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I Forge Iron

Feedback requested on first piece

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Three weeks ago I first put hammer to iron. Been making s-hooks for the smith I've been watching and learning from on the weekends. Yesterday was kinda slow at the flea market where we do demos and sell Tri-pods, pig tails, oyster shuckers and dinner bells. I saw a piece of 1/2" round about 4 inches long left over from a dinner bell we made and heated it up.

This is what I ended up with. Its a serving fork about 9 1/2" long.

I am looking for constructive feedback since I am just starting out so feel free to let me know what you think.

I appreciate your time looking and your comments.


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Looks great for just 3 weeks at blacksmithing, good job.

A few minor improvements:

- Spread the tines and flatten the little slit visible where the tines meet, as it is likely to eventually become a crack. Then return the tines to their finished position.

- Remove the hammer marks

- Look at how others have transitioned between the handle and the tines, that area will be the focus of people's attention and has the tendency to benefit from graceful shaping

- Strive for symmetry and natural flow of the outside lines of the piece. Beauty in iron tends to imitate the grace and flow of nature.

Edited by UnicornForge
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I like it!
From a technical view: Some areas of the fork show evidence of working cold, so be sure to maintain a proper heat and take your time with it. do some minor adjustments to both tines if you ust to get them looking balanced. The same goes for the arm. I like the oblong scroll, but if that wasn't what your goal was, use even force when hammering and make sure everything stays hot. That was one of my biggest issues when I started, and I see much of the same in yours.

Diligence is the answer, and you've got a great start right there. Bravo

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You are on your way!

Having a V shaped cut where the tines are split is a big problem, this will make it much harder to clean etc. Make a rounded end chisel to smooth this V cut, an 1/8" or so dia rounded end on the chisel will work great, it doesn't need to be very hard or of great steel.

Same thing with the ends of the tines. It looks like you used a grinder on them. Use a file instead if they need to be cleaned up. These should be round and if they do have a sharp point it should be a long taper, not as obtuse as the ones on yours.

One thing that took me a while to get right when I was starting was keeping a flat scroll flat. Yours has the end of the scroll sort of twisted off to the side, this is generally not so good. If that happens, unroll it and start again. One thing to remember when starting a scroll is that 20 very light glancing strokes with a very hot bit of metal is much better then 2 heavy direct strokes with red hot steel.

I like to make pieces that go from smaller to larger to smaller, or smaller to larger to larger. Yours goes from smaller(tines) to larger(twist main body) to about the same size(scroll). This gets more into the artistic side of things and is very debatable(a few years ago in England a guy got paid about $20,000 for his art exibit(by the city) is was some poo in a glass jar sat in the town square!). You are just three weeks in, so I am sure that you don't have your own style yet. Just keep thinking about how it is going to work, look and feel(not always in that order).

Having said all of that, it is very impressive for just three weeks into it all. Keep it up!

Caleb Ramsby

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I'm still about as green as they come. Save your work! It's just simply amazing how much progress you will make. I've been making lots of J hooks. I found a bag of about 6 of them the other day when I was cleaning off a table. They were some of my first work. It's entertaining looking back at how I thought they were so great at the time. Now I make the same style hook and it blows my mind how much different they look.

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Thanks all I appreciate the feedback and am adding your suggestions to my list of things to keep in mind for the next time. I am totally hooked on smithing and am glad for all who are willing to share their time and experience to help a new guy. I learn something new every time I pick up my hammer and strike some hot steel.

Thanks again

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