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I Forge Iron

Hello from Virginia

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Most people call me Bug or C. I am very new to smithing. As in I made my first piece last Saturday! I am working at getting a small smithy built. I have a brake rotor forge, three hammers, four tongs and a piece of railroad track. I figure that's a good place to start. 


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Welcome aboard from 7500' in SE Wyoming.  Glad to have you.

If you are using your RR track horizontally you might try it sitting on end.  That oriwntation gives you more steel under your work and you will notice that the metal moves a bit better.  If you are already using it on end, never mind.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Hey Bug, welcome!  I have an issue with bottle openers,  every time I make one I have to test it.  My liver gets mad at me for it. 

That's a great first opener.   How did you drift it open?  My first bottle openers were curled and it took a hammer in for me to learn how to do punched and drifted openers.   

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I went to a blacksmith a few hours away to pick up the equipment I have as he gifted it to me. While I was there, he offered a first lesson. Walked me through it, including using punch to make the hole, horn to widen it, and a bigger punch and swage block to get the final size. I then used a ball peen hammers small end to make the lip.


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Welcome Bug! I look forward to following your journey. I'm also a beginner and this forum is full of insanely supportive & helpful people so you found the perfect place. I also started on a piece of railroad rail (on end, as George recommended above - it really does make a difference - and I used an angle grinder to carve a baby horn out of one side of the foot and a cutoff out of the other side of the foot. Also used the angle grinder to round up the edges a bit so they weren't so sharp. Left one side of the head section less rounded and one side more rounded. The webbing that goes down the middle was actually where I had the best rebound. It's only about an inch thick but I wasn't usually working on much thicker than 1/2 inch anyway. I mostly just used the webbing section for reducing or upsetting. 

I also had a chain to hold the work down when needed (punching, cutting, etc). One end of the chain was under the bottom of the rail end (which was in sand) and the remaining just hung out until I needed it - then I'd just swing it over the piece laying on the rail. Not as securely held as it could have been since my chain wasn't long enough to step on - but it worked for what I needed at that time.

For punching, I had a piece of heavy square tubing that had holes in it - likely came from some sort of heavy duty adjustable stand or something - and laid that across the foot & head. Wasn't great but it worked. Would have been better if it had been secured down.

My suggestion is to try to make another bottle opener as soon as possible - and try to figure out how to do it with what you have at your own smithy. It takes a bit of creativity to do things on a rail but it's 100% possible. 

Have fun!

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