficient you learn basic lessons the faster you'll progress. 

Great advice. I picked up some RR spikes I will play round with those first. Can't wait to started.

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Leaves from spring steel ( automotive coils) are another place to experiment, not to mention simply learning to forge tools. A set of tongs and the tools to make them will agrivate you enugh, lol

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+1 for leaf springs, or even lawnmower blades. Flattening out a spike for your first project is a good way to hurt your shoulder that's not yet in shape for that much repeated hard pounding, source: my shoulder after my first project. 

or simply get a piece of round stock, make a square taper on one end, square section in the middle for a twist, round taper on the other end, and make an s hook. that's about the first 5 lessons on the ABANA program all in one project. And you'll have a hook to hang you 2nd project on, the coal rake. 

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On 11/16/2017 at 10:22 AM, Charcold said:

looking at the forums and seeing people say "this is my first project" and post a knife that looks like a prison shank, but worse, makes me cringe.

Oh, good; it's not just me.

On 11/16/2017 at 10:22 AM, Charcold said:

My best advice for knifemaking, especially ones you plan on using for something like hunting and such, resist the urge to make a knife for as long as you can, within reason. Burn through about 10-20 projects that aren't knives, specifically geared towards beginners and teaching how you make certain shapes. How you heat metal properly, what temperatures to work it at, how to hold and swing your hammers, what part of the anvil to work off of, how to use tooling in your forge to work on less heats, how to remain safe when forging, etc. 

EXCELLENT advice.

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You  can generally tell how much a student annoys me by how soon I'll let them make a knife---the more annoying they are the sooner I'll let them!  Hopefully after spending  *hours* trying to correct basic forging issues and often ending up with cracked  too thin blades they will deign to *listen* next time...

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