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My first coal forge.
JonWilliamsOBX posted a topic in Video and MultimediaGot all my stuff together this weekend and finally build my coal Forge. I need something pushing a little more air I think. If you see something I'm doing wrong or have any advise I would love to hear it. Brand new to all this. Thanks! 20180416_204026.mp4
First blade, feelin' proud
Larry Garfield posted a topic in Show and TellHello, forum. Newbie here. I'm just getting into bladesmithing via a community forge here in Chicago and have finished my first blade. The instructor at the forge thought I was nuts for cramming as much as I did into the first project, but I've never been one to aim low... The blade is a railroad spike. The head of the spike became the guard. The end-cap is just a piece of mild steel we had lying around, which is peened. The handle is walnut. It's all glued together with epoxy. I also made a scabbard for it, too, because I was feeling adventurous. The scabbard is poplar with a walnut finish. It's not a perfect color match but it's decent. There's definitely a few dozen things I know could be better on it. I haven't been able to get the edge as sharp as I want, the guard curve is a bit cramped, the scabbard doesn't fit perfectly, and there's a slight sideways lean in the blade from quench warping that I didn't catch in time. Still, for a first blade I'm pretty proud of it and wanted to share my joy with the world. (For a sufficiently local definition of world.) I'm working on my second blade now, which is also single edged but hopefully with a curved handle and blade (S-curve), with exposed tang instead of hidden tang. Friendly critiques welcome.
Preparing for first smelt.
Jesse John Cook posted a topic in Bloomers and ButtonsHello everyone! I just joined the forum and if this is better suited to the beginner section just let me know. I've already learned a great deal here so thank you to everybody for spending your time sharing with the community. I have some questions as I'm preping for my first smelt and there is a lot to learn. I started by collecting what I believe is ore. (I posted some pre-roast pictures, if someone knows what it is I would love to know) I noticed it on a hike and checked it with a magnet and it was already slightly magnetic. I roasted golfball to softball sized pieces for about 4 hours. I've now started to break it up, however it doesn't break apart as easily as some ore I've seen in videos, but a few hard hammer swings will do the job. My first question is what size should the ore be? I've watched videos and read articles but ore size seems to vary. A lot of videos seem to indicate the ore is crushed to a fine powder. However some resources indicated ~1cm, and catalan furnaces use lump ore (I understand these work differently to a stack, I was just hoping for some clarification on why the ore size varies.) From one article it sounds like the ore should be broken up slightly then roasted again before crushing to final size, what is the most common process? I'm sure I'll have more questions soon but it'll take me awhile to get everything ready. Next step will be a charcoal retort build, I'll post about that when I start. Thanks, Jesse
My first Sword
Gabriel.Pettersson posted a topic in Show and TellHello everyone, this is my first post here but I have been lurking around for a while, studying all of the amazing work you create. I have been making chefs knives and a couple of daggers for a while but my goal have always been to forge swords. I decided to begin that journey at the end of last year and have been working twoards this goal since then. I have a full time job and too many hobbies to count but smithing have always been my number one passion and I have finally reached a milestone I've been looking forward to for a long time. I've finished my first sword. The proportions of the sword, weight distribution and blade design is based on a 15th century sword from Germany as documented by Peter Johnsson and published in the book accompanying the exhibition "The Sword - Form and Thought" at the Deutshes Klingenmuseum in Solingen (2015 - 2016). Without his research (and further help with heat treating methods and oven design) this project would not have been possible. I am honored to have been given so much of your time and knowledge Peter. The pommel, crossguard and grip is not based on a single sword. It's just me looking at other master pieces, taking a bit here and a bit there and coming up with something that I thought looked good. The sword is 125.3 cm long, forged from 6150 steel and it's edges are sharp. I'm very happy with the outcome but I am definitely going to aim for a completely tight fit of blade to crossguard on my next sword. I got a little carried away with the filing and ended up having made a too large and also slightly curved hole. I will definitely continue making more swords in the future and I'm already looking in to ways of starting to study museum pieces to begin building up my own library of knowledge of historical swords. Cheers!
Dylan Halsted posted a topic in Beginners PlaceKind of a weird request, but here goes: Hi! For a history project, I'm making a shortsword. I have never done something like this before; the closest I've come is melting slag chunks into ingots at a metalworks warehouse's forge. I do not need the sword to be pretty, super functional, or great in anyway; I just need it to exist. Because I have a limited budget, I was planning on using marine grade aluminum, because it's the only decently strong metal my basic, basic forge can melt. My problem is that Aluminum oxidizes so fast, so I can't really use an anvil to hammer it. I was thinking of pouring the molten aluminum into a cast and using a grinder to make it blade shaped. I'm still very new to smelting and casting, and would appreciate it if anyone could tell me what parts of this plan are good and which parts wouldn't work in a million years, as well as better alternatives. -Dylan
New Bladesmith's first knives
StanleyM posted a topic in Design and CritiqueHi everyone I am new to bladesmithing and I would like a little feedback on a few of my knives. These are not the only knives I've made but they are the 3 I'm proud enough to show. All 3 are made from old leaf springs which I believe is 5160. I've made a leather sheath for two of them and I would appreciate feedback on those as well. Thank you for any comments or criticisms you leave, they are greatly appreciated. The thistle maker's mark on the third knife is my grandfather's maker's mark. He is an outstanding bladesmith but his motor skills have greatly declined lately. He can no longer smith and I want his knowledge of the craft and his mark to live on in my work.
Mike Grudzinskas posted a topic in Show and TellHi all, This knife is the first one that I'm actually proud of despite the flaws (my mistakes). I had made the blade a while ago and was having trouble figuring out what to do for the handle so it was sitting around. When I saw Dave J's post: http://islandblacksmith.ca/2015/06/making-a-hon-yaki-nata/ I had my inspiration. The blade is 1084 and formed by stock removal using an angle grinder for rough profiling, a drill for the pin hole, and files and sandpaper for the rest. The bolster is copper salvaged from plumbing fittings silver soldered (poorly). I over filed the opening for the blade and as this knife was destined for the kitchen, it seemed that silver soldering it to the blade might be a good solution (fix the gap and seal it). The handle is wood from a pallet. It has been charred to blacken and polished with beeswax. I over cut the setback for the bolster and I may yet replace the handle to improve the fit. The pin is oceanspray (ironwood) also inspired by Dave J. Any criticism, comments are welcome! I'd also like to thank everyone on here for providing such an amazing resource for a beginner bladesmith! Also, sorry for the crappy cell phone pics...
First Langseax- Photo heavy
Caleb Harris posted a topic in Design and CritiqueThis is technically my second Seax, but my first one broke soon after hardening. The steel is from a leaf spring, the handle is Bubinga wood from some very good friends of mine, and the pommel piece is also from a leaf spring: my friend and I are planning a sword build (he's the lucky one with the big forge and property) and I'm supposed to do the handguard and pommel. The pommel on this piece I was originally planning to use as the handguard for that sword, but I decided it was too small and used it for this. So here we go. Forging... Forging done, also showed next to my plans. Grinding... Finished grinding and starting on the bubinga handle. The rough wood handle, soon after burning in the tang. The tempered steel. Due to my small forge, I only managed to get the center third or so of the blade completely hardened, probably longer, but at least the hardening is in the cutting area. Took a long time of moving the blade back and forth in the forge to get it up to heat. I tempered using a propane blowtorch- the spine is a blue and the edge is about a dark yellow. ...aaaand the pommel. The assembled and epoxied seax. I left it to set overnight, and will try to finish it today. More pics to come. This took me about two days to do, with maybe four-five hours of work each day. Suggestions and critiques greatly appreciated. This is my first sword, and was quite a fun project to work on. I think though, that I worked through the forging too quickly and some of the hammer blows were not straight on. This wasted a lot of steel in the grinding, which was almost completely done with an angle grinder.
My first pair of tongs
Guest posted a topic in Beginners PlaceI just finished my first pair of tongs today ! they are made from 2 rail road spikes and it took me about 5 hours of work to make them.(Don't worry I had the forge outside with a nice breeze). The joint where the two peices meet were not level so I had to file it down and I had to use a bolt as an impromptu rivet. This is my third day forging and I am definetly getting better at hammer control. Any advice would be much appreciated becuase I know a bit about bladesmithing and blacksmithing in theory but very little in practice. They are perfect for holding rail road spikes.
First Fricton Folder
Caleb Harris posted a topic in Show and TellHey, just finished my first folder. I copied/pasted this from my blog post, which I write for non-bladesmiths. Any tips/suggestions? Here is my newest creation; a friction folder pocketknife. It started out as a small piece of 5160 I had cut off while trimming a larger blade (I’ll post pics when I’m done with that one). I forged it into shape, did some trimmings here and there, straightened it, then I did the curls in the friction lever by heating and curling with pliers. Once all the forging and hot work was done, I normalized twice (which basically means taking out all of the stress formed in forging, and reduces grain size), then began the rough shaping using an angle grinder. Once the shaping was done, I ground in the secondary edge and brought the whole blade nice and thin. I left the friction lever alone, however, so I could keep the rough forged look on it. I had, of course, started the process by drawing out a design to follow, which I tweaked and modified as I went through. Near the end of the forging process, I started to work on the general shape of the handle, which is made from maple wood. I would forgeforgeforge, and when I waited for the steel to heat up, I would trade off and start shaping the handle. Back to the blade, near when the handle was at its final rough shaping, I drilled a hole for the pin. Then I went on to heat treating. Just for fun, I decided to try clay hardening, which I have done a few times before. The clay I used was a simple mixture of ash, charcoal, plaster of paris (for the stickyness) and water. I covered the spine of the blade with the paste, and proceeded to heat to critical. For sake of time, I won’t go into the details of how the clay heating works, but I’ll just say that I have to heat the blade to critical temperature (the temperature the steel no longer sticks to a magnet) and then quench it in water or oil. The faster the cooling, the harder the blade. The clay slows down the cooling of the steel it covers, and so that area is much softer than the steel it does not cover. I didn’t bother tempering any further as it was a small blade and wouldn’t go under much stress (unlike some people, I don’t use knives as crowbars). I then began cutting into the wood so the blade could be inserted, starting with the back of the handle so the lever could be inserted to a little hole. I then drilled through the wood where the blade would be held in place with a pin. I finished all the carving, and proceeded to pin the blade in place. Unfortunately, I should have made the wood pin a little smaller, because when I pounded it in place it split the maple a little. I was able to fix that up with some elmer’s wood glue though. Once that was in place, I decided to add a little sterling silver pin further down for decoration and support. I then did a little bit of further shaping, and sanded down the maple. I also polished the blade. Unfortunately, because I was working with 5160, no Hamon showed up, despite constant rubbing with lemon juice. Anyway, I then sharpened the blade. I think I did something right in the heat treating, because I was able to sharpen this baby up enough to shave hair off my arm. Most commercial knives I can only get to slice paper. So there we go! My first friction folder (so called because it stays closed or open with friction). Side note: it stays open very well because I carved a special hole for the curl of the friction lever. One has to push hard to push it in and out of the hole.
Needs a Name, Critique
Tim Scarlatti posted a topic in Design and CritiqueHey Y'all This is my first post of a project. I've made some knives before, but I felt good about posting this one. You can see that the blade is an unusual shape, but I like my happy little accident. There's only a single brass tube keeping the tang in place, but half the handle is carved out so that it won't wiggle at all. The sheath and handle are white oak. They have been stained with the leftovers of an acid bath (apple cider vinegar) for cleaning rust and firescale. Basically it's Iron II and Iron III acetates in water. Iron reacts with white oak to make a very dark color. The other piece of wood illustrates the difference in appearance on non-oak wood. I'm very happy with the highlights in the wood. The lanyard is a bit of paracord I had liying around. I intend to get some leather or something and make a belt loop for it to hang around (after all, it's like my grandpa said, "I didn't get it to look at it"). It fits well in my hand and I enjoyed making it. Right now, I need a bit of advice/tips, it needs a little more sharpening, and it needs a name so I can etch into the blade. Cheers! Made a leather cover to put it on my belt. It's been a few months, but I already love this knife can't wait for my next one. It's going to have blue stained maple grips. I can't wait, but I have to... =(
First Post, First Puukko
Teemu Maenpaa posted a topic in Show and TellHello, I have been lurking around the forums for some months now and finally managed to gather enough courage for my first post. This is the very first knife I have ever made and so far only one aswell. I made it in local community college course in January this year. College provided the tools but everything from forging to sheath is self made. (You can see it in the level of finish) The blade is highcarbon steel, unfortunately I don't know any name or specifics for it. Handle is made of brass, bogote (80% sure) and curly birch. Tang goes through the whole handle and is striked flat against last brass mounting, so basically handle is attached for eternity. I'll appreciate any kudos, critique or advice you have to offer. I already have my second project ongoing but since I'm student and don't have garage, tools, time nor money it might take a while -Teemu