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Gustav

Help me optimize my forging

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Hello!

This is mainly about candlesticks, which I have made roughly 8 of and they all have been very time consuming, so I want to find other ways to forge them. So far, I forge two at a time, one at the anvil while the other is in the forge. I start with 500 mm long pieces of 10 mm square and begin upsetting one end until it gets thick enough at the very end (17-20 mm). This is not only very time consuming, but also dangerous since I've hit my left hand (that holds the bar) a lot of times when upset the piece (I've tried holding it with tongs, but it's not stable). I then flatten it out with the cross pein side of my hammer until the end resembles somewhat of a circle sector (also takes a lot of time). A problem that often arises during this part is that the metal in the upset piece wasn't enough, which means that I have to either make a tiny cone or flatten out the circle sector until it's paper thin to make it big enough. Obviously, if it's too thin it's going to break during forging or burn away in the forge (has happened a lot of times in my solid fuel forge). After that, just forge the circle sector into a cone and 90% of the work is done. If my explaination was bad or if you haven't seen candlesticks being forged, check this video out. It's in Swedish but atleast you can see the process, but with much bigger stock and power hammers.

"But why use 10 mm square?" you might ask. Well, the very first one I made was 14 mm square and upsetting it was easy, but forging down the rest into smaller dimensions was also very timeconsuming since I don't have a power hammer or hydralic press. Forging down very thick pieces of stock into much smaller dimensions is not very convenient for me. I'm probably just bad at it, so if there is any really efficient way I'd love to know. Instead of using 12, 14 or 16 mm square and upsetting one end a little bit before forging down the rest of the bar into 10 mm square/round I start with smaller stock and enlargen one end before flattening it out.

Now, here's a few ideas I've come up with, but never tested the first two:

  1.  Forgeweld a shorter and thicker piece (12, 14, or 16 mm) onto the end of a 10 mm bar before upsetting "a little bit" and continue with the process from there.
  2.  Draw a circle sector onto a thinner piece of sheetmetal/plate of steel, cut it out with an angle grinder and forgeweld it onto a 10 mm bar and continue with the process from there.
  3. Just bite the bullet and start with 12 or 14 mm bar. Upset one end and forge down the rest into a smaller dimension. But is there an efficient and effective technique that I can practice so that it becomes faster?

I'd be very glad to hear your thoughts and ideas.

// Gustav

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I'd go with 1---and skip any more upsetting. Pre-shape the fat piece so the welding area is the same as the shaft 

Forge welding sheet to square stock is generally harder and easier to mess up (2)

3 is more work unless you get a powerhammer and then I'd go with 3! 

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If forming the socket entirely by smithing is not critical to you then you may want to look at using steel tubing.  Forge to cone shape and forge weld that to the stem.

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I suspect you are pretty new to our craft. I suggest starting with larger stock and forge it to what you want 

Learning to draw out is one of the basics. I'd start there.

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18 hours ago, Buzzkill said:

If forming the socket entirely by smithing is not critical to you then you may want to look at using steel tubing.  Forge to cone shape and forge weld that to the stem.

I have seen people like Black Bear Forge do candleholders with pipe, but when it comes to candleholders, I really want to make them the traditional way like in the video I linked.

 

10 hours ago, anvil said:

I suspect you are pretty new to our craft. I suggest starting with larger stock and forge it to what you want 

Learning to draw out is one of the basics. I'd start there. 

It's been more than 2 years now since I built my forge, and I've managed to forge a lot of things just by trial and error. But yeah, you could say I'm new.

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I watched your vid. I would say that depending how much time you have spent between hammer and anvil, your skill levels should be close.

Basically to upset 10mm(i do best in fractions) for the candle cup is a lot of upsetting. 

Consider your candle is 1" diameter. This means you need the top edge to be at least 3" in length in order for the candle to fit. 10mm ~ 3/8"? I would start with at least half inch and most likely 5/8" to start with. This is plenty of material to make the candle cup. Then draw down to half or 3/8" for the verrical. Then taper enough to get the scroll at the bottom.

If you do upset for the cup, its far easier to upset half inch a little than 3/8" a lot.  

Its a good project. Have fun.

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I ordered some 10 mm (3/8") and 16 mm (5/8") earlier today and this is what've come up with:

  1.  Cut off a short piece of 16 mm (5/8")
  2.  Upset it until the very end reaches 20 mm
  3.  Taper the other end closer to 10 mm (3/8")
  4.  (Now this is when I'm uncertain) Forge the end ready for a scarf weld
  5.  Forge a scarf on the end of a ~450 mm (~17.7") long piece of 10 mm (3/8")
  6.  Forgeweld

image.thumb.png.ee810ff0be114a8b76bc173f6bd419b1.png

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Thats very doable and I use a forgeweld in that situation quite often. Its a great time saver. In the top pics, last on the right, dont taper it quite so small. If this makes sense, Pic three(drawn out) should look like a longer version of pic 2. If the shaft is 5/8", then the end should be a bit bigger than 5/8". Then you dont have to upset it for the scarf, and will not get a wasp waist due to not enough material after forgewelding. If the vertical shaft is 3/8", then it will look as I described, but scaled to the 3/8" material. The purpose is to not draw it too small, then have to upset it back to what it was for a good scarf. Thats redundant and takes time. 

You did not show the scarf upset in your drawings. Im assuming you know you must add material to the scarf by upseting, or you will get a wasp waist due to lack of material.

heres a pic that is as close as i can come to your project. The tendril and leaf are forge welded together, leaving enough material to forgeweld to the stem. no upset, just scarfed. the stem is upset and scarfed. this is a pic of the three pieces.

A problem you may have is when you make the candle cup, it may stress your weld and break. So, its best to do this forging at  good yellow heat, then reheat to a yellow and forge on.

A bit safer way would be to forge the cup on the end of a long 5/8" bar, then cut it off long enough to keep the cup out of the fire and short enough to minimize drawing out when you forge weld it to the 3/8". This keeps the cup out of the heat, and minimizes both drawing out and forging on your forgeweld.

theres a lot of little nuances, but this should cover most of the problems.  Enjoy

2017-08-14 19.30.35_7.JPG

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Forgot about the upsetting before scarfing, thanks! I also understand what you mean by not tapering pic 3 all the way down.

I've never forgewelded before but I'd like to learn, and I think this is good practice. I'll get back to you when the steel arrives and I have time to forge!

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Not sure I get the logic here.  If you are going to forge weld anyway, why not just take the smaller stock and score and fold it over 3 or four times at the end and forge weld that into the mass you need for the candle cup?

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28 minutes ago, Latticino said:

Not sure I get the logic here

Its doable but again causes other problems. And, in my opinion more serious to deal with.

But first, heres a design concept to consider. Its called "Transitions". This is where changes begin and end. Take a simple taper, take say 9" of 1" round and taper it to a point 14" long. The transitions are where the taper starts and ends. The reason these are so important is these are the points that attract the eye. 

Back to your question. Lets use half square for this. Fold it once and you have 1/2"×1" with the parent stock on the side, not centered. No matter how many folds this is what you get. Every time you forge weld, you lose material on the half square at the transition. You also get the real possibility for cold shuts as well. They are dang hard to prevent because the inside edge will always be a rather sharp right angle. So now you need to forge this area to center the shaft onto the 1/2"×1". This increases the chance of a cold shut and further reduces the mass on the half square because when you forge a forge weld, it should be done at a yellow heat.. Now forge the 1/2"×1" to a fan shape. So now your transition looks thin and wispy and tends to be a weak spot.

In this example, my preferred way would be to start with 1/2"×1" and taper it down to larger than 1/2" then scarf it with no upsetting. Then upset the half square as needed and scarf it and fw it. Now finish your taper between the two and refine it to taste.

Another benefit is that how you do your two ends, 1/2"×3/4",1/2"×5/8/ etc will change the look of your transition, which means more variety in your finished product for no more extra time or material.

My other choice, and the choice would be situational,not better, would be to start with 1/2"×1" and forge it from one piece. 

Hope this helps.

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Oh jesus...

I received the steel yesterday and tried forgewelding today. Didn't go very well... I used borax and it first took 6 heats to get the two pieces to stick, but when I welded the other side it broke and fell off. After that, I tried it again for about 20 heats and stopped only because my forge broke down. It wasn't because I tried forgewelding, but simply because it has been seeing its last days for quite a while. It's an ugly wheel rim forge driven by a hairblower, and the welds on one leg broke and the hairblower stopped working lol. I put that little guy to work, for sure.

Back to the forgewelding: I had troubles reaching welding temperatures and putting the two pieces in good positions inside the forge where they got heated up as much as possible while at the same time being accessible to me when I want to take them out. This probably made them not reach welding temps. It might be because the coke I have are huge pieces (golfball to baseball size) which makes it very annoying to put stuff in and out of the forge. But do you think it has an effect on temperature? Will smaller pieces of blacksmithing coke get hotter with a non industrial blower like my hairblower?

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