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I Forge Iron

Just Getting The Ball Rolling

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The forge looks like one I picked up a few years ago.

The tee shaped items are sheet metal stakes, and should be used with a stake plate, not put into the hardy hole of the anvil.

Everything appears to be in good shape, just dirty.

Always curious what kind of a deal people get a package like this. I hit a similar sale a few years ago, and picked up two forges with blowers, a 170# Hay Budden anvil that looks hardly used, a bucket of tongs, bucket of top and bottom tools, a 1/4 drum of coal, a 14" Hobart "Buffalo chopper" with a rolling stainless cart and meat grinder attachment along with some other items for $880. The Hobart can go upwards of $1,000.

The swage block can come in handy if you do work that requires one. As mentioned, some end up as door stops, and cool items to look at. My Dad made some out of 2" thick plate at the college during night classes.

Over all you did excellent. One suggestion would be to make the gentleman who sold you all of this something as a gift. You might also hit him up for some lessons if he is willing to teach you. Having someone there with experience coaching you can really accelerate your learning.

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Sounds like you scored on that haul, for sure

I will throw some numbers on this buy

Anvil 600, forge with blower 300, swage block 250, vise 75, sander 25, tongs, 10ea, hammers 10ea, other smaller anvils 75ea, etc...   1700.00 was the talley for everything, and I still consider that a bargain. The anvil has welding all around the waist, not sure if it was broken or a crack, just don't know. The face of the anvil is in remarkable condition, and came from a steel mill that closed down in PA 

The seller, who I keep in touch with, has offered to help me get going and will come down in the near future.  

Did a little blower test after I got it bolted and hooked up 




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Great score! I've been sort of looking for a swage block like that - happy to see they can still be found for a reasonable sum. You might onsider connecting up with the state ABANA chapter Phillip Simmon's Artist Blacksmith Guild. There are a lot of active hobby and professional smiths in your area. The next state meeting is Dec 7 in Greenville, SC. Also, the American College of the Building Arts has running classes in basic forging and they have special topic workshops too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My first project was a set of flatbit tongs. I used an old hexagonal shaft and pounded it into shape getting instructions off of YouTube mainly Blackbear forge. I'm a lefty so his description of how to build tongs was good for me. I built one half and the jaw broke off giving me rage and I wanted to just quit because it was hard work. I pursued on and finished the tongs. They are ugly but work ok still. It is alot of hard work. And you will suck. But time and patience will make it better. I'm still a beginner and am still learning but I think I'm past the hump of wanting to just give up because it's hard work. Go slow, and focus on proper hammer technique. Also slowly shape your hammer handles to suit your hand properly. I'm still refining my handle shape. Like I said it's hard work and you will feel like you are getting nowhere, then you will get frustrated, and just want to give up. But it's hard to explain. But it will just click and it will get easier and more fun as time goes on.  Don't forge a sword as your first project.  

Don't give up. 


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Looks like you have a great attitude!

Hex material is usually some sort of high carbon steel. It's not good to make tongs from this. Once finished, if they get hot and you quench them in water to cool them off, they will get hard and break. What probably happened to you is you forged them at the wrong temp and that caused the break. This is common with high carbon steels. 

It's far better to use mild steel for tongs. Besides, it's far easier to forge and less expensive if you buy it.

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Remember too: "tis the season for contact quenching here in the northern hemisphere!"   (Setting hot steel on a cold anvil or in cold vise/vice jaws can "quench" it and make it brittle or even crack.)

Looks like you also learned: "free stock isn't free if you have to spend way too much time forging it down to what you need." combined with "choose the right alloy for the job!"


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