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Hey I'm Bryan this is my second post; didn't introduce myself last time and slowly getting myself into blacksmithing. I made a knife with a master blacksmith several years ago and decided dive into last week to after my health declined. I've looked at craigslist, ebay and craigslist trying to find tools used but can't find any in realistic prices. As I do not know desirable brands or designer brands yet I can't justify paying 40 dollars for a hammer what I can find for 10 dollars and 1-2 hours of modifications. I am looking at the gambit for tools from power tools to hand aswell as some tongs. Right now I have a 4lbs and 2lbs hammer both crosspein hammers, a passible anvil and forge, unfortunate tongs and a nice old tabled mounted vice. I would like a bigger arrangement of hammers, im already starting to look at powertools such as a mig welder, tabletop grinder and any other suggestions you have that a noobie should have. 



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If you are planning on getting into blade making, the most useful tool IMHO is a decent belt grinder.  Unfortunately it is also one of those tools where you get what you pay for, and most budget options are significantly less effective.  There are certainly work arounds, you can even draw file very effectively with a setup that costs well under $100, but you are trading your time for equipment cost.

As far as tongs go, ideally you should work on making your own.  For starters I recommend tong kits, like the ones from Ken's Custom Iron Store, but eventually making your own (or at least learning how to modify garage sale finds) will make yo a more versatile smith. 

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Hi Bryan

I would not buy new tools. Garage sale hammers are almost free and you can modify a ball peen hammer into all kinds of top tools. Same with chisels and files. 

Second on Kens customs tong kits. Best money spent by a beginning smith in my opinion. Have fun 

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if you are starting out as a blacksmith, your 2# hammer is all you need. By the time you figure out how to use it, you will know what else you will need. So first things first. The first thing you need, after one hammer, a forge and an anvil are fire tools so you can start learning fire management. So make a poker, a rake, and a water can. You dont need tongs for these tools. Then make a hand held hot punch and a hand held hot cut. Make these about 14" long so your hand is well away from your hot iron. Make these from a coil spring about 5/8" or 3/4" diameter. Now, go to either the hardware store or the flea market and pick up a cheap hacksaw. Cut a piece about 24" long off the coil. Measure this 24" length with a piece of 24" long string. You can straighten this hot and now you have a "handling" length. This means you can hand hold it, heat the other end and not get burnt because you are 24" away from the hot end and you dont need tongs. Now make the working end of a hot punch on one end and a hot cut chisel on the other. Oh, wait til the first end cools before starting the second end and dont quench it. let it air cool.  :)  When done, again use your hack saw and cut in half. Now you have two new hand made tools that are long enough that you can stick the newly cut ends in the fire and dome them hot with your hammer and not burn your hand! Now you have all the tools you need to make a set of tongs and also enough experience to make them!  After you make your tongs, your next tools ought to be a center punch and a cold chisel. These are made from coil spring as well and are ~4" long or so. And, guess what? You now have a set of tongs to hold them when you forge them!  You also now have a brand new set of hand made tools and experience that will enable you to make just about any dang'd thing you want By Hammer in Hand.

Never forget: Proper setup, Proper Tools, Proper job!

As far as power tools, well I'm pretty traditional with my work, so they are pretty low on my list,,, even now. And, if you more or less follow the above pathway, you will prolly have a pretty good idea if blacksmithing is your thang.

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