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Hello everybody.  I am very new to blacksmithing as in just started 2 hours ago.  The problem I am having is while trying to make a rake for my homeade coal forge( actually charcoal until I can order the real stuff) I was trying to spread a 1/4 inch round stock and ended up getting it way to thin.  I did not get the width so I was wondering is it ok to fold it back onto itself to build it back up and then try it again?  I know I've read about folding it in knife making but I was just wondering about for tool making.  Also I know 1/4 is small anyway but it was what I had on hand and just wanted practice.  Any advice is appreciated.

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You could do that, but you would have to forge weld it to itself, which is a much trickery skill. Your best bet would be to upset it first. upsetting means to squash it thicker by hitting it on the end.

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May I point out that they have been using real charcoal to forge iron and steel for about 3 times longer than they have been using coal?

I have several coal forge fire rakes made from 1/4" sq stock that work well, (my wife even took one to use as a light duty woodstove tool...). 1 trick with square stock to get width flatten on a diagonal as that is 1.414 times the length of a side to start with.

Round stock that size you are better off getting larger stock than trying to upset it to a usable dimension as a beginner.

Stop by and I'll give you a suitable piece for free!

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Starting over with a new piece of steel is definitely your best option. Upsetting is a basic skill and more appropriate for your current skill level. 

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I disagree "just started 2 hours ago" is NOT the time to try to master upsetting where temperature control and hammer control is an absolute necessity.  Why set them up for repeated failures when they are just starting out?

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Upsetting 1/2" square about drove a couple of the guys who have some experience nuts last Saturday and upsetting 1/4" is WAY trickier you spend more time straightening than upsetting. Forget a rake for now, a small stick with a trimmed branch will work if you actually need a rake. Charcoal doesn't clinker up like coal so rakes aren't nearly as necessary.

Keep the beginning to the basics, straight tapers and maybe turn a finial scroll. S and drive hooks are a good start. I recommend you buy a stick of 3/8" sq. hot rolled. It shouldn't run but around $15 and change, probably less, shipping to Alaska is a killer. That is heavy enough it won't cool right off so you get some hammer time between heats and it isn't so heavy it's hard to move. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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