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I Forge Iron

First copper project (tiger lily)

Dani L.

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Hey everyone! Just wanted to show you all what I just finished. 

Bought some copper sheets online and some 1/4" copper from the hardware store.

My photography isn't great, sorry. 

Had fun and learned a lot. My hammer marks were visible on the stem, but I ended up liking them so I didn't smooth it out. I decided then to give a few twists so it wasn't plain.

The petals are a little loose. I'll have to make myself a square punch for future projects.

But, with my wonky flower and green fingers, I am happy :D



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Very nice. How did you like working with copper? If you live where it's cold in the winter and don't have a heated shop copper is a material you can work with inside the house. I'm thinking about giving it a go myself. 


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A cut masonry nail will make a sq punch for copper.  May want to try it cold using the end of a piece of hardwood.  If you stock is too heavy then try it hot.

One bad winter back in Ohio I made a 1 soft firebrick forge using a cheap propane torch as the burner---it didn't go into the burner hole I just directed the flame into it.

I forged my nails for a mastermyr chest and a lot of viking hack silver jewelry with it down in my drafty basement.

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Pnut, I think you would like working copper. I personally chose to start out with it because it has more give, so I can work on my hammer skills before I move to steel.

The winters here in Iowa can be in the negatives so not having to fight the metal to stay hot will be nice.

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The "hack silver" stuff tends to be simple and easy to do and when silver was $5 an oz it was neat stuff to play with.  Fine forges hot very nicely indeed.  Sterling is a bit tougher to work with and gets fire scale from the copper content.  Just watch out that you don't melt it in the forge!   If you are learning before you spring for silver pure copper, (electrical and pipes) works quite a bit similar to silver and is cheaper...

Hack silver was basically "cash" back in those times.  If you ran out of silver pennies, just take off a hack silver bracelet and "hack" off enough weight to make up the difference.  (Even coinage was often weighed for amount due to clipping and other methods of increasing your profit margin... Sets of scales and weights are typical merchant finds in excavations.)

So for having a Viking era impression for reenactment, having some hack silver to carry/wear helps to pull it off; unless you were a thrall!

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Nice flower Dani, I like it. Of course I like the attractively wonky. Copper is fun to work but it work hardens rather abruptly so listen to it. When it starts to sound like it's ticking instead of thud or tink it's ready to anneal. I just heat it on the gas range until it shows red and let it cool in open air. Or I might just take it to the anvil while it's still hot, the copper isn't as finicky about annealing as iron alloys.

If you start forging brass or bronze you'll be looking at work hardening that happens fast, 3-4 blows and it gets brittle. Same for annealing heat to red and allow to cool. Lots of folks quench copper alloys from red to anneal but I've never noticed a difference allowing it to cool in air. 

This doesn't cover all copper alloys, there are thousands of brass and bronze alloys, some really . . . interesting to work.

Frosty The Lucky.

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