Fuzzy K

I can be a Swordsmith

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AS long as the place where you rest hot metal is larger than your hammer face, you want the mass under the hammer impact area for efficiency. In the photo is a rr track, a piece of 1/2 inch stock, and a 2 pound hammer face.

rr track and hammer.jpg

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My problem is that when I have larger projects I am not strong enough to hold it in one hand so I need more of it to rest on the anvil.

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The rest of us use somthing to prop up the other end (often the heart of the forge is set at anvil hight) up. A huge mistake a young man makes is assuming old peaple are stupid. Some aren’t the sharpest but more often than not they are just as smart as you and have a lot more experience. You have heard the one about two eyes, two eyes and in mouth? Watch, listen, ask good questions. Watch and listen to the answers and don’t argue that your way is better unlike you have thoraly tested both at the anvil. As opposed to what has become PC, not everyone’s oppinion has equal validity. If your oppinion is deminstratably incorrect it isn’t valid, wile some one ellses that is demonstraitably so is valid.  

You have peaple who could be charging good money for their time giving you good advice, you are not the first young person to come here, on can make a list of them, and many have become beter smiths than I in short order. They listened to more experienced smiths, and took that advice to the forge and asked the hot steel for its oppinion. If the steel laughed at them they came back to see if they misunderstood the advice (most likely) or if they had received bad advice (unlikely, as bad advice doesn’t fly here). 

Insted of assuming that you know more than us old folks, assume that their is a reason why our way works and ask why that that is. Once you understand the process then you may very well redescover a beter way, but as a 13 year old inexperienced smith it is unlikely at this moment. 

Listen, take the advice to your forge.

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Ok thank you for the reality check. I am sorry I got a big head for a second there but I am going to try what you said right now.

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S'okay Fuzz. it's a teenager thing but it gets annoying so don't take it too personally when we tell you to knock it off. <_<  There have been some pretty extreme examples of kids who argued with everything, after a while we just stopped responding.  We're getting to where not responding works better for US than going all curmudgeon on the really annoying kids. We don't gain anything by getting mad and responding, (why should WE feel bad for another's behavior?) so we just ignore the irritants till they grow up or go away. 

That being said please note we're saying this to you. That means we see promise, you have the makings of a good smith so it's worth it to us to engage you. If you'll back off explaining things to us  when we offer advice more of the experienced folk will be willing to help. When we offer advice for a BETTER way to do something explaining why you prefer to do it the hard way is kind of silly don't you think? We not only can't make you do something we don't really want to. Your shop your way, we're just offering the benefits of what we learned from mistakes. Please feel free to make as many as you with.

For instance the suggestion to mount your anvil on edge was made as it's efficiency as an anvil will improve significantly. Your argument for leaving it flat was for a common problem. You don't think you're the first smith needing another arm to handle: heavy, large or long stock do you? We make these handy bits of shop equipment we call "Helpers". They're stands we can put where we need them, a simple helper is a T on a stand that's the same height as the anvil face. You can move it around to hold any length or get it out of the way.

I made a number from damaged warning  sign standards I salvaged out of the dumpser. This lets me adjust their height from: anvil face/bottom tool, cut off saw bed height, drill press bed or bench level. I salvaged some rollers from a section of bent box conveyor and made helpers with rollers on top. One has two rollers mounted parallel so I can work on pipe or round stock easily. The first ones I made were fabbed entirely from square pipe and not nearly as handy but they're a lot stronger.

Stick with it little brother, we're pulling for you.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank you guys and I did change it but I still don't understand how it helps. I am not arguing but I just like to know why things work. Is it tla surface area thing?

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Good question. There are two main reasons. First is depth of rebound, the longer the distance of solid steel between the struck face and stand the ore efficiently it returns force to the work. Believe it or not laid flat that piece of plate flexes like a drum head under the force of the hammer, this dissipates the energy over the whole plate. On edge the flex is almost un-measurable, the the energy of the blow transfers through the stock you hit into the anvil and is conducted through the plate to the stand then returns to the face. The speed of sound through steel is incredibly fast so the hammer is still smooshing the stock when when the compression wave returns. Basically the anvil hits it from the other side while you're hitting it from the top. 

Make sense? 

Now reason 2 for why on edge is a better way to mount a plate anvil. It gives you 4 anvil faces to work with, you can do some serious grinding to make bottom tools of many kinds. Hardies, butchers, fullers and swages are the obvious ones but there are also bending forks, ball and acorn swages, etc. etc. Brian Brazeal has Youtube videos showing what he likes and how he uses them on his plate anvils. I don't know if he uses a London pattern anvil on a daily basis anymore.

Check out Charles Stevens' rail anvil thread for ideas for tooling you can grind into improvised anvils.

We have to go now, there's a club camp out hammer in next week end and we have a new RV so we're scouting for a good place to put it and not scratch it up. :)

See you later.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Jerry hit it square on the head. I see potential in you.

As he suggests, a stand that hold your plate on edge, you can make 3 edges into swages,  a big half round, 45 or 120 deg. notch. In each end and then one can drill a pritchel hole at one end and grind a big round fuller at the other. In between you still have a flat. Anvil fire has some ideas on modifications in there make an anvil sections. I would post a link but Jock gets persnickety about “Stealing band width”.

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The old guys have been where you are and somehow survived. Experience is learning from mistakes, whether you have to make them your self or you can watch others make them. 

When you get advice, take that advice to the forge and try it out. If it works, keep it. If it does not work, come back and tell us what you did, what happened, and ask to be given additional advice, which you will take to the forge and try out. In person it is easy, across the internet and through a forum, not quite so easy but very doable. 

Hang in there, we want you to succeed. 

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Thank you guys for the advice I currently don't think I have the tools to do that to my anvil (unless it is unbelievably simple in which case you would hopefully inform me) but if I did I would definitely try it out... actually on second thought I might me able to round the edges of part to it to half round.

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Fuzzy K, take a look at Brian Brazeal’s teaching anvil. Four good working shapes, and that’s just one edge. 

01 01_1256-1.JPG

 The great thing about a slab anvil is that you don’t have to modify it all at once. For now, grind a couple of different radii on the edges of one face, use that for a while, and then think about what other changes would be useful.

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Thank you guys I will definitely start to think about what shapes I would want. Would it be possible to do a hot cut?

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If you do, try to put it where your hammer hand isn’t likely to hit it. Don’t want to lose a finger. 

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Start out just radiusing the edges, you can do this easily enough with files and files are a MUST for a blacksmith's tool box. Do NOT let your files touch each other! They will dull each other where ever they touch, dull files aren't much fun to use. :( Wrap them in newspaper if you have to, I keep the boxes they come in. 

You don't need a "real" hardy there are alternatives that work well with a plate anvil. A "hack" is basically a hot chisel forged on or welded to a piece of rod. If you take a piece of found coil spring and forge a triangular section LENGTHWISE on one end you have a hack. Hold the other end and place the sharp edge where you wish to cut and hit it with a hammer. Make sense?

Now, if you do the same thing towards the middle of the stock you can bend the ends so it slips over the edges of the plate leaving the cutting edge pointing upwards so you can use it like a "hardy." This is called a "saddle" tool, it rides the anvil like a saddle. Make sense?

The hack is a "top tool" meaning you hold it on top of the work and strike it with a hammer. Yes? The saddle tool is a "bottom tool" which means it rests on the anvil, you hold the stock on the tool and strike the stock. Yes?

Now, can you imagine a top or bottom tool YOU can't make once you've practiced up some? ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Yea I see what yor saying and I have a piece of coil spring so I might just try that next weekend  thanks frosty and I noticed in my other readings you are always helping people so thank you for helping all us new guys.

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You're welcome, it's my pleasure. I learn more from showing and telling folk how to do this stuff than I think they learn from me. You have to stop and think about why you're doing what you do to be able to explain it to someone else. You might be surprised how many times I realize I'm doing something other than I thought I was.

When you start to show people what you know you'll understand what I'm saying.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I had a music teach once tell me that she started teaching to become a better guitarist. When you start to teach all your bad habits become obvious to you, and you have to correct them not to pas them on.

On the subject of tools, an anvil devil is similar, it looks like a steel prism and sets on the anvil, and functional fullers can be made buy forging round spring stock into a “Z” that sets on the anvil face. But before the hardy hole, Hicks and other tools were forged that just stilucknin a stump like a mini anvil (note, hot and cold cuts must be covered for safety). Later you can make a portable hole and you can always cross drill your slab if you can take access to a drill press. Simply drill a 1/2” hole in the side of the slab about an inch from the face (that is 1 1/4” center) and drill down from the working face with a 5/16” to meat the 1/2” for a pritchel. But in the beginning you don’t need much and you can make tools and modifications when you need them

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