Sobenti

Hello from Oklahoma

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Good morning All,

Saying hello from Oklahoma. Just starting out on this journey. I have built my forge, which actually works. Forged my first hole punch, now I need to build a hardy tool and a chisel, to build my first set of tongs. There is so many good things to read here! Thank you to all of you who have posted advice! This place is wonderful! 

 

Thomas, OKC newbie.

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Welcome from Thomas, a NM oldbie. Have you hooked up with the Saltfork Craftsmen Artist Blacksmith Association?  The have meetings in several OK locations and are good folks.

I worked in the Patch back in the early 80's when I started forging and tried my best to haul as much smithing stuff out of OK with me when I left---and I thought the stuff was expensive then!

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Charles,

What do you mean,  "... meds on the left". 

(only?).

I've got lots meds in each bathroom cabinet and some downstairs.

I have enough to share!

SLAG.

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Thanks for the welcome and the tongs tutorial. And I think I started this cause I went off my meds.....

I am having a huge blast doing this right now though. I'll try to get some pictures up soon. 

I am working on putting a steel topper on my cheepy harbor freight anvil. I think that will help a bit. 

 

 

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It's mostly a money problem. I got a 2x4 piece of steel from the local scrap yard that I have to temper but it seems to be much better now. 

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If by "temper" you mean "harden" don't worry about it and mount and use it as is. Better than cast iron. The hf anvil will get you by a little but it's not great. Don't bother trying to modify it. 

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Is there an article that discusses hammer techniques? I am having some issues drawing out this chisel and hardy tool. 

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Yes there are several good discussions about hammering. This one comes to mind right off hand.-correct-hammer-position-blows/

If you use your favorite search engine like google and add "iforgeiron" in the search like this (hammer techniques "iforgeiron") without the brackets, it will bring up a lot of hits.

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Good Morning SOB,

Start simple, steal or borrow some kids Play-Doh (cost $1.00 at WalM--t). Steel moves identical  to Play-Doh, except you can hold the Play-Doh in your hands. When you make something in Play-Doh and scrunch it back to the size of material you have, you know a minimum of how much material you will need. In a Forge there is always lost material through scale, Oh S--t and a few other things.

There is no magic, A Claw Hammer will work just as good as any other Hammer, to get started.

Neil

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Note that most steel you find around will not harden; you have to specifically ask for alloys that are hardenable.  Hardenable alloys cost more and take special handling and heat treatment so factories tend to only use it where they absolutely have to have it. So it is not as common in the scrap stream as well.

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Be careful, though: an untested piece of steel might turn out to be hardenable and snap at the most inopportune moment.

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Especially in Oklahoma where you can run across sucker rod masquerading as round stock!  (A lot of oil patch stuff is hardenable as when you have 100000 pounds of drill stem on the hook the extra cost of the "good stuff" is minimal compared to having something give way.)

Test don't Guess!

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JPLServices has some vidioes that show exelent technique. First thing get your thumb off the back of the handle this will lead to pepeditive use injury in most folks. Lay the handle between the thumb muscle and the rest of your thumb and either make a fist or pinch the handle between thumb and forefinger. Your pinky acualy gives most of your grip strength so grip harder there and less progressively to the front. Most store bought hammer some have to thick a handle, a rounded off rectangle about 1”x 1-1/4” works well for most hands, even a triangle shape works well. Ball pens generaly have good sized handles. The 4# crospein from the big box store is generaly to heavy. The Viking era smiths used 1-1/2-2# hand hammers and sledges that were not much more than 4#. I can use a 3# hammer all day and some smiths use 4#+ but it will kill a beginner. Get the anvil at the right hight. Wrist high to start. First buckle high if you have a striker. You can always bend your knees for a lower anvil. Practice your blows on a scrap of 1/2 wood, you want to learn to lay a perfectly round dent, and well as edge on ones. On that note look up how to dress a hammer as most store bought ones have sharp edges and to sharp of peins. Isolation and small contact services are your friend, so a fuller or a pein help as dose a fuller or round surface under the stock. For drawing out you need to either forge a blunt point to prevent fish mouthing or fumes fairly close to the end to drive the center out thus rounding the tip. 

Clear as mud,right?

 

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That's really well said Charles, it's like you've taught folk before. I have one minor correction for you though. When describing good anvil heights you wrote, "Buckle" height and that's a typo or auto correct mistake, it should read, "Knuckle" height.

A person might misconstrue buckle height to mean at belt level and that's WAY too high for general forging. A good height for fine finish work on say silver ware, jewelry, etc. where you're using light hammers to do light persnicity work you have to see clearly. 

I'm only going into that much detail to hopefully prevent confusion for the OP or other beginners reading Charles excellent description of proper hammer technique. A single letter can change everything, eh?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Some folks wear their jeans high; others low enough to catch hot steel in sensitive places; I figure it's evolution in action... quant suff!

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Thanks for the catch Jerry. 

Thank you for the visual TP.

another point I forgot. Pick a spot on the anvil to hit and move the steel under it as if you were a power hammer. Now you don’t do this all the time bu you do it a lot. Some operations it’s the “sweetspot” usually the face just back from the front foot. Other times it’s that favorite off side edge, and others will be on the horn just informs of the step. You will pend a lot of time forging in one of those 3 spots wile moving stock under the hammer.

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Ok you guys rock. 

 

 

I am currently trying to cure myself of striking outwards when I hammer. Using a 2.5lbs sledge from home depot. Anywho, I leave dents from the back side of the hammer (side nearest me) and I have to tell myself to twist forward to get a flat strike. And my arm hurts, lol.

I am just getting scrap from the local scrap yard right now, I'll worry about the good stuff when I won't hork it up. 

 

I got a hardy tool done, a punch and some small tongs. Oh and a chisel. 

Need to get more steel so I can work on more tongs. 

 

20181229_221038.jpg

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If you get crescent shaped dents in the metal from the backside of the hammer (side nearest you) the anvil is too high. Lower the anvil until you get round hammer marks that match the face of the hammer. To speed up the process,  put a piece of 1/2 or 3/4 inch wood sheeting on the face of the anvil and hit it with the hammer.  Crescents at 12 o'clock mean the anvil is too low, crescents at 6 o'clock mean the anvil is too high, crescents at 3 or 9 o'clock mean the hammer is not straight.

Place the hammer on the anvil face over the sweet spot. Back up and take a half step to the non-hammer side. You should be able to walk up to the anvil and you hand (resting be your side) should be able to slide onto the hammer handle. This puts your shoulder, elbow, wrist, into the same plain. This is the way the arm works and should cause no twisting (which causes pain) when you use the hammer.  

 If your arm hurts, STOP, your doing something wrong. Figure out what is wrong and fix it.

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Have you dressed your hammer's face?  Most hammer when they are bought new do NOT have the appropriate face on them for smithing and tend to leave more dings!

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Lean over the anvil so your eye is over the sweet spot, your elbo should be tucked in at your side when the hammer strikes the stock. Once you get your ergonomics right you can fix the other little problems

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