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I Forge Iron

Greetings from Idaho Falls.

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As the title says I'm located out of the Idaho Falls, Rigby area. As a newbie in the blacksmithing arena I am always looking for advise and pointers.

My area of interest is knives, and I have started to assemble the tools needed. I have a modified craftsman 2x42 that I converted into a 2x72 belt sander, and am in the process of finishing my propane forge. 

If anyone is in the Idaho region I would love to hear from other makers and swap ideas etc. 


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Welcome to a place where you can learn more than you thought there was to learn on the subject.

There are some people near you..hopefully they'll chime in.  I'm all the way across the state near Lewiston (on the WA side of the border).

Were I to give advice, it'd be to spend a lot of time focusing on the more boring stuff.  Although you need to slip in an interesting project here and there, take the time to do stuff like drawing out straights, tapers, reverse tapers, flattening to size, punching small holes in the bits and pieces, etc. as skill building.  That will pay off in the long run and really help your skill set.  People seem to want to skip the more boring stuff and jump right to making a full broadsword...but making simple hooks and scrolls until you can't look at another one will make you a better smith when you do go for the more advanced stuff.

Oh..and while I'm giving questionable advice ( :) ), pick your starting stock wisely.  Just because you got a large axle for free from the junk pile doesn't mean it's a wise choice to turn into that small coat hook.  Metal is relatively cheap so pick up a few clean mild steel bars in the 3/8" to 1/2" range to play with and it'll be a lot less frustrating to practice on.  No tongs needed if you get something like 3 footers and you can do a lot of great small projects with them.  You'll also learn what good consistent KNOWN steel feels (and heats) like vs. a questionable piece of unknown scrap.  "free" steel is great but it might cost you more in time and frustration than you save.

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Thank you very much! 

I've made several blades and have stayed away from "mystery steel". Right now I'm using 1084 and 1075 for the simple fact that it's within my heat treatment capabilities. I have only ever done stick removal so far with 1/8th bar stock, however I will take your advice to heart with using thicker stock when I transition to forging.

Edited by Mod34
Excessive quoting removed
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