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I Forge Iron

How do I stay centered

Steve McCarthy

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I got interested in blacksmithing because I wanted to forge my own fish gigs, and so far have had little success. I am using leaf spring cut 6" long and 2 1/2" wide. I make 2 cuts 3" long forming 3 prongs. I bend the outside prongs 90 degrees to the center one and then can draw out all 3 to about 5" long with sharp points and cut a beard on each about 1 1/2" back from the point then bend them back around so it looks like a 3 pronged pitch fork. The other end is what is giving me trouble. The oposite end from the prongs needs to be drawn down to about 3/8" (basicly forming a cross) and used to make the shank and socket. Here is my problem; as you draw down the end from the original 2 1/2" wide, the end result needs to stay aligned with the center prong. I can't keep it centered with the middle prong. It starts out fine then the metal on one side quits moving. I alternate between which edge is on the anvil and which side is struck but one side consistantly moves more than the other side. How do I draw down this end and keep it centered with the middle prong? Hope I haven't rambled to the point that nobody knows what I'm talking about.

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You probably need to set the shoulders with a double fuller or you will likely continue to fight it (so the material looks like a bow-tie from the side). You then forge the lump out to a rat-tail but the shoulders are done to the correct depth with the fuller.

Rather than do all that forging, you could also split away the material and leave a rat-tail. Even a reduction to an inch or so cuts way down on the hammer work.

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