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How is everyone?  I'm Chad, located in Cheeseheadistan, I mean south-central Wisconsin.  I've been wanting to start  smithing since I learned to weld 10 or so years ago and have finally had everything come together.  While I am very much the type to jump into something new and just go, I generally immerse myself in information while I'm fumbling about.  I've been actively working for a couple months now,  and by actively working I mean picking up my hammer whenever possible but my shop is a nice 2 hour drive from my tiny apartment. 

So far I have worked on a couple roses, I've gotten quicker with a simple leaf bottle opener that I've been using to develop my hammer technique,  a couple S hooks and 8 knives.  

I have a peter wright anvil that is missing the working face above the waist but three horn,  hardy hole, and pritchel hole are all intact, a rail that I shaped to an english style anvil, and a mystery anvil I just picked up that needs a little repair work due to damage that penetrates the work surface in 2 spots.  I am planning on restoring the Peter Wright with the Gunter method and may just hit the mystery anvil with some 7018 to repair it and peen it to relieve the stress.  My forge is a fire brick forge with a metal frame and my burner is a turkey fryer's with the end cut off, no fan, mounted in an 8 inch steel pipe top dead center(ish, the drill bit wandered).  I'm able to run it up to 5 psi and it works well enough.

I have a background in scrap having run a yard for a while and am familiar with some of the alloys.  For my blades I am using leaf spring, hopefully it's 5160, thermocycling them 3 times and quenching in warm canola oil.  Other projects are mild steel and I've started collecting railroad spikes for fun projects as well as sacrificial steel to learn how to move the metal in the direction I want.  I had been using some 2 to 2.5 lb HF hammers that I had tried to make work with mods that I found on here and on YouTube, but just bought a rounding hammer and diagonal peen. What a difference they make.  The HF handles once I stripped off the finish were too thin for my meatmittens so I tried wrapping them with string and leather cord.   Why hadn't anyone tried that? Oh, because the cord will slip and blister your hand.  I don't recommend it the way I tried it.  Maybe if I would have slathered on some mink oil it would have been better. 

Anyway,  if there is anyone in the Waukesha, Milwaukee, Madison area that is willing to meet up, I am a quick study and have some serious endurance.  

Oh, and yes, I did read that first and will likely read it again...

A few things I've done, and I am open to criticism. 

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Chad J.,

Welcome to the forum.

Your  photos show that you are off to a good start.

It is fun turning scrap steel into projects.  But using scrap to make knives is inefficient, and potentially a time waster.

Knife smithing requires a lot of time and effort. Making errors during the final stages of heat treating and tempering is a royal pain in the 'Affasneris'.

Good alloy steel is relatively cheap.

Regards,

SLAG.

 

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Welcome aboard Chad, glad to have you. Ditto Slag regarding bladesmithing with mystery steels, springs can have micro fractures that show up in heat treat or later in use. Just buying a known steel lets you concentrate on making blades rather than learning new heat management and forging characteristics. Once you have the basics down proficiently then all you need worry about is learning new heat management.

You need to turn the finial scrolls on hooks outwards unless you wish to make anything hung on them permanent attachments. :blink: Turning hooks evenly is just practice, it comes easily enough. Same for twists though there are so many variants you're on a new learning curve every time you try a new one. 

Enjoy the addiction.

Frosty The Lucky. 

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Thank you both for the welcome.  Frosty, thank you for the tip, I hadn't realized there was a difference.   Now I'm going to have to go figure out why.   

Slag, thank you for the kind assessment of my work.   I'm having to pay close attention to my hammer work because I have only an angle grinder, a 3x21 belt sander, and a bench grinder to do the finish on the knives.   To say that it is slow going would be an understatement.  I have the extra money and studied up in the grinder section.   I am planning on ordering a Pheer 2x72 to reduce my finish work time.

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17 hours ago, Chad J. said:

My shop is a nice 2 hour drive from my tiny apartment. 

Purchase a brick modeling clay, usually in the hobby section.  It works the same as metal using the same tools without the heat.

You can have a whole lot of fun using non-ferrous metals, copper, brass, etc.

You will in time learn to forge closer to the finish shape and dimension and eliminate a lot of the grinding.  Different coarseness of the disks, belts, etc will aid in getting a better finished product.  Draw filing is an option in  finishing metal, and can be done in the apartment.  There are several different coarseness in files that work to your advantage.

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By "english style"  do you mean a London Pattern, Birmingham Pattern or any of the other 20+ english patterns that were made and sold in the UK? (Coachmakers, chain makers, cutler's,...)

Since you have yard experience I won't dogpile the "buy it new" advice; but instead tell you to buy it with little wear.  I've bought springs at my local scrapyard that have NEVER been used---still have the original paper stickers on them and no signs of wear.  They are not common; but I grab them whenever I see them!   30+ years ago I used to buy drops from a spring shop that still made and heat treated their springs; more expensive than scrap but brand new and known alloy!

I know there are a number of ABANA Affiliates in that region; unfortunately meeting up with a bunch of smiths is contraindicated right now.  Shoot we can't even get the local University's Bladesmithing Club together to run a forge!

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On 8/24/2020 at 6:35 AM, Glenn said:

Purchase a brick modeling clay, usually in the hobby section.  It works the same as metal using the same tools without the heat.

Interesting tip, thanks!  I actually managed to move my smithy, if you can call my anvil and forge that,  down and set it up nearby.   I'm going to find a shop space at some point before it gets bu...really cold out.  

Yes, by English style I meant london pattern.  Again thank you for the welcome.  Now I need to find my way to the section on making hot chisels and splitting steel, my rail road spike grill fork turned out ok, but there is an easier way that I need to find.

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In slitting steel often the biggest return for effort is making a good holder for it while cutting and using rocker chisels made from high alloy steels, (S series, H13,...) that stay hard even when hot and are not quenched all the time.  The rocker edge allows you to move it quickly and still stay in the groove.  Not having to quench the chisel saves more heat and hot time and having it firmly held means you don't waste time chasing the workpiece around the anvil face. If you will be cutting through; a cutting plate can prevent scarring your anvil face.

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I was planning on getting a hot cut hardy for my anvil,  would that do it or would a hold down be better with a hot cut chisel?  I'm sure it would come down to preference but the voice of experience should never be ignored.  

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Hot cut hardies are best for cutting things to length. You should definitely have one. Not so great for slitting or texturing a leaf, as it's harder to see where you're cutting. 

Chisels are better for anything that's more precise, as you can see exactly where it's going to cut. They're also pretty easy to make.

In other words, do both!

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I usually use my cut off hardys for cutting off sections rather than splitting. You cant see where your groove is so you sometimes end up with two starts to the cut right next to each other. And somehow neither of them are where you wanted them to be.. It's a lot easier to cut straight using a top tool. Plus with a hardy you don't want to hit the edge with your hammer (which you come pretty close to doing when your slit becomes very thin) as you will roll it over/chip it/mark up your hammer in doing so. 

I would say a chisel will serve you best. Of course an angle grinder with a cut off wheel works too. Some may consider it it "cheating", but if it's something you are doing a lot of and just want it done in a few seconds rather than a heat or two, then I say use whatever tool you need to get the desired result. If it's just something you're doing for yourself, then getting some practice with top tools will serve you well. 

Note: Hit the tool and not your hand. Which hurts on it's own even without it being pushed down onto hot steel... or wear a glove I suppose. 

Note about note: If you're worried about hitting your hand you're more likely to it your hand...

Coil springs make nice chisels in my experience.

 

Edit: JHCC types faster than I do..

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A "curved" edge like an ax is generally what Thomas is referring to as a "rocker" chisel. A curved edge profile is superior to a straight edge profile for a couple reasons, in no particular order:

A curved edge contacts the stock on a smaller front and being curved cuts more effectively and is much less likely to bounce.

Secondly, being curved makes straight or curved lines much easier as you can start a line and simply rock the edge forward to engage new stock on your line while the edge is firmly indexed in the cut it's already made. 

You want both types of cutting tool and there are other useful versions once you get going. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank you Frosty, I'll check out the tooling section for examples.   I saw one thread discussing quenching the chisel recommending only quenching the bottom quarter.  It didn't say in what or tempering.  I'll search for that while eating my breakfast and get a rocker chisel made today.  Seems easy enough.  (Famous last words?)

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You're welcome, it's my pleasure.  Warn oil is usually safe and so long as you don't harden the struck end how far up the shank doesn't mean a lot until you're making top chisels intended to be hit by strikers. Tempering a hot cut isn't much good as it'll be drawn out the first time you drive it into HOT steel.  However DO DRAW THE TEMPER!!  You DO NOT want to strike a tool as hardened, take it down to dark straw on the edge and you'll be fine. No need to get fancy but heat the shank slowly and watch the temper colors run down the blade and stop it when the edge is straw. Water is fine for stopping the temper UNLESS you brought the shank to red heat!

Frosty The Lucky.

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