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I Forge Iron

Tip forming issues

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I've been learning to forge blades for the last few weeks now. I've had a few work out, but I find myself having a really frustrating time getting the tip formed. I've been using the edge of the anvil and using half on/half off blows, but either I end up with a dingleberry at the end of the tip that I have to cut off or, more often, I get a cold shut/fishlips. I can usually "fix" this, with the bulge being easier than cold shuts, but I'd like to know what I've been doing wrong so I can correct it, because I'm spending a lot of time 'fixing' these errors. 

I attached a photo of one, although I did try to hammer the top 'lip' back in, although it failed so I'm just gonna cut it off. 

I'm using a 120lb Fisher anvil and various rounding hammers between 2 - 2.5lbs. I typically hold the steel at ~35 degree angle with ~2-3mm hanging over the edge. I have better luck the further out I put the edge of the steel, but then I run into issues with bulging at the end that has to be cut off. I've also noticed the angle seems kindof inconsistent, one side seems to form well, while the other side ends up kindof bumpy




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Don't use a rounding hammer. Use a square cut flat faced cross peen hammer. Beveled edges and slightly rounded face. 

Hold your blank on edge in the center of the anvil. Hold your blank at an angle that splits your final angle. Hold your hammer at an angle by rotating the handle in your hand so that the angle formed with the face of your anvil and the face of the hammer equals the final angle of your knife point. 

Forge the square points by rotating your iron every few blows. This will start your final shape. It will also upset(make thicker) your tip. Don't let a frogs eye start. Before it starts to form, go to the next step below. Also, I don't have the blank perpendicular to the anvil edge. This is awkward. Bring your blank across your anvil edge to the center at a comfortable and natural angle for your body and arm. Stay loose. Then your hammer in the other hand follows suit. You can really see what you are doing when done this way. You are actually striking with the side of your hammer and face, not the front or back edge. If you do this, your body is not in line with your blank. It actually lays in-between the angle made by your hammer and your blank.

Lay your blank flat on your anvil and use your cross peen to forge the upset out. Keep an "eye" out for a "frogs eye" (Lol) and lay it flat before the frogs eye forms.

Take it slow, pay attention to every blow, and repeat the above til done.

Your first attempts will take time. Experience will make this very automatic and a quick, basic forging.

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I was just showing a fairly new smith how to push the "bad" part of a single edge knife tip up past the spine and just hot rasp it off. Doesn't take long, if it's real messy, push it past the tip and hot cut the excess and then hot rasp it.

As you get better with the hammer and hot steel your processes can change but there is NO "One Right Way" to do things; save for anyway that works!

Double edge points are trickier, but again you can get most of it nicely done with the hammer and excise the evil and touch it up.

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Also, forge the corners in and towards the point FIRST, then work back along the blade. By in I mean direct the force towards the other end of the bar SLIGHTLY. This prevents the fish mouth before it starts.

If it does form, cut or file it off. Trying to salvage it makes cold shuts.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks for all of the feedback!

The technique I was attempting to use was the same Jason applies here:

After watching the video several dozen times in slow motion, I determined I was making a few mistakes:

  1. My angle was too low, resulting in an excessively long tip, I needed to lift the workpiece up more
  2. I wasn't working hot enough, so the metal wasn't moving very well
  3. My stance was off. I was standing at the end of the anvil and swinging across the anvil. I think this resulted in some strange angles and blows that caused formation issues, when I moved to swing close (as close as feasible) to parallel with the workpiece, I got a lot more power and control over it. I noticed when I stand this way, I tend to hammer it back into myself a bit, which allows me to hit the edges and taper them without it being shoved down and creating a cold shut
  4. I was using a 2lb hammer on a 1/4 piece of 80crv2, so it moved very slow and left more room for error across a multitude of hits. I tried a 3lb hammer today and it moved MUCH easier and quicker, with no fishmouth and minimal bulging. I think the issue ultimately is my poor technique combined with repetitive impacts of poor technique. The larger hammer moves the metal quickly with fewer opportunities for me to make the angles wonky, hit incorrectly, or something else. 

I haven't tried the other techniques you all mentioned here, but I've seen some folks online doing it. I will give them a shot, because being able to do it a multitude of ways is always a good thing and helps improve technique, so I'll give that a shot. 

As for repairing it, I was able to do that also, I flattened the end with the smallest 'lip' along a flat edge, let it cool, then ground it off and continued. No big deal, although some of them are worse than others, when it's really pronounced, I found it tough to do that. 

Thanks again for the help!

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