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I Forge Iron

Cantley / Norfolk/ UK


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Well before i start making a fool of myself....thought it would be prudent to to introduce myself............(if you want more info' go to my profile)

The name is Ditchman...which i have used for many years on shooting forums...i joined this forum as i need your brains to push me along my way to making a decent set of hunting knives...........i am used to "pushing metal about".......i have made a hunting knife before  ...just the one.:lol:....in 1982....it was out of a Toyota leaf spring...and as i was in southern sudan at the time and ivory was still leagal...it had an ivory and brass handle........the end product was a good servicable blade...that had a handforged look to it ..as i flatterened it with a planishing hammer before hollow grinding it....i gave it to a friend who was "made up " with it....and to my knowledge he still wears it every day...

I have promised to make a set of hunting knives for a friend...but i need to up my skill set...hence joined this forum...where i can pick you's folks brains..


the weather here is xxxxxx awful...it is cold ...wet...miserable...im not spending a lot of time in the shed at the moment...but inside sitting in front of the fire.....

as ever............



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I understand that temperature is relative to the location. 32*F or 0*C is where water starts to freeze. We have blacksmiths on the site that forge in -20 below zero F or -30*C. For them it is just a nip in the air cool.

According to the internet weather, Cantley AT 3:30 PM is 10*C or 50*F with the low tonight of 3*C or 38*F.

Currently we are 26*F or -3*C with a low tomorrow night of 9*F or -13*C. It is cold enough here that the 55 gallon barrel used as a slack tub is solid ice. 

Friday of this week, Melbourne VIC, Australia is suppose to be 66*F or 98*F. 

As I said, temperature is relative to the location, and how long you have lived there.


When the weather is .it is cold ...wet...miserable, put another log on the fire, pack a lunch and a warm drink, and spend some time on IForgeIron to catch up on your reading. 

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:lol::lol:...yeah................but the old norfolk weather......has wot is called "a lazy wind"....................its too xxxx lazy to go around you...it go straight thru you..............

in the old dialect...us old boi's refer to bad weather comin in as,.............................."blast thats a dark owa wills muther's boi"


keep you orn a troshin..



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I want to be able to make some good honest serviceable blades.............i have been visiting various sites and i am in awe of the skills and the stunning blades that are produced...

my whole life has evolved around shooting..but due to personell reasons that is slowly taking a back seat...as it requires for me to be away from the house for several hours at a time...

i havnt OCD but i need to keep busy with my hands...i make and mend all sorts of stuff for friends on my shooting forum that they send me...

it will take several years to even partly amass skills......i would like to head for a pattern welded finish but with a good carbon plain steel inner...nothing fancy...it wont be used for fighting grizzlies and such like....making up handles is something i have done regular like so no worries there.....i dont want my knives to look like they have been stamped out at a foundary..


all in all i want to keep it simple...and get good at doing something that is simple and sound and functional....thats what i want to head for......................:)



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Grinding is good training as you have to grind forged blades too and it's a common method of producing knives.  Forging the blade is more the exception than the norm. (except around these parts...)   Just depends on how severe your OCD is. (some OCD  folks do great work on folders for example as they enjoy the precision needed.)

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Welcome aboard Ditchman, glad to have you. 

Blade smithing is a combination of several different skill sets. Some of those are several skill sets in themselves. Forging, heat treatment and grinding, polishing, are the general categories. 

Forging entails hammer control and heat management, learning on low carbon steel is a good way to develop the basic skills. Low carbon is much less sensitive to heat management mistakes, you can get it sparkling too hot without damaging it to the point of starting over. It moves reasonably easily and doesn't cost much. New stock is much better than salvage, evaluating the working characteristics of found steel is another sometimes involved skill set. Once you have a handle on the basic hammer and heat management skills, learning to forge high carbon is just learning how a different steel reacts to fire and hammer. High carbon is much more sensitive to heat mistakes, sparkles means it's burning and carbon and iron burn at different rates so at least the surface is now an unknown material. It doesn't move as easily under the hammer so it's more work and it has a more narrow working temperature range. 

Heat treatment is another set of skills that in itself doesn't have anything to do with fire and hammer. Different thing.

Grinding is something you'll have to learn or if you're someone who wants to do it the "OLD" way files, scrapers, sand paper, etc. This is easier to control but it's more work and slower than power tools.

Anyway, I recommend future bladesmiths learn to forge mild steel. While making stock removal blades. This allows a person to learn the three basic skill sets by themselves and makes for less confusion. Once you k now how to make the metal dance to your tune, making blades is JUST ANOTHER SHAPE to make. Easy peasy even if it's a little touchier it's no big deal. You already know how to grind and finish blades and you know what will make it easier so you can forge that shape inn or out. Heat treatment isn't that big a deal if you follow the steps and start out with coupons you don't care about if you screw up. You ARE going to screw up heat treatment a time or two don't do it on something you've invested hours of sweat making.

Of course sending your blades to the heat treaters is a GOOD option, you can skip that skill set and let the pros handle it.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Most heat treatment; some alloys really do require precise  heat treatment if you are going to get your money's worth out of them. They will need to be sent out unless you have things like computerized inert atmosphere ramping controlled electric heat treat furnace.  (I generally stick to the old alloys that do fine in a forge heat treatment myself...)

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