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I Forge Iron

Another new guy


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I have worked with metal in some sort of way most of my life. Fabricating, Ironworker, welding, pipefitting, and even some machining. So I had a little basic knowledge of some things. I got involved in a conversation on another site about heat treating, then we progressed into smithing. I've always been interested in it, and my great grandfather was a professional smith. My dad still has a few of his tools left.

So with this conversation going, I decided at the end of last July it was time to get off my butt and finally give this a real try.

I started with a makeshift forge that did not insulate like it should and a home made burner that was not putting out the heat that it should. I had a couple hammers and a piece of rail for an anvil.



Long story short, I did a lot of fiddling and fighting with the forge trying to get things heated and moving correctly, and I lucked up and found a Vulcan 110 pound anvil at a pretty fair price of $200.  After a major overhaul of my forge, I'm actually moving some steel now.





I have gone from my first set of tongs and attempt at a "knife" last August,




To candle holders, fire pokers, straight razor, wood chisel, pot racks, more tongs, more knives and just overall being completely hooked.




Now my goal is to keep learning and furthering my skills and knowledge, and hopefully meet up with a few people. I've talked to Ed Appleby and hope to get the chance to attend some of the PABA events this year. Looking forward to sharing some more experiences here.

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Welcome aboard.  great to see you over here.  there are many guys here who know their stuff and are anxious to share.  searching features a bit dodgy, I've taken to using google to search tis site at the suggestion of a couple members.  also when you are looking at a thread and want to go to a different page, it won't load and you have to hit the refresh button.  

good luck


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Hi Mike!

I got the right one then when I hit the follow button haha. I've been doing some reading and saw about the search thing. Also saw Victor is on here too. His darn fault I got started in all of this to begin with hahaha!

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Welcome aboard Shawn, and welcome to the addiction. Lots of info on this site, as they say here, fix you  a sandwich and cold drink and spend some time reading. I'm kinda mid- east PA, just south of Allentown. If you're in the area give me a yell. The PABA group is a good gang of guys, hope to see you at some meetings.


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Thanks for the welcome Steve!

Allentown is a long haul, but just about anywhere is for me haha. 2hrs to Erie, 3.5 hours to Pittsburgh, just over 4 to Allentown... I'm not near anything. I will definitely keep it in mind if I get the itch for a weekend trip though! I am hoping to be able to do a little traveling to be able to attend some events, and I did find one shop, firestone forge, about an hour from me, but no listings for events. I'll probably get ahold of them when the weather warms up a little.

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Welcome aboard Shawn, glad to have you. Man, you PA guys just sort of swarm don't you?

Puhleeez don't tell me something is too far away to visit. The lower 48 is at least a 2 day drive if I ignore speed limits, sleep and bathroom breaks. The trick is to grab a bite and hit the can when you stop for gas. 

Looks like you have a pretty good handle on smithing for a beginner. Nice lot of pics, we LOVE pics. Keep it up please ad give a shout if you have questions the stickies, or a thread doesn't cove well enough.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks Frosty!

My big thing with distance right now is I recently healed up from one hip surgery and supposed to get the other one done. So it's more of a money thing at the moment being off of work. At least I can stand at the anvil ok. That doesn't require a lot of movement in the hip. Been using scrap metals for the most part. Knives and such have been made from leaf spring. I know, I know.... Not the best thing, but it was free and harden-able.

If you like pictures, here are a few more.

The straight razor is my own. My grind wasn't perfect by any means, but trying to do a hollow grind with no experience on the end of a 4x36 cheap belt sander was a challenge. It ended up being more of a half hollow, but it shaves very well.

Everything else was Christmas gifts. The S hook pot rack was for my mom, the TP holder (and there was a matching hand towel holder) was for one of my girls, the wood chisel was for the father-in-law, (candle holders above were for the mother-in-law), the hunting knife was for the boy, fire poker was for my dad, and the chefs knife that is still waiting to be finished (hopefully in the next couple days) is for the other girl.





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I was just razzing you a little, living in Alaska has it's issues. I understand how long drives can cause pain and you get funny looks boarding a bus with anvil and tools, even if the forge is out and cold. People are funny that way.

Ditto Charles re. coil vs. leaf. Leaf spring looks like a good choice, it's almost the right shape already. Yes? Unfortunately forging a blade profile in flat stock is more an intermediate skill than beginner's. You do less hammering and it's easier to control if you start with round or square stock.

Don't toss the leaf spring though, make stock removal knives from it. You need good skills at the grinder regardless. Climbing that learning curve while you're learning to forge spring stock don't interfere with each other. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Not a replacement, they had to shave some extra bone off the femur head and re-attach some torn cartilage in the socket. So no fancy titanium for me.  

I'd like to get some heavy coil spring. This was semi truck leaf a bit over 3/8 thick, so I would cut a rectangular-ish billet off and then draw it out and into shape.

I've been practicing drawing using my anvil edge, the horn, and the end of my cross peen. So far I'm most efficient drawing length using the anvil edge, but the horn does come out cleaner. My vulcan anvil has such a flat wide horn though, it doesn't seem to move the steel as fast. So I'm trying to do my heavy moving with the edge, then clean it up and finish drawing on the horn. Width drawing, I'm using my hammer face edge or the cross peen.

I've got a Picard Swedish style hammer that I really like and do most of my work with now. Might look into a rounding hammer just because, but I'm trying to learn and be proficient with what I have before adding too much more into the mix.

Part of my problem is sometimes I revert back to swinging the hammer like I did as an ironworker driving bullpins. I have to catch myself and get it back under control. Loose grip, precise hits, consistent controlled swing. You are only moving a small heated/softened piece of steel, not 6,000 pounds of structure.... Chill out.

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That is a big spring for sure. My dad knows one of the bus garage owners close to me, so I'm going to see about possibly sourcing some there. Maybe old axle shafts too.

The one mechanic down town is keeping an eye out for pieces for me as well.  He gave me one of the pieces I was working with.

There is a guy up the road from me that just put 4 train axle trolleys in his field. Don't know where he got them from but those are some pretty hefty springs on those. Going to have to stop and talk to him one of these days. 

I stopped at a couple local scrap yards, but NY state will not or can not sell to you from the yard. The one close in PA, it's always "stop back when one of the boss men are here". There are 4 apparently, and none of them are ever there.

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