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I Forge Iron

Leaf forging tools


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Hello all,

I've started making leaves... so far, so good. I have only been using my anvil, a hammer and a blunted chisel; the leaves made aren't too bad, but are not as special as I want them to be.

So, I'll be grateful for any pictures of leaf-making tools that you think a competent amateur can make (with instructions for use!).

Thanks in advance.


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I use a chisel I made to do veins, I have not made a stamp yet. It is like a regular chisel with the exception if you look at it from the flat side, there is a slight radius, that way the ends don't leave marks, and you can slide it down for the next length of vein. To do most of the side veins I have a cutting hammer I bought at Harbor Freight, has a straight and cross cutting edge on the ends. I do many leaves at demo's for the Ooooh-Ahhhhh effect from the crowd when they figure out what I am making, and usually hand the finished leaf to a kid in the crowd, or make a keychain to sell.

Pictured is a holder I made for the chisel, that way you don't have to try to hold a chisel, a leaf, and a hammer. I only have 2 hands like most humans.


Edited by unkle spike
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I'm really not sure what the difference is between an amateur and a professional other than payment. I have seen some outstanding work done by self professed amateurs. I digress...

I like to forge out the leaves rather than chisel detail into them.

The below photographs represent by entry level leaf.











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One way I like to make leaves is by spreading out a wide leaf shape with the pein of the hammer. Then I use the anvil step or a swage block to bend the leaf in half lengthwise. I hammer the crease and then use the hardy to open the leaf. It gives a leaf with a very deep center vein and makes it a very 3 dimensional leaf. I also like leaves which have been decorated with punches, the ones in Otto Schmirler's watercolor blacksmithing book are great examples of that style. I often make oak leaves in that style. Frequently, I make leaves just using the pein of the hammer (my pein is similar to the ones on the Hofi hammers). As I stretch the metal with the pein to form the leaf shape I turn the leaf so that the pein comes down on half the leaf at one angle and on the other half at another angle. The finished result is that the texture of the stretched out leaf suggests the veining of the leaf. It is hard to chisel veins into a leaf without having the result look like the factory made ones welded onto items in Lowes and Home Depot, though it can be done.

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Unless I'm wrong, I believe Mark will also be at our 2nd annual Great lakes International Iron Fest near Buffalo NY on Memorial weekend, held by the New York State Designer Blacksmith Artists assoc. Mark, love the pics, I use a special dishing tool to bring the curves to the leaf, got it off e-bay. one of the best returns on any tool yet!

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