Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Forging a tang


SinDoc

Recommended Posts

During my little escapade last night, I found a roughly 6" long piece of 1084 and decided that since my initial project of trying to make damascus out of a chain saw chain failed, I would try to see if I had gotten better at forging to attempt a knife again.

It started out fairly well. I got the tip, curve and some more general profiling done but when I started to make the tang, I kept having a problem with the edges rolling. I tried a couple different hammers thinking maybe I was using one that was too rough, but the problem persisted. I was trying to follow the instructions in the book I purchased from Mr. Sells but kept having problems.  I tried sticking the section off the anvil and hammering it into the edge of the anvil which would result in rolling and the whole piece trying to fold in half. I then tried to do it the opposite, where only the section I was trying to isolate for the tang was on the anvil. This helped keep the piece from trying to fold in half, but made the rolling worse.

All in all, I would say I tried for get the tang isolated and forged for over an hour and did not accomplish much. The tang is MAYBE an eighth of an inch less wide than the rest of the piece, most of which was the result of it rolling over onto itself. I should have taken some pictures to show what was happening, but I did not have my phone on me at the time. I went back and re-read the book from Mr. Sells, read around on here and other sites more as well as watched a couple more videos on it but can't seem to figure out where I am failing or what I am doing wrong. This is more than likely more evidence that I am simply not yet ready to try forging a blade and need to go back to making other various items until I improve.

This is mostly me ranting and venting my thoughts on it. I am not defeated but, what's the word? Emboldened? to figure this darn thing out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will have to grab one when I get back home. I unfortunately did not have my phone on me last night (daughter wanted to watch Coco Melon :lol:). I had the same problem last time I tried making one, let me see if I can find a photo of that one.

Not the same project, but you can see where I kept having issues with the sides rolling over. 

20210407_192247.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why are you hammering it on edge so much? The edge WILL upset. If you widened it too far don't draw it so far next time. If you're trying to contour the tang the steel MUST be unsupported to bend. If it's on the anvil it WILL forge and upset.

What are you trying to do? Process wise that is.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It looks to me like either the piece is too cool or if you're not hitting hard enough (or both).

Think of it this way: when you hit downward, the metal has to go somewhere, and the only place it can go is out sideways. If you're only tapping on the surface, the force doesn't penetrate deep enough to move the metal in the center; all the force is dissipated at the edges. If the metal isn't hot enough, the same thing applies: the center mass isn't malleable enough to deform sideways.

The solution is to make sure that your workpiece is hot enough (within the specific alloy's forging range -- for example, do NOT try to forge O-1 at a light yellow heat!) and that you're directing the force of your hammer blow far enough into the stock. A narrow fuller, the edge of the anvil, or the peen of your hammer will help that force penetrate more deeply; just remember that the metal will want to move perpendicularly to the fuller, edge, or peen.

Additionally, some degree of edge rolling is more or less inevitable, and you will need to make constant corrections as you go along. It feels like two steps forward, one step back a lot of the time, but that's just the nature of the beast. Remember the wisdom of Alexander Weygers: With the little corrections, we avoid the big corrections.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Frosty, I am simply trying to forge the tang out from the rest of the 2" flat stock. So I tried hammering down with the end off the anvil to "pinch" it (I think the correct term is fullering, pardon the bad terminology), but rather than the stock getting, less wide? Thinner doesn't seem like the correct word, it mostly just rolls over. I had it at a nice medium/bright orange color when trying to forge. Altogether I was trying to reduce the 2" to say an inch for the tang, but boy was it not working. 

JHCC, my first thought was too much/lack of force. I would try a hammer at varying degrees of force, then move to a different hammer to see if I could get any improvement. No matter the hammer really, if I tried hitting it harder, the entire piece would try to fold over instead of just the edges. 

This is 100% me simply not knowing what I am doing and guessing at it while doing it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it’s folding over, you’re not hitting it straight. 

Watch this video (from IFI member Basher); it has a good explanation and demonstration of drawing out the knife’s tang. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are probably correct. I more than likely was not getting a nice square hit, and changing hammers was most certainly not helping that. I can't watch the vid right this moment, but will as soon as I get home!

FYI I like to watch Black Bear Forge for a lot of my "learning how to do something" videos. I was told he (John?) was a very good person to watch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is your anvil at the correct height?   Also the upsetting of the edges is, as mentioned; definitely a "2 steps forward, one step back" technique which means every time you hammer down on the edge and it starts to upset and roll; you then need to reheat and hammer it flat on the sides.  Every time!  If you let it progress you will get cold shuts in the metal.

For newer smiths I often suggest using a guillotine fuller or swing arm fuller to make a nice equal set of depressions to mark the transition from blade to tang.  Makse it easier to keep the transition clean when working it afterwards.

You might see if Adlai Stein in Columbus could give you a hands on class on doing it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, SinDoc said:

I like to watch Black Bear Forge for a lot of my "learning how to do something" videos. I was told he (John?) was a very good person to watch.

Very good choice. John Switzer is an excellent presenter. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thomas, My anvil is at the height where if my arm is extended at rest and I grab a hammer it sits on the anvil without me moving my arm. I guess technically its knuckle height. Also, Adlai has some knife making classes that I want to take but the opportunity has not presented itself to sadly.

JHCC, I agree. I like the way he presents his videos and walks through every step in making something. I thoroughly enjoyed one of his more recent videos where he acquired an induction forge. Looked like a kid in a candy store lol. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll slap myself on the head for being dense, I didn't realize you're drawing flat stock down for the tang. Talk about missing the obvious. Have I told you about the dents in my head? Yeah, that's right dents. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Mushrooming the edge WILL happen correct as soon as it starts, if it's rolling you've waited too long. You don't want to hammer it flat into the rest of the tang, get it close and you're good.

With the edge thicker than the center of the tang the center will get hotter faster and the thicker edges will be more resistant to moving laterally so it upsets more deeply. 

You have to get the tang flat, even if the thickness isn't uniform it needs to be flat. Any bend will concentrate the energy of the blow and it'll fold. 

Straight blows are a must though, practice practice practice.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Got it. This was only my second serious attempt and forging a knife, so I figured it was happening to hammer technique and not fully understanding what was happening. Ill try again tomorrow and see what happen! I just picked up the grinder, so I am excited to get it home and hooked up!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Basically every time you forge something, there are actually two basics that you must do. The first I call forging to finish. This is where you are, in your case, changing the length whilst maintaining thickness.

The second I call forging to correction. This is where in the same heat and at a proper temp, you take out the edge bend, twist, and in your case, forge out the flair. 

These two steps are always done. If not, what's called cumulative error will add up,,, just like your flair has done for your project and it will eat you up trying to fix it.

Please note I said forg to correction is done at the proper heat. That's the same heat as you do the first step. Then put it back in the fire before you lose anymore heat and reheat. It takes far less time to being a hot iron to forging temp than from a colder temp.

This is a great basic to get under your belt. Later there is plenty of time to learn just when you should forge at cooler temps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Will do Steve. Taking a break from it today but once I go back out ill work on the bevels more and report back. I tried to forge in a ricasso, but that went nowhere lol.

Iron, yeah this one went much smoother. I used a heavy hammer and gave it hard yet accurate blows. One or two hits then flip it on the side to keep it even. 

Work in progress, but I am getting better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

End up back in the shop somehow so decided to work on it a bit more.

Per your advice Steve, I tried making the bevels bigger rather than simply having an edge. Still needs more refining.

16224741185872596471626195064011.jpg

16224741400663904226629161145984.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tried my hand at sharpening it on the whetstones yesterday as well. Did the majority of the work on 400 grit and was about to move to the 1000 grit when my hands said they were done. Still feels like it has some burrs on it and still isn't quite up to clean paper slicing sharp yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you going to put a handle on there? Generally sharpening is the last thing I'll do. That way I don't have to worry about damaging the edge (or my fingers).

You can always cover it with tape, but still. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am eventually. Since I have never done this before, I wanted to make sure I could even get the little bugger sharp before committing to putting a handle on it. I figured I would just tape it up while attaching scales then if it all went well, finish polishing and put the final touches on the edge afterwards.

Even if this proves moot, I can say I am proud how this one has turned out. Downside is there is a slight warp in it that I was unable to correct after heat treat with grinding. I don't think it is a bad enough warp to cause functionality problems, but it is there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No it looks good. I was just thinking out loud.

Depending on the type of warp you have you can sometimes straighten it out while tempering. I have a piece of steel with two pieces of round stock welded on some distance apart. If you lay the knife across these two pieces (bend side up) and put a c-clamp on there you can toss it in the oven and every 15-20 minutes slowly tighten up that clamp a little bit at a time until you over bend it in the direction opposing the warp. Let it cool in the clamp and that will usually straighten it out. 

Note: If you hear a *PING* while you're tightening the clamp, go back a quarter turn and toss out a few profanities.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...