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EODGunner

NE Ohio - Ish

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Good Day!

Hello World, I'm Matt!

So like everyone, I had to find a starting point. Well, that starting point was a few years ago as I started to gather information and collect ideas, lists, and funds to begin this endeavor. I've got lists of materials I want, items I "need", projects to build, and how to's to get a forge underway. The biggest thing I have been missing is: knowledge resource. With this site, there's enough shared knowledge here that not only do I want to be able to pick your brains for more knowledge, but in return, I also want to be able to share any knowledge I get with the group.

Ahh yea, more about me... Well, I have been in the military for the past 13 years. Been overseas twice (longer than a month) and looking to be headed over again for yet another fun time. Since I've transferred from active duty to reserves and national guard, I've had a plethora of jobs. Pizza chef, Bartender, Fuel delivery Driver, and RC Car mechanic/salesman to name a few in no specific order. I've gone to school for a number of topics, and love to learn new and challenging things. Speaking of which, as my friend who was in college calculus with me says... "I don't know how you do it, but you know the more difficult topics, but get stumped by basic algebra. Sometimes it's like someone flipped your brain." So please bear with me if I'm asking dumb beginner questions yet seem to have the correct answer for the more experienced tiers of knowledge. Sometimes I wish it was reversed so I could have a more solid base of understanding. I'm pretty open, but will refrain from answering too much in the way of personal life.

Since I'm basically starting from scratch as far as equipment, I also plan on making my journey to a novice/amateur blacksmith into a cautionary tale/story. I do plan on taking many photo's (I have a high quality camera) and making as much of the equipment I can myself. I love talking theory, but get distracted in multiple people conversation easily. IE, If i'm talking with one to three maybe four people in a thread, I can usually keep track of where things go. Once a certain number of people start posting and having side conversations, I lose the ability to keep track of who's responding to who, so my apologies in advance, but don't let that hold you back from messaging me!

Again, I look forward to talking with and discussing all aspects of blacksmithing with you all!

-Matt

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welcome. good to see ya finally got in.

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Welcome aboard Matt. Thank you for your service. 

 

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Thank you gentlemen for the warm welcome! I've been continuing my research in the forums. Tons of great information here. Also, I'm glad to see that there are people in my timezone / local ish to me.

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Welcome aboard Matt, glad to have you. Thank you for Serving.

Don't over think the craft and start making shopping lists, especially "must have" list. A smith doesn't need much to do good work and learning the craft you don't have to worry about doing good work just learning from your upcoming plethora of mistakes. Getting good comes with the experience. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Welcome! If you haven’t yet, please READ THIS FIRST!!!

I’m also in NE (-ish) Ohio, and you’d be welcome to come visit. 

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Yup, im just southeast-ish of you haha. 

What Frosty said. If you share some of what you'd like to make, and what you do have, what type of fuel you plan to use and other info, we could point you in some directions to look. Also if you post your list we could make some pointers on it. 

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Hopefully everyone's day has been as productive as mine. I'll start off with the basics of what I am thinking I should get, then go from there on what I feel I could make.

To start off, I am willing to put some good $$ down to get into this. From previous experiences in different hobbies, sometimes it's worth the up front cost to save from having to re-do or re-buy the same thing later on because of damage from used items.

I am wanting to make my own gas powered forge. I live in a highly residential area, and don't feel that I could support this as much if I didn't go gas. I don't think I'm going to go too big on the forge (not that I really know what too big is), and still trying to decide on single or multiple burner. Yet another reason why this will be such a great well of knowledge. I'm thinking for dimensions for the forge, I'm looking at an internal depth of 16-18 inches. An internal width of 6-8 inches, and an internal height of 4-6 inches. I'm hoping this should be big enough that I can do whatever it is that I intend on doing.

The second item is an anvil. I had thrown around the idea of attempting to cast my own, but decided against it. I may still take this idea and do such an endeavor down the road with a smaller anvil (one for jewelry per say). I have not figured out what size to get. I've seen everywhere from don't go past 1 lb hammer per 40 lbs, and 3 lbs per 100 lbs of anvil, and even some with no limits. Knowing my workspace, and that I plan on going to blades, blunts, axes, jewelry, and tools, I feel that I could handle an anvil up to 300 lbs (space wise) but don't feel it necessary to actually get one that size. I have found a brand new one for $1500, and it's within range for me to go actually pick it up. Considering some of the prices in used ones (terrible shape at that) I am considering that to be an option. My plan is to be able to use up to an 5-8 lb sledge. I'm planning on starting out much lighter until I get used to things and can forge my own though. I think I'll start off with a 1lb, then start to forge my own hammers.

I figure this is a good start to discuss things, but please correct me. hahaha

-Matt

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Can't help on the gas forge, I have no experirnce with them.

As far as anvils, if you can afford it, nothing wrong with buying a new quality anvil. Just know what you are looking at, and still test it. 

Around 200# for a shop anvil should be fine for most things us hobbyists make in my opinion. 

My main anvil is only just 127# and I haven't "needed" to upgrade yet. Tho I'd like a nice 200# german pattern anvil. ;)

 

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MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR GETTING STARTED!  Attend Quad-State in Troy Ohio Sept 21-23. There will literally be hundreds of anvils for sale there: New through Antique.  You can camp onsite at the Fair grounds and spend the hotel money on tools!!!!!!  Attend the demos of the skills you want to learn.  Meet smiths from all over.

How good is Quad-State?  I'm driving 1500 miles to attend!

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I wish I could attend. I'll be on orders and there's no chance in me getting those dates changed. Great to hear about that though, and will have to look into getting there for 2019/2020.

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Daswulf,  if it were your 200# anvil, how heavy would you go maximum on your hammers? Also, as far as forges goes, who would you say is a good source to bounce ideas off of for gas forges?

 

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As Thomas said, Quad State is the best event of the year, (I will be driving from the south edge of NC again this year, with luck)  but lots of other events go on there year-round. The SOFA web page will have other listings.

That said, you would be hard pressed to find a weekend without something going on somewhere. How far are you willing to drive/carpool with a group of like minded individuals? There are several active ABANA groups within 4 hours of you, a ton within an 8 hour day.

As far as gas forge advice, Mikey Price wrote the actual book on that subject, and he chimes in here in the gas forge forum.

You can do a lot of heavy sledge hammer work over the supported face of any well mounted anvil. The smaller the waist, the smaller the sweet spot, and the greater potential for damage out on the horn or heel.

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When I teach I take a piece of chalk and draw the sweetspot on the side of the anvil to encourage students who strike light lightening---never twice in the same spot---to at least keep their blows in the "safe zone".  Those who can't get moved to a dead soft hammer....

Some anvils, like Mouseholes and other old english ones, have thick waists and larger sweet spots, other like later A&H and Trentons have elongated heels and horns and a small waist---handy for ornamental work; not so good for heavy striking.  Still others like German and Italian anvils don't have a waist and so have a substantial sweet spot.

How big a hammer I would use depends on how good of aim you have.  I've used an 8# short handled sledge on a 91# anvil but ALWAYS striking in the sweet spot. (I've also used a 4 oz ball peen striking on a 469# anvil didn't pay any heed to where the sweet spot was...)

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John and Thomas - thank you for your input. From previous experience in HS working with sledges hammering in tent stakes (and again in the military), I know that overhead with a 2handed sledge, I have decent aim. However, from dealing with cutting kindling for my dad's fireplace, I know my 1handed swing leaves a little to be desired in the way of accuracy. The heaviest I am thinking at this point as far as hammers goes is 8#. However I think I'm going to prefer more in the 2-4# range. I would like to send pictures of the anvil I decide to go with (prior and post purchase) to get input. The sweet spot marking would be a great asset. Also, good to know the weights you use with the hammers and anvils.

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16 hours ago, EODGunner said:

  if it were your 200# anvil, how heavy would you go maximum on your hammers?

Provided I'm sure I wont miss? Haha, I have used a 10-12# sledgehammer striking when I've had help at the forge when we were making a 3# hammer on my 127# Trenton. ( it has the solid steel top from the waist up so I'm a bit more confident than if it was just a top plate). Hand hammers, I usually use a 3#, and up to a 6# to really move the thicker stuff.  

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11 hours ago, EODGunner said:

. I would like to send pictures of the anvil I decide to go with (prior and post purchase) to get input. 

Not a bad idea. 

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You're not likely to take a full overhead two handed swing at anything on your anvil so I wouldn't think a whole lot about sizing it for that. If you think you're going to be doing that kind of hitting make a striking anvil, say 8" dia shaft that reaches to the ground and have at it. 

I usually recommend a person start out with hammers in the 32 oz. max range. It's heavy enough to do serious work but won't tire you out as quickly nor is as likely to do damage. First sessions I give the beginner a 32 oz. drill hammer. They have a shorter handle which improves control and will still make some FINE beginner mistakes to hang on the wall. 

Just don't rush into things, the only thing you're sure to accomplish being in a rush is making your mistakes permanent sooner. 

And yeah, send pics of what you're looking at here we'll be proud to give you a hand.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I didn't think I'd ever be using overhand swings. Was just giving it as a reference for my skill level. 2# sounds like a good plan. Though for future reference, should I be referring to hammers by # or by oz? Or is it just a preference of the blacksmith? Also, just out of sheer curiosity, how do you step your hammers? Ie, by the pound, 8oz, 24oz, etc?

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This is an international forum, so people generally use pounds, ounces, kilos, and grams. 

As for stepping the weights, folks generally don’t seem to get quite so finicky about precisely graduating the weights as they do about having a good range of types, shapes, and weights. I myself have about half a dozen hammers that I’ll cycle through in the course of a project depending on what needs to get hit how, and how hard. 

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Old handmade hammers tend not to be exact weights anyway.   I use # for pounds and kg for kilograms.  However my 2 and 4 oz ballpeens are specified in oz...

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Your relations with your hammers is a very personal thing, a good hammer for me may be awful for you. What I put on the hammer rack on my anvil changes depending on the job or how my arthritis is that day. In the past few years I don't pick up my heavier hammers very often, they live within reach on the table hammer, top tool rack but I don't swing them much. I'm getting to where 2 lb.> is comfortable for a while so that's what I swing most. All the years of abuse I put on my hands is finally catching up. At least trigger finger makes it less likely I'll drop the tongs. Even if I want to. :blink:

I recommend 23 oz./ 2 lb/ 900-1,000 gm. for guys to get started with, NOT as a permanent weight/size. It's a good school hammer to build your skills and hammer technique with. Think of it like minimum wage, it's not a career decision it's a foot in the door. Advance!

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Before I start to assemble my starting kit, I'm going to definitely link up with someone from the immediate area just to see their layout as well as possibly getting my hands dirty for the first time. This has been a great help all.

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