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I Forge Iron

Returning to the craft


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Greetings everyone!

I’m returning after many years. My teenage grandson has been a fan of forged in fire tv show and is very interested in learning about smithing-knives too of course.  Ideas of how to start his training would be greatly appreciated.  For instance, should I start hin off making his first set of tongs or buy rapid tongs from kens iron works?  This is a learning experience for me as well since it’s been about 40 years since I have forged anything-after his death I stopped.  I still have all his tools( tongs, hardies, punches, and coal forge), however, seems most people are using gas now-should I purchase one and f those as well?

thoughts and guidance would be appreciated.  
 

Walt

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Welcome. Great way to spend time with the grandkids. 

I would not start him out with tongs. Start with the basics. Drawing and tapering, upsetting, fullering, rounding square, squaring round, etc. Hammer control and technique. Many quality smiths have put videos on the you toob highlighting the basics. There is a whole list of recommended smiths to watch here. Our own Jennifer, JLP Services, has some excellent ones that i have learned a whole bunch from. For beginner projects i would start him with hooks, maybe a steak flipper or 2, skewers, stakes, etc.

Look up the local ABANA affiliate. They will usually have basic blacksmithing classes. SOFA here has one once a month, in normal times that is. 

As for the forge, why buy new when you have a forge already? For the price of a new gas forge i can buy enough coal to last me a year. There are still a whole bunch of us using solid fuel. 

Also, grab your grandson, a cold drink and a sandwich. Fire up the old intra net machine and the 2 of you make an afternoon reading the threads here. There is more information here than any other place i have seen. Also peer reviewed by 1000's of smiths. I have only been doing this for about 5 years or so. This site has expanded y knowledge vastly and has made me go from that is beyond my skill set to i can do it. The folks here are a great bunch that encourage you to try. 

But the most important lesson you can teach him is safety. Keep it safe, keep it fun. 

 

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Cheaper to build a gas forge than to buy one, we have some folks here who can show you how, in the mean time I would just fire up the old coal forge, it’s more versatile. The JABOD is an option if you would rather use charcoal. 
as you will have noted all the skills BB just listed are the ones you need to forge tongs, lol. I like the bolt jaw style universal tong better for General work than I do the wolf jaw style, I think Daniel Moss out of the UK is making a good set (if he changed the v angel as I suggested) and it will grip hidden tangs as well as round stock. 

if you want to help him build his own kit on the cheap, both for the sense of ownership and to avoid a large investment in something he may not like as much in reality we are good at that too, some of us are real... frugal. 

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22 hours ago, BillyBones said:

Welcome. Great way to spend time with the grandkids. 

I would not start him out with tongs. Start with the basics. Drawing and tapering, upsetting, fullering, rounding square, squaring round, etc. Hammer control and technique.

Thank very much for the thoughtful insights to instructing my grandson.  Many great ideas!  Thank you!

17 hours ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

Cheaper to build a gas forge than to buy one, we have some folks here who can show you how, in the mean time I would just fire up the old coal forge, it’s more versatile. The JABOD is an option if you would rather use charcoal.

Fantastic!  Thank you.  I’m really glad I found this forum.  I’ll be picking the brains of everyone here.  

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We love well thought out questions to answer, we also love pictures, beware of drift however and watch out for the puns. We are a punny bunch here. But when it comes to picking brains you will raise the ire of the curmudgeons if asking a question that has been answered 1000 times already. Think about the family vacation "Dad, are we there yet?". So before posting a question look and see if it has been answered already. The best way to do that is do not use the onsite search bar, use your favorite browser, insert question follow by iforgeiron. For example "Heat treat O-1iforgeiron", vey first entry was for this site. 

also if you have not yet, go to the general blacksmithing forum, then to "Read this first" and read it. Also, dont know why i did not say this earlier, but if you scroll down to the bottom of the home page you will find a forum on "Blacksmithing groups". It has listings for many of the known ABANA affiliates among others that may be local to you.

There are also some tasty recipes here for racoon and possum if you ever need one. 

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. Asking a question for the 10,000th time isn't an automatic curmudgeonly slap down mistake. Arguing with the answer because it doesn't agree with a preconceived notion, IS. ;) Nobody chose to be a curmudgeon it's sort of awarded by the gang through one of those mysterious group processes. 

About your question. How are your shop skills Walt? If you can: measure and cut accurately, drill and tap holes, electric welding is handy but not necessary. If your basic shop skills are reasonably good building a forge and burner is EZ. PZ. and we'll help.

Building the equipment and tools with your Grandson sounds like an outstanding way to spend time together. I can only wish.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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On 5/27/2021 at 10:26 AM, Xenodice said:

40 years since I have forged anything-after his death I stopped.

Because I have had a similar start in blacksmithing, I would be interested in your start. Back when I started, my mentor was a master blacksmith named Isaac (Ike) Doss. He was still working six days a week in his blacksmith shop at age 80. I had met him in '84-'85 and he taught me an awful lot. One morning, while walking the six blocks from his home to the shop he was hit by a car. He never recovered from the accident and passed away in '91. For many years, I just couldn't bring myself to light a fire in the forge.

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I chose to honor my mentors, those ho have passed and those who are still here buy practicing the skills they taught me. 
I still smile at the memory of my grandmother cracking eggs with a knife instead of a Bowl edge or when I adjust the bovine tension on my sewing machine like my mother taught me..

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Hit the egg with the knife. That's how they taught us in Home Economics in middle school. I'd already learned the edge-of-the-bowl technique years earlier from my mom, but I did what I had to do to get a decent grade. 

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Like any craft or trade, "learn the tricks learn the trade."

I've been using ceramic non stick cookware for a while and unlike the commercials you can't use steel implements, any scratches and things start sticking. I doubt a plastic spatula is a viable option. 

Now I can see my Grandmother cracking eggs two at a time with the spatula in my mind's eye.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I like my cast iron, or plain steel. As long as the wife doesn’t clean them they are nonstick, stove to oven to table as well as home defense tools...

Traded my mother for my old cast iron (the real old stuff is lighter than lodge and the new stuff) but lodge and others make good stamped steel. I will have to look it up but there are a couple of direct to consumer kitchen wear companies that have good gear worth the money as well. 

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About a year ago we got a new stove and opted for an electric induction range which heats by inducing magnetic currents in the cookware.  So, you have to use cast iron or steel pots and pans, no aluminum, copper, or ceramic.  The glass surface does not get hot except for the heat transferred back from the pot or pan.  We love it and will never have a resistance electric stove again.  This is probably heresy but I think I like it better than gas.

We got a new set of steel cook ware but one thing we really like is a $10 no stick frying pan from IKEA.

BTW, for those of you who have never been to an IKEA store take the opportunity to do so if you can.  It is a real experience.  They are BIG.  So, figure on at least a couple of hours.  They are usually located in only major metro areas and can be kind of thin on the ground.  Here in the western US the only ones between CA and the midwest are in Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.  I have run into folk at the Denver IKEA who came down from Billings, MT just to buy IKEA products.  Tip:  Check out the Swedish foods area.  Good stuff.

Unfortunately, no IKEA black smithing tools but if they did they would be really well engineered.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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I have yet to try an induction cook top but plan on it. I don't know how conflicted I'll be if I really like it though, I LOVE my Viking range top and it's worked flawlessly for more than 20 years. 

Most of the ceramic cookware I've looked at including the "Gotham Steel" pans I bought have an iron core and work just fine on induction range tops. 

Deb and I should put IKEA on our tour stop list? O K A Y :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty,  the nearest IKEAs to you are in Vancouver, BC and Renton, WA.

We got an 1 burner induction hot plate at IKEA (about $40) before we got our range to try it out.  When it worked as advertised we pulled the trigger on the range.  Frankly, for just the 2 of us we could have probably gotten on with just a 2 burner induction hot plate and a high end toaster oven.  We rarely need more than 2 burners at a time and usually are not baking anything that requires the larger oven but we went for the range to have a complete kitchen in case we ever have to move and sell the house.  Actually, that is fairly unlikely.  When we moved here I made a vow that this was my last move and the only way I will leave is feet first.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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I'll try an induction plate at home before I buy large. You're right though I rarely use more than 2 burners but I do use the griddle and often. We have a separate electric oven. As much as I prefer to cook over a gas flame, I really like an electric oven the IR from the resistance elements resembles a wood fired oven. Nothing beats the oven on a wood cook stove.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/27/2021 at 9:12 AM, BillyBones said:

Welcome. Great way to spend time with the grandkids. 
Keep it safe, keep it fun. 

 

Thank you.  Yeah I like that idea too!  Oh yes, safety is paramount!

Edited by Mod44
Excessive Quoting - Please trim your quotes.
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Posted (edited)
On 5/29/2021 at 4:53 PM, Irondragon ForgeClay Works said:

Because I have had a similar start in blacksmithing, I would be interested in your start. 

My grandfather passed in October of ‘85-in my arms at 17.  He worked for a Russian blacksmith prior to WW1 who was a tool maker. If memory serves me, he worked for him approximately 3 years before getting a job with General Electric.   
 

After his retirement from GE, he and my grandmother open a Polish deli until his passing.  I worked there since about the age of 12-cutting 100’s of pounds of meat each week. Best time of my life and miss it dearly.  Our “hobby” was the smithing on weekends and when time would permit.  
 

His father had a pool hall and he was quite the pool shark.  So much so, that only my grandmother knew the hole story of why he left Erie and had to live in Brooklyn with some relatives for approximately a year.  I do know he got into mischief quite a bit in his youth. Lol.  
 

he was a great man and I miss him dearly.  He taught me SO much and to this day I wish he was still around for his guidance and wisdom.  
 

With me having a grandson interested in smithing and the trades I feel compelled to re-ignite pass passions.  

Edited by Mod30
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