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I read somewhere that the main difference between them was that Hot Chisels have a shallower angle and are longer to keep your hand away from the heat. Is that really it? I ask because as a newbie I'm collecting tools to make a start and Hot Chisels don't seem to be very common! I've bought a couple of long series (10" long) Cold Chisels cheap and they already have a pretty shallow angle to start with. Thanks,

Vic.

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Hmmm. As a new smith you should be able to make your own hot chisels along with many other useful tools such as punches/slitters/drifts and what not. You can use coil springs or leaf springs to make them. You could also turn those cold chisels into hot chisels by forging them into shallower angles to make them hot chisels. This would then bring us to a proper heat treating. You would need to anneal/harden/temper them to finish them.

Just because a tool is designed for a specific purpose doesn't mean that as a smith, you can't change them to suit your needs. You will find that most commerical tools are not really what you will need as is. Hammers are a good example. Most commercial hammers are sharp edged and need to be "dressed" to be useful for forging. This is a minor version of changing what you get versus what you want/need. All of my smithing hammers have started as either 3lb sledge hammer heads or drilling hammer heads. From these I turn them into diagonal cross pein hammers, rounding hammers, flatters etc.

Another thought would also be a hot chisel with a handle attached. I prefer this over just the hot chisel. It makes things easier to control and see when you are doing the chisel work. I actually forged a slag chipping hammer head into a hot chisel hammer and it works great. Just forged/annealed the hammer head (after you cut off the handle of course) into the shape I wanted and then annealed/hardened and tempered the cutting tip. See there I go again, changing a tool into another tool ;-).

You will need to harden/temp the cutting tip but you want the body and struck end soft so you don't have it chipping on you. This is true for the regular chisels/punches etc. because you will be a striking with a hardened hammer against hardened steel. This is not a good thing. If you don't soften the struck end of the tool it could cause chipping and send flying metal shrapnel into you or anybody close to you.

Hope this helps.

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Most any "cold chisel" found at a fleamarket will work fine cutting hot steel. Hot steel is not too particular. When you want to modify them is when you don't like how they cut.

Exp: you may want a special chisel when you want to slit hot steel and so need a thin chisel that will stay hard even when buried in hot steel. Blacksmiths often use high alloy steels like H13 for making slitters as it has high heat hardness.

Note that hardening and tempering a tool that will be buried in hot steel can be rather a waste of time unless it's a high alloy steel. I generally just normalize my cutters, drifts and punches that are plain carbon steels to make sure there is no brittleness in them.

Making tools into what you need is one of the joys of smithing!

My last chisel I re-worked was an S1 Pharmaceutical punch that I reforged into a slitting chisel and did heat treat as it's an alloy that would profit from it. It is short and it has a depressed section that a pair of special tongs grab with a tong ring to hold it. Short tools don't tend to incline in use and transmit more force into the work. The tongs keep the hand away from the hot metal. I've used it to slit hawk's made from old mining drill shafts using my screw press and it does a lovely job.

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The main differences between the two are angle and temper. Cold chisels, due to the increased impact and chance of chipping, generally have a wider angle on the edge, about 60 deg if I remember correctly. They are also tempered to be less brittle. Can't remember the color range so I usually look it up. Pretty much every book has a chart on it and there are many websites that have it too. I think it's around straw yellow or bronze but look it up to be safe. Hot cuts are usually thinner angled for easier cutting and can be tempered more leniently since the heat will draw some of the temper if your not careful and the metal you are hitting is softer than the chisel anyways. As for handles and length, I've see handles on both and they may be the same length too, depending on use.

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Thanks a lot for the help guys, much appreciated. Getting raw materials can be a pain at times so thanks also for the tip about coil springs, I'll take a trip to the car breakers when I can. I'm prepared to modify stuff and recently bought a 3lb maul cheap which I'm hoping to turn into a straight pein hammer at some point. The other thing that bothers me are tongs, I've got a pictorial "how to make your own tongs" but think this may be a bit challenging to start with. Given the price of tongs over here (double US/German prices!) I don't see much choice :(

Vic.

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I reckon the difference in abundance is this: hot chisels are of course only any good for the hot iron trades. Cold chisels though are useful for mechanics, stonemasons, builders... heck, you can even find them in B&Q.

You might want to see if anyone will ship to the UK, and whether it's worth it if you buy several pairs. GS Tongs for instance will ship to the UK for US$39, or just over GB

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Thanks for that Matt. I've seen the GS Tongs, they look nice it's just a matter of whether you get stung for import duty and vat? The other place I looked at was: ANGELE Schmiedetechnik - ANGELE-SHOP no import duty of course. It's just a shame our own manufacturers are a bit pricey. Thanks again,

Vic.

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Thanks a lot for the help guys, much appreciated. Getting raw materials can be a pain at times so thanks also for the tip about coil springs, I'll take a trip to the car breakers when I can. I'm prepared to modify stuff and recently bought a 3lb maul cheap which I'm hoping to turn into a straight pein hammer at some point. The other thing that bothers me are tongs, I've got a pictorial "how to make your own tongs" but think this may be a bit challenging to start with. Given the price of tongs over here (double US/German prices!) I don't see much choice :(

Vic.


Do not worry about making a pair of tongs. I believe that a pair of them were the first thing that I made once I had my forge going. They get better, you get faster, and they seem easier to make each time you make another pair for something.

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If you need a hot cut to get started then yes a cold chisel will work fine. Look for one that is ground on one side only. When you hotcut the end of a bar, the bar remains squared ( the keeping end). A hot cut hardy is used in the same fashion. A good hacksaw is also handy to start out with. Actually, a commercial welding chipper will make a good hotcut as well. Some have the back edge ground a bit and you need to re-grind to get a nice sharp edge with no wire on it. There will be some purist perhaps object to my suggestions but thats ok too. I make a lot of tools as well. As Thomas mentioned, H-13 is excellent stock to make hot tools. So are broken ratchet handles and other re-cycled hand tools. Allen wrench ( hex key) stock makes good punch stock. I use whatever I need. Good luck.

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For making hot cuts a piece of leaf spring is ideal as most of the work has already been done for you.

As for tongs, just have a go it is easier than you think and you can really judge your improvement over time with successive pairs.

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Hey Arbalist, I'm new as well and just turned out a set of tongs from re-bar. i thought it wold be super difficult being i too am short on tools. now i'm not saying they are pretty by any means but they serve their purpose and do so very well. I didn't have a punch so i made one from an old hex wrench, it worked fine on hot steel for me anyways, and i didn't even harden it. 

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Arbalast has had 5 years to practice now...

 

Gosh, has it really been five years ... since I first posted we have had family issues and a close relative passed away. I've also had health problems myself over the past few years and even some of my relatively easy pastimes have been put aside. After several trips to the ED last year I've finally had surgery and feel generally much better. Not too sure where my priorities lie at the moment as I decided to retire and we also moved house so things are in limbo at the moment. I suppose the first thing is to get my tools out of storage and set up some kind of workshop. Sadly we are in a much smaller plot than before so doubt smacking hot metal is going to amuse my new neighbours very much. There is a working blacksmiths shop not far from me though so I intend to go and introduce myself when the hospital visits are over. 

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Grabbing out some of my s7 to forge up some chisels for making animals heads. Anyone here able to suggest profiles for the "business end" of the chisel so I have a well rounded set to make a variety of heads?

 

making:

eyes

nose

hair

mouth

teeth

scales

tongue

horns

etc...

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On 8/21/2014 at 11:52 PM, John McPherson said:

This set was used in an animal heads tutorial online about 5 years ago.

 

post-114-0-87081800-1408679501_thumb.jpg

John, this photo got lost in the Great File Disaster of 2016. Any chance you could repost? 

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