JBad279

Hello from Southern Missouri

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I recently started hitting hot metal with a hammer and I really enjoy it. Any good books to read on tips and other useful info on making metal do what you want? Also is there any ways to figure out what type of metal you have around the house?

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Yes   (or can you give us more specifics so we can be more specific in our answers!)

Do you want "Techniques of Medieval Armour Reproduction" or "The Complete Modern Blacksmith"?  Are your forging with charcoal, coal or gas?

As for metal: "In Rust We Trust!"   As many coatings are toxic when heated; rusty metal is usually good to forge.  To test what you have look up "spark testing".  You will find many "junkyard steel" lists floating around and almost all of them have some major errors in them.  (A typical one is stating that jackhammer bits are S-7 steel; one member who spent his career resharpening them said that he had only run into a handful that were anything other than 1050---out of over a million he had worked!)

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Haha thanks. Im interested in all around blacksmithing. As for the forge I use an old buffalo coal forge. It works well for what I use it for. Im working on a bigger coal forge for the future. I have new stock but I didnt purchase it so I have no idea what it is.

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20' lengths or 4' from a local big box store?   most likely A-36.  Better alloys cost more and so most of use use the lowest common denominator alloys. EXCEPT for blade smithing and tool making where the traits of better alloys are mandatory.

"All around blacksmithing":  may I commend to your attention: "The Celtic Sword", "The Knight and the Blast Furnace", "The Sword and the Crucible", "Civil War Blacksmithing", "Introduction to Knifemaking", "Backyard Blacksmith", "The Complete Bladesmith", "Practical Blacksmithing",  getting close to US$1000 here and I don't know if ANY will help you as I don't think "all around blacksmithing" exists.  For your location "Country Blacksmithing" might help as well as the Foxfire book: "Foxfire 5: Ironmaking, Blacksmithing, Flintlock Rifles". Most of the titles for my Industrial smithing books don't stick in my mind....Sort of like saying you want a book on painting and not telling us if you want to paint houses, cars or portraits!

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All around smithing as in tool making, different techniques on shaping metal, everday use things. And of course bladesmithing. I've already read Fox 5. Those books have lots of useful info. 

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Welcome aboard, J or Bad? glad to have you.

I get all round blacksmithing but it's harder than it sounds. When I got interested as a tyke who's parents screamed at for lighting anything, especially the"forge." Forge. . . .HAH! I wanted to be like the old time village or town blacksmith who did anything metal. Sure it's a goal but it's a life long learning curve you'll never crest. I settled for being a generalist. Before the accident you could give me a thing to make or repair and a couple tries to get right and I could usually pull it off or tell you why not. 

For about 20 years I was an exploration driller taking soil sample and doing in field tests for foundations, focusing mainly on bridges with a healthy smattering of building, retaining wall foundations, harbors, rock quarries, etc.. Anyway, I spent a LOT of time camping in remote locations so did a lot of smithing rather than knocking down a couple half racks of beer every night. The tools I could bring along were a couple hammers, chisels and a pair of tongs. The rest I had to make as I went. My forges were almost entirely camp fires and you bet you can make a camp fire hot enough to weld with. A piece of pipe and a paper bag will do it nicely.

Tool making is a good place to start experimenting on tool steels. Things like cabinet and gate hardware are good for learning adequate precision and consistency. You DO want the top and bottom hinge to match don't you? NO it doesn't have to be perfect, (forget perfect! It's the craftsman's albatross) What they need be is close enough to look well together. If you can't get a close match then make them deliberately different in a pleasing way. 

For a very beginning set of projects without reading through that catagory of Iforge, things like wall hooks, S hooks, bottle openers, fire tools, yard art, etc. work nicely to get your skills sets started.

Once you have some practice getting steel to do what you want it too learning to forge high carbon alloys is just a matter of learning different heat management and your hammer control and muscles should be built up enough to provide the extra force necessary to move it.

For field expedient blacksmithing like I did for so long I HIGHLY recommend "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" by Alexander Wygers. He was an artist who traveled the world in the '30s I think and couldn't pack his tools so he developed the skills to improvise a shop from whatever was at hand and make his tools. When he moved on he left the tools, shop and more knowledgeable locals. I REALLY like the guy. Unfortunately it's not really a learn to blacksmith how to book but is full of improvisation inspiration, I call it the "Bootstrapper's Bible."

Frosty The Lucky.

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I know I sound excessively picky; but I use my passport card every working day and never use a TV, (don't own one); but have 10 large bookcases in my small rental unit (and a couple of dozen bookcases in my actual house). I can assume you do likewise?  So: Tool making as in blacksmithing tools or wood carving or hatchels or timber framing or etching/woodblock or industrial or cooking tools or....(Weygers has an interesting take on wood carving chisels and McRaven deals some with timber framing tools  for example)

However if you just want general suggestions we have thousands of posts here already covering such things. Get a comfy chair (with or without the soft cushions) and a snack and a nice drink and dive in!

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