Dece

Newbie from the old dominion

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I've been trying to get into smithing for awhile now and was finally able to scrape enough cash for whats needed for a ground forge(a few firebrick, black iron pipe, cheap hairdryer, and the handyman's secret weapon), cut a piece of old railroad track out of my property for an anvil and started trying to make wall hooks, nails, and the like. Simple items, stuff I could use. I am hoping to be able to get going and better at shaping items, although what I have been able to make is functional for myself at the moment.

 

I have been lurking for quite awhile here trying to glean what information I can, and one of the local blacksmiths has been a large help with advice. Sadly joining the local blacksmithing guild is not something I can really do at this time due to needing to take what work I can to make ends meet means all of their meetings and workshops I am unable to attend, nor is the cost something I can afford and mostly working on the cheap, which oddly is one reason I wanted to learn what skill I can for this. The aforementioned hooks even after including cost of all the waste(the odds and ends hopefully turned into usable metals or a future project) I made learning and the fuel were cheaper cash wise then buying the number I needed for my shop and home. Instead of spending my more finite resource of money, I am willing to spend time to offset. 

My interest in the skill is for the most part practical, maybe if I feel I have gotten good enough, stuff to make to barter with some of the other local farmers for goods or sell at the stall at market for a spot of extra income.

That said, I would love to eventually be able to make cruicible steel and make some damask-like steel implements out of, something of a goal to work towards in the years to come.

 

I was able to pickup an old brake drum from my mechanic as well as some springs which hopefully I can turn into a small forge for tinkering with.

 

I look forward to being less of a lurker around these parts.

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Welcome aboard Dece, glad you delurked. Pictures! If you've been lurking a while you know we LOVE PICS! We're also not as likely to believe you've made something without running our eyeballs over it.

RR spikes are good stock for sale items. People all seem to know what a RR spike is and if you leave a recognizable spike head they can see the transformation from spike to whatever is in their hands. No it doesn't need visible hammer marks to display the plastic nature of iron. Garden ornament and tools are good sellers. And my all time favorite beginner project the wall hook. 

Remember, we LOVE PICS!

Frosty The Lucky.

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Once its light out I will take a picture of some of the hooks that I have not punched yet(I broke the punch I made out of a piece of 5/8 round I had laying about, something else I need to learn is how to properly make those), others and the nails are already in the walls, as well as the ground forge, pictures of it lit will have to wait for friday at the earliest as I do not get home till after dark most days. As well as hopefully a fairly well worn anvil I found cheap that I will be picking up this weekend. I figure the horn will be useful for forming the curve of hooks a lot easier then what I was doing if nothing else, and I paid less then the scrap price for the metal so the way I see it even if it is completely unusable, I will be able to get my money back out of it.

 

I am wondering where RR spikes are easily gotten, although I am just now wondering this and have not done much research on it. The spikes that are on the spur on my land had long been prized out and just the odd bracket and the rails were left, partially I would imagine from the trees having grown enclosing some of the rails making them impossible to remove whole.

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As I said, Id get pictures when it was light, although I had to wait for it not to be raining and off work as well it seems. Although in the meantime got a used anvil.

IMG_20180819_130535.jpg

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It is. Had someone pick it up for me yesterday along with a forge(need to repair the blower on) and a vice I need to repair the spring on. Spent this morning building that stand its on, just got to strap it down but until I get a cover just letting it walk on the stand so I can move it into the shed thats off to the side more easily. I made some more hooks for practice and started trying to make leafs(the first of which you can see on the anvil in the picture, did not leave enough material at the end).

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Looks to me like you're ready to go to work now. Heck sit the anvil on the ground and sit on the timber next to the fire. Great for evening forging, let the kids roast you dinner while you're working. 

You can buy RR spikes new and won't have any legal issues. They're not that expensive and you can buy them by the keg.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I started with doing just that, then went to sitting on a piece of plywood on the ground, but I have screws in both knees and some pins in my spine, does not handle sitting on the timber that well, and sitting on the ground made it a lot more difficult to reach everything. I now use the timber to help support the end of the stock to keep it horizontal as needed, rushed to do this and did not even out the ground that well. 

Plan for this is the upright 6x6s in the back will be the supports for the bottom of a lean to, and I will level out and tamp down the ground, putting in a brick forge as well as having room for the anvil to stay under it with an oilskin or waxed canvas cover over the anvil and stand.

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Nice anvil Dece and am glad you are getting the tools to have a good start.  It took me over a year to find a decent anvil, post vise, tongs and hammers.  I'm still working on making all the punches and chisels I need right now.  I hope you are able to fix the forge and look forward to seeing you post pictures of the good stuff you are making.

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