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I Forge Iron

what should I do??


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hello people, greetings from Puerto Rico, I have a question, I don't know how to stretch the material, or how to make it wider, for example, if I want to make a wide blade to mince meat, I don't know how to forge it so that it stays wide, I don't know what hammer to use or for what direction to hammer I hope you can help me thank you very much

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Good morning Yamo. What you are asking are basic skills I highly recommend you learn to a level of proficiency before making blades. Controlling flat stock under the hammer is challenging even then. 

What kind of hammer do you have now? I start newcomers with a 2lb. Drill Hammer, it's a small sledge hammer head on a shorter handle with no special shaped pein. Just two smooth hammer faces. You want to dress any hammer face by rounding the edges so they do NOT make sharp marks in the work. AND grind a slight crown on the face which means to grind it so the face has a gentle dome, the center higher than the edges. I

If you crown one face of a drill hammer you can leave the other face flatter to make Plannishing. (flattening all hammer unwanted marks from the project.) Plannishing is done at low temperature, red to black MINIMUM where moving metal (forging) is done at higher temperatures, orange to yellow with fine work done at high to mid red. 

When you strike hot metal with a hammer it wants to move away from the center of the hammer contact point in all directions. If you have modeling clay "Plasticine clay" available it's perfect for experimenting it moves just like HOT steel. 

One of the things it takes practice to master is what happens to a bar when you strike off center. As the steel is driven thinner it expands to the sides. Make sense? As it moves sideways in a flat bar the bar gets both wider and longer. Yes? So, if you strike off center on the bar, say drawing down blade cheeks, the bar is getting longer on one side so it MUST curve towards the edge away from the point you struck.

This means you will have to strike the blade on edge crown UP to keep it straight. You want to keep ahead of the curving effect so straighten it frequently so you don't have to make large corrections. The larger the correction the greater the probability the blade will curl or otherwise deform and require more straightening. This can get out of hand quickly so it's best to stay ahead of it.  

I highly recommend you find or buy some round or square rod stock, say 3/8" 9mm. or 1/2" 13mm and practice some basic skills. Draw points and perhaps turn hooks. Cut a modest length say 6" , draw a point on each end and turn hooks in opposite directions to make lantern hooks. If you draw a point on one end and widen the other or punch screw holes in it and turn the point to a hook you have wall hooks. It's excellent practice to make things you can use or give as gifts, the incentive really boosts the learning curve.

Those are some of the basics and again I highly recommend you practice the craft on mild steel, it moves more easily is cheaper and you aren't running the risk of putting many hours of labor into something that a simple mistake can ruin. Make sense?

You have lots of help learning the craft here and we'll all pulling for you. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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To draw out---make longer but not wider---I like to use the horn of my large anvil and the straight peen with a very fat peen  =)(=  and hammer so the peen marks are 90 deg to the axis I want to make larger.   To make wider I generally use a crosspeen, again with a fat peen and make the peen marks parallel to the long axis of the piece and clean it up with a nicely dressed "rocker" faced hammer.

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Yamo, a couple of things:

First get some playdo or modelling clay and think of it as hot steel.  It will move the same way as steel with similar force applied to it.  if you press your thumb into it it will move like steel does when hit with a hammer.  That is, it will move out in all directions from the point of downward force.  If you like, you can hit the clay with a toy plasic hammer or a wooden hammer to simulate hitting steel with a hammer.

Second, how the metal moves is dependent on the shape of the hammer hitting it.  A round hammer face will move metal radially in all directions.  A cross peen/pein hammer sort of a blunt, rounded wedge shape) will move metal at right angles to the line of the peen.  I suppose a triangular shaped hammer would move metal in 3 directions.

Also, sometimes a lot of light or medium blows will move the metal better and in a more controlled way than a few hard blows.

Good luck and practice is something that is necessary to learn a skill whether it is blacksmithing, playing a guitar or violin, riding a bicycle, or learning how to use a video game controller.  It's mostly hand/eye coordination.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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