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Bantou’s progress album (picture heavy)


Bantou

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Like several others, I’m going to start cataloguing my work here. It certainly isn’t pretty right now but hopefully it will improve with time and practice.

My first attempt at a hot cut hardy. It certainly isn’t pretty but I think it will be functional once I get the cold shut out of the cutting edge. C94253CC-C126-474C-9037-945F332CE416.thumb.jpeg.3ffa7dda63c5b890c6fb784754df0b76.jpeg291664B7-8B8A-4253-852C-794CD380AD08.thumb.jpeg.f73acb09183337dd50dbafa9998713a9.jpeg94977134-F895-4E67-93DB-6639DE96BEF6.thumb.jpeg.3a9c93f9ef3f0e59fdd655e3820eda05.jpeg4EFB3683-14E0-477E-AF44-EF3F88D94894.thumb.jpeg.369d0082ecf5c30a3e4fc065f0ccfa64.jpeg283B624C-0E84-4CEC-8B42-040116CDD4BF.thumb.jpeg.a106eec266e262596876fdbf2775e30f.jpeg

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Working on a technique for finial for a cross. It’s far from perfect but I’m making progress. This was my second attempt using a new method. Instead of splitting then tapering, I tapered it then split. I definitely got a more symmetrical shape on the tapers that way. 

I wasn’t paying enough attention when drawing down the taper and tapered it a little too far back. I need to find a better way of marking where I want the taper to start. I have a hard time seeing the center punch at much above a bright red heat. 

I need to make the split a little sooner (maybe 3/4 drawn down). The side I got completed drew out a little more as I was working it on the horn. I also need to work on my cuts. I had a hard time getting the cut all the way through and wound up with a lot of burr that would need to be dealt with on a finished project. I have a couple of ideas on how to fix the burr and get a better cut that I will try tomorrow.
 

The top one is the current progress. The bottom is one I did by splitting them drawing1F3257F3-2CA0-48E6-B98C-E27562FA01C1.thumb.jpeg.86e61e8180217db862d305799eea80d0.jpeg

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12 hours ago, Bantou said:

. I need to find a better way of marking where I want the taper to start. I have a hard time seeing the center punch at much above a bright red heat. 

I have some silver pencils from online that are supposed to be visible at heat. I've yet to try them out yet because of the shoulder but I'm not expecting much out of them. We'll see. (Or maybe not:P)

Pnut

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You can try Brian Brazeal's method of tapering, I've adopted it as my standard method. First you determine how steep the taper and how sharp the point. Length will either determine the steepness or be determined BY the steepness. Make sense? 

Once you  know what you want in a taper you taper the end of the stock to the desired point first. Then lower the stock slightly so it's resting on the angle made between the existing taper and unforged stock edges. This makes the point of contact area between stock and anvil VERY small with a reduced heat transfer via conduction. You forge this step till it's taper blends into the point section. You repeat until you have your desired length.

There is NO estimating where to start to make your desired taper. No tricks old school nor new. The taper length is self isolating, it's always complete from your first point until you stop full width to point is a done deal. Whether you want to taper for a heart shaped leaf, a Bodkin. or a coiled Christmas ornament, the method is the same and is a complete finished taper the whole time.

It is such an elegantly simple and effective method of tapering I'm surprised the more commonly used method of guessing how far from the end to start tapering and fighting fish mouthing till you're finished hasn't disappeared other than  folk with so much experience they can accurately eyeball estimate where to begin.

I believe there is a how to video in the Iforge library on tapering by Brian. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Could be, I know Brian said he learned it from a mentor, I just don't recall a name. Haberman keeps poking my voices but I don't remember those kinds of details very well. <sigh> Watching a demo, listening to the presentation and discussing it with the instructor while practicing, sets lessons pretty firmly. Even in my dented head.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Made another attempt at the split. It came out better than the last one but I still need practice. I tried cutting from both sides this time and wound up with a bigger mess on the cut than before. My opposing cut marks were off just enough that I was basically upsetting one side while cutting the other... I didn’t measure it, but they can’t have been off by more than 1/32.” I gave up trying to make the cut with a hardy tool. It’s a struggle to keep the cut in-line when I can’t see it. 
 

I did a better job of stopping the taper at the correct place this time and I’m happy with the length of the finials. They need to be a little thicker though. I set my mark at 1 1/8” using the formula I worked out in another post (1.5 x width of stock x .5) which gave me ~ 2 1/4” of taper. Next time, I think I’ll set the mark at 1 1/4” and stop my taper early to get a thicker finial. The ends will draw down to a better point as I work them on the horn anyway.

 

new ones on bottoms.

 

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You're getting there. Maybe try a more obtuse taper. The tapers on the bottom in the picture are going nicely then they stop getting thinner. (TAPERING) Stop sooner, you're trying too hard to get them "perfect" and running them flat.

The one on the top right is the one I like best, it has a nice uniform taper full length. It's too acute a taper. (the ratio is too long for the reduction in width) Less material and steepen the taper so it comes to a point in the length you have there and it'd be a pleasing scroll. 

This is where starting the taper at the end and stopping when it's the right length takes all the math and guess work out of it. If a taper is too long anyway, trim some off and start at the end again. 

Trying to establish a ratio to start with is too much PITA for me, Make the length 1.5 x 1/2 the width x 3 is the sort of thing is just too complex, a tiny error will amplify with every math function till it's unrecognizable. I know that's not the formula you're trying to make work I just threw those together to illustrate my point. Error multiplying exponentially is the problem. ESPECIALLY when you're having to guess at the starting number. It makes my head hurt.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I knew the ones on the bottom were going to be too thin as soon as I cut them. It wasn’t so much a matter of overworking them on the horn as it was not having enough material to start with. I did the curls in two heats each with only minor adjustments made on the second heat. 

I’ll give just tapering to length a try. A smarter man would probably call this a wash and start making smaller things with easy to follow plans until his skills improved more. Unfortunately, I’m bullheaded and don’t like a project “beating me.” So, I’ll probably keep beating my head against this thing until I get it figured out or get a concussion. 

Part of my problem with this set was fighting my tongs. The flat stock kept sliding around in my tongs making it difficult to maintain a good angle for the taper. It isn’t a problem with the actual project because the bar is long enough to work without tongs. If I need to work a short piece of flat stock again, I’m making an attempt at goose neck tongs. 

The ones on top were done by splitting the bar, then tapering. I switched methods because I was struggling to get both sides uniform. One side would be thinner than the other, so I’d draw the thick one down a little. Then the one I was working on was thinner, rinse and repeat until I had two, mile long tapers that looked more like tooth picks than anything else.

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Good Morning,

When you figure out your length, drill a small hole for the root of the split. This leaves a radius at the end. The tendency to crack is limited.

Make the taper, smooth tapered. Curl them after you are happy with the taper. The art of 'Learning' and 'Patience', combined. Priceless.

Neil

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Good fitting tongs are a big deal. Yeah, turn the scroll AFTER you've tapered them! Did I miss you're tapering after turning them? YIKES! My bad.

Good catch Neil.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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No I turn them after tapering. The process I tried first was: Split, fold one back, taper, curl, straighten out folded side, taper, curl. Now I’m trying: taper, split, curl. 
 

After re-measuring the mark on my anvil, the tapers are actually 3” long instead of 2.5”. I like that length, I just need to get the thickness right now. I might try one at 2.5 just to see if I like that measurement better with the thicker finials. 

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I was wondering, do you know the measurements on your hardy hole? I have the smaller 30kg anvil. I'm wondering if they're the same size. 

Pnut

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On 5/15/2021 at 9:58 AM, pnut said:

I have some silver pencils from online that are supposed to be visible at heat

You will not see the silver pencil at heat above dull red. I have been told that a white charcoal pencil is visible at heat, but I have not tried one yet. I usually punch, or notch, and feel for it it at heat

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On 5/17/2021 at 5:41 AM, pnut said:

I was wondering, do you know the measurements on your hardy hole? I have the smaller 30kg anvil. I'm wondering if they're the same size. 

Pnut

I believe it’s 3/4.” I’ll measure it when I get home this evening. 

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If sharp soapstone marks don't last I punch or chisel. A slightly blunted chisel makes a pretty visible mark. punched/chiseled marks show well, Especially if you rub soap stone into them. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got a chance to fire the forge back up today. Life has been... complicated the last few weeks. Did some more work on the finials and got it just about where I want it. Tapering to length instead of trying to guess where to start made all the difference in the world. 
 

They look a little lopsided because my split wasn’t perfectly down the middle. Other than that, I’m pretty happy with them. Putting a piece of 3/8 round in the vise definitely helped separate the two sides all the way down the split. 
 

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Thank you. I don’t think the bottom set is going to turn out as well. They didn’t get as sharp of a taper as the top set. I’m still getting a feel for what angle to hold the steel at to get the taper I want. As a result, the taper lost a lot of its definition when I split it. It may surprise me when I curl them (I ran out of time today), but I’m not holding out much hope. 
 

As an aside, I need to make a set of goose necks before continuing the project. I had to pour water on the “cold” side pretty regularly to keep it cool enough to hold. I doubt I’ll be able to handle the shorter cross piece without a set of tongs. 

 

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GEE you THINK you'll need tongs to hold short HOT stock? HAH, you're kidding us, right? :rolleyes: 

I think you'll like side hold better than goose neck tongs. I'm pretty sure I have the name wrong, they hold stock on the edges, the jaws are narrow pockets facing each other. Bladesmiths use the what I'm thinking of as a matter of course. I hope I didn't make a laughable mess of the description. 

Getting things even and learning to tip the stock as you draw tapers is just a matter of practice. You're getting better fast don't get discouraged.

Take a break and make something you're good at and get a little better at that piece. Success is good for the mood you know. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Who’d a thunk it right?

I think you are referring to off-sets/knife-makers tongs. I’ll have to look up a set of plans, but I think you are right. I have some 1x1/4 flat that might do the trick if I round out the neck... hmm, maybe I don’t need plans. Obviously, I don’t mind a puzzle :lol:.

Every improvement feels like a success. I did pick up some railroad spikes yesterday to make steak flippers for Fathers’ Day. I just need to make a set of tongs or two to work them. 

 

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