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Moreland and Son Ironworks - Beginner's Log


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Fired up the forge today after moving the tuyere up a couple inches. The bottom boards stayed cold which solved my issue, however it was hard keeping the forge hot unless a constant supply of air was coming in. I keep messing with my brick setup but think I might go back to more of a trench with a roof and two openings at the side to slide the stock through and heat the middle etc. My son also forged his first bottle opener.



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Question for the JABAD pros - is there a way to forge knives and swords in a box of dirt forge or should I make a longer trough style forge? Just curious, I'm a long ways away from that but would like to start planning for the future.

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Thank you for the compliments, I'll see that he gets word.

Regarding the JABOD and bladesmithing, I'm very happy to hear you say that. Can you give me your opinion on the following?

- Is an open-air lump charcoal forge like that going to be hot enough without a constant flow of air from the tuyere? Seems like the coals cool rapidly and never heat to forging temp without air going on any of my configurations thus far.

- The stock I'm using now seems to cool from white-hot to dark cherry red within about a minute. Is that just the molybdenum 40xx steel I'm using from TSC welding rack or is that an issue with forging outdoors?

- I bought a plow from the scrap yard. The steel took forever to heat up and even then it didn't move much under the hammer. Am I doing something wrong?


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Fuel does not make a fire hot, air makes a fire hot. 

Add more fuel and back off on the air. if you have not done it already, disconnect the hair dryer from the air pipe and leave an air gap between the two. If you need more air aim the hair dryer closer to the opening of the air pipe, for less sir, do not aim quite so close. Only use enough air to get the heat you need from the fuel.

Each forge takes some getting used to in order to get the results you want. 

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Is it acceptable to normalize hardened steel section by section? Say if you have a longer plow blade you are trying to forge?

I have a strong desire to make a trough with multiple air inlets somehow but logic is telling me that's needless in most cases.

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You can draw temper in sections because that doesn't get hot enough to cause trouble.  I would be wary of trying to normalize in sections as that can run into contact and auto quenching issues. However why are you normalizing when forging?

I've dug and used trench forges in the back yard when I needed to get a lot hot all at one time---not very common in my work.

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Thanks for the reply Thomas. I believe I was just overthinking it haha. If I'm heating a section of say, a longer plow blade to forge on it then that is accomplishing the same thing. I guess if I wanted to grind on it I would have to heat and anneal/normalize the length of the steel so I'm not grinding on hardened, tempered steel. If that makes any sense. Hope I'm not getting my terminology wrong.

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Tillage, I'll get some pics today.

Also I had a question on my tongs there, I see all these videos of people using bar stock, to me it makes more sense using round stock and just hammering the shape you want. Once you flatten the mouth a bit you can simply hammer the rivet section. No twisting involved.

Now, I know my tongs are silly looking and in fact I recently broke em trying to re-rivet them. I about as far from an expert on the subject as it gets but I can't seem to puzzle out the why on bar stock vs rounded stock.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Evening! Just an update of the project my son and I are working on right now. Would love feedback!




And a handle design I was thinking about...


Also my son has officially named both our hammers:

3lb Cross Peen - "John Smith"

1.5lb Ball Peen - "Will Smith"

You have to say them with a deep tone of voice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Late observation but...

Personal experience: I thought fire brick in a dirt box was a good idea too. Except it was storing and holding heat right next to the wood, resulting in a burnt out floor of my box. 

Removed the brick, added a bit more soil, no more problem. 

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  • 10 months later...

Good evening ladies (if there are any here) and gentlemen,

Thought you might like an update on our forge! In a little over a year we've upgraded the anvil with a farm rescue and acquired a post vise from a very friendly neighbor and experienced blacksmith artist here - R.G. Box at Pecanderosa Forge. I wonder if any of you folks know him?

My son has had a lot more time on the anvil than I have but I'm proud of him and it keeps him busy doing something other than video games haha. He really can't get enough of it and so I think we're in this for the long run.

The same forge as of a month or so ago -

A&H Anvil we rescued from a farmer that I think you guys helped me identify last March, been sitting in my shop until I found a suitable base which is a nice chunk of pecan here. Price was $0 because he is a family friend and even loaded me up with as much high carbon plow blades as I could handle -

This is a smaller post vise I bought from Mr. Box but I'm really excited to get it mounted! I recently moved the smaller bench vise into the garage on the work bench next to the belt sander -

Some projects my son has been working on, this is probably his 5th or 6th knife. Each one is better than the last -
2IaQ2Zb.jpg (the Twisted Tea is for me of course heh heh)

Thank you all so much for your advice and willingness to share your valued experience. I'd like to keep updating this thread as time goes by. Hope all of you are in good health since last April and looking forward to your feedback.

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  • 9 months later...

Still upgrading!

The forge my son and I built recently, this is the same area of the yard we took over a couple years back.


Another shot, still have no idea how to mount our post vise. 


First touchmark. My son chiseled it out of an old punch head. Works pretty well!


Dagger forged from spring steel:


A little bit of flair for the pickup:


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