Sign in to follow this  
SoCal Dave

Cottonwood Leaf forging issue

Recommended Posts

I am working on my blacksmithing leaf phase and ran into a problem with the cottonwood leaf.  I've been following the Mark Aspery Vol 2 process of forging a cottonwood leaf.  I have not been able to get enough material spread on either side of the stem and down towards the stem area.  The leaf is actually supposed to spread out below the stem like the picture.  I seem to run out of material to move down to the stem area. Picture the Aspery leaf and my leaf.  Any suggestion on how to do this?  Sorry about the picture size but I couldn't see how to make them smaller.  

DSC03217.thumb.JPG.4ccf70a4682d9de525371d084ec2f060.JPG

 

DSC03218.thumb.JPG.d17810513711507e08534db3bf3cb0f6.JPG

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JHCC and I just had a go with this recently.  My suggestion would be this:  When it comes time to flatten the section of stock you isolated to form the leaf don’t flatten it outright.  Just give it a light tap or two to create a small flat area and then get to work with a straight peen or cross peen.  Spread it sideways a bit and then rotate the peen sideways to push material out into those corners.  A rounding hammer will set you back as it will send material in all directions.

You could also try upsetting the end of your stock a bit before your set down to isolate the leaf material.  That might give you more to work with.  Even still, only the straight peen will give you what you want.  Ball peen bad!  I’ve gotten into making leaves since JHCC’s visit because it is great for hammer control practice....which I need...

    edited to add:  I looked back at the picture and you can see the lines from the peening hammer on the leaf.  They clearly show how the smith turned the hammer to direct the material.

 

Lou

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Change the angle of your cross pien as you work so you end up driving material back towards the stem.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did two things today.  First, I worked in clay and could concentrate on my hammer blows.  Second, I didn't flatten the stock as much as before and that did leave me more material to move around.  Now, I haven't worked it with steel yet, and I plan on working with the clay a few more times. Photos of clay leaves.

 

DSC03220.thumb.JPG.93a9f67a4bb99699d363763501aaf931.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dave,

Using a crosspein hammer once your get you pre form made and slightly flattened, start inline with stem and work your blows as the attached drawing to pull metal out - around and down towards stem. The end of the the crosspein towards the stem is the pivot point and does not move metal as the other end is walked out and around and down towards stem from centerline of the leaf pre form. Do this in both directions to for each side of the leaf as you desire.

6686.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also using a smaller hammer with a bit "sharper" peen might help a bit, too. 

Bests:

Gergely

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You don't necessarily need a cross pein either - a rounding hammer will do the same thing with blows in the same pattern as above pic. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I stopped working on the cottonwood leaves for a little while.  Sometimes it good to step away.  I tried another one today with more success.  I didn't finish the one below with veins and the entire shape of the leaf wasn't finished but I think I got the stem/leaf transition area near or below where the stem transitions to the leaf.  The difference was that I use my rounding hammer and not the cross pein. I use my rounding hammer most of the time and feel more comfortable using it.  Jeremy K suggested that idea and when I tried it, I found it worked better than the cross pein.  The cross pein seemed like the practical, mechanical, way to go, but I never could get the metal to move the way I wanted.  So, I tried the rounding hammer and success.  

 

DSC03225.thumb.JPG.1ea9f6ea39167e6946a73504e63a2183.JPG  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dave, glad your having some luck, keep practicing, like most forgings - once you get to the 75 pc mark,  you end up fairly consistent and things start looking the same when you compare side by side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just don't go too thin with the rounding hammer so you have no meat left to add texture.  You are almost guaranteed to burn it..in a coal forge at least.

This is a testament for going to blacksmith meet ups, classes, or finding a forging partner.  I got so much out of JHCC's visit that one day and, to be honest, I think he did too.  In showing me something he ending up refining his own understanding.

 

Lou

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dave,

Can you show us your isolated shape you are forming prior to flatening the leaf? In my limited experience this shape plays a big role in what you end up with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will try to get a photo in the next few days as I ran out of propane yesterday.  I agree that the shape is important and found that I was making the point to long.  By doing that, I didn't have enough material left to move it around and spread out the leaf.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dave, you are correct, in that more than a blunt tip will cause problems, also it's easy to get the body behind the blunt tip to long also. Try keeping the body under the blunt tip, pre shape approximately 1-1/2 times the thickness of the bar. Use this as a starting point and adjust the length after you make a few and see how that goes.

999bcaa8-ee96-4d59-ab3a-2063e3f5d003.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made this leaf yesterday and used my rounding hammer only.  I use the rounded or curved side of the hammer to spread the leaf sections.  I'm learning to use all the aspects of or sides of a hammer.  On to the Gingko leaf.  

5ad95907ad680_MyCottonwoodLeaf.thumb.JPG.c85455fd5ee81d50d4a92dab973fcaa6.JPG

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice!  I’d suggest you make about fifty more of those before you move on.  I make a few leaf key fobs in the style I worked on with JHCC every forging session.  I bang them out in down times or at the end when I’m done with my main project.

Another thing to work on:  you might want to work out your stem before you shape the leaf.  I think it’s important to do the stem as well every time you do a leaf.  I learned the hard way that there is a breaking point in terms of how thin you can make the stem where it meets the leaf before it becomes too fragile for further forging.  Have fun either way! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this