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How to forge (Techniques)


Kurt
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Unless you have much better controls than most of us have, what you did was a normalize cycle. Even in 10xx steel an anneal cycle requires a temp drop of just a few degrees an hour, which is pretty near impossible in a bucket of ash. However, it will work jsut fine if all you want to do is take a kink out. At this point you could simply hammer it straight, cold, do one more normalize to relax your hammered areas and re-harden and temper.

 

What I find, more often than not, is that I've come so close to my finished grind, that there really isn't enough steel left to get the knife I was after. Sometimes you just can't fix 'em, and you are better off starting over with all of the new stuff you just learned :lol: .

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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Okie dokie!

 

Wikipedia says a full anneal is a drop of about 38 C per hour, roughly 1 degree every 1.6 seconds. Furnace cooling works for my purposes, though. I was going to jam the forge full of loose insulation, but figured it was enough. And it was.

 

Anyways, another question, this time involving brass and copper guards. Say I bought 1" rod, and later found that I actually need a 1.5" guard. What's the best way to form these in to shape? Just hit the with a hammer on the anvil cold? Heat them up a bit? Buy 1.5" rod and save the 1" for something else?

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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Annealing, to me, is the process where you try to eliminate any austentite from the iron structure, leaving you with a body-center cubic lattice structure instead of a face-center cubic structure, since alpha iron is able to be plastically deformed to a much larger degree.

 

If you've done everything right there should be little to no austenite in your steel at room temperature, so I'm not sure how getting rid of austenite could be the goal of annealing. (But maybe I just haven't thought deeply enough about that.) In any event, though, yes, your understanding of annealing -- how it's done, that is -- is what most of us mean when we talk about annealing. Again, probably not necessary to reset quite that far back into the process for a slight warp. Just means extra scale and decarb.

 

Most copper alloys I've dealt with forge fairly nicely at room temperature, but they need to be annealed often. (For copper alloys this means roughly "heat to low red and either quench or allow to air cool.") They can also be forged hot in many cases, but they can be crumbly at the wrong temperatures (and of course they're relatively easy to melt). It'll take a little experimentation. Finally, casting is an option.

Edited by Matt Bower
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Forging non-ferris metals is another craft altogether. Each one is going to react differently. There is a condition called "red short". Red short materials tend to come apart at certain temperatures. Above or below those temps, they can be forged, sometimes quite easily. In the start to finish thread I referred you to earlier in this thread I hammer forged a 70/30 copper nickel alloy. If you heat it to +/- 1000F and try to hammer it, it crumbles. Take it to 1000F and quench it, and it's quite soft, but it work hardens fairly fast, so you have to "anneal" it fairly often. It's also hard to tell what temp it's at, since it doesn't really show color until it's ready to melt.

 

I have seen aluminum (I don't remember the alloy) hot forged under a hammer. I'm told that you can hammer forge Titanium.

 

It can't hurt to experiment. Get some copper or bronze/brass and try forging it, try it at different heats, try it cold. Ceramic supply houses have sticks (like a crayon) that leaves a mark that melts at a known temperature. You mark the piece, heat to that point, and then forge it. That works pretty well, and they are cheap, save that you need a handful of them to cover a range of temps.

 

Particularly when we work in mystery materials, you need to try out things before you try them on a piece you care about. It's all part of the process.

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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Okay, how's this question then? (Not that one, this next one)

 

How do YOU GUYS make guards?

 

Also, I did the final grind on the blade. It's straight as an arrow, and looks wonderful. I didn't bother sanding it past 120 grit by belt sander, and quickly to 600 by hand, so it's not a perfect finish, but this one is for me and a user, and I don't care to spend any more time (at least tonight) finishing this one up. Work is on hold until thursday, when I can get some copper, aluminum, and brass rod.

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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Kurt

 

What ype of guard do you want? I mostly use brass that is 1/4" thick so I have some room to play with. I always drill my slot a hair smaller than the intended size so I can have a nice tight fit. You will want to use a metal tub and a hammer to get a nice tight pressure fit. So your seems is perfect and you have to do very little soldering.

 

So once you get the slot drilled and filed and fit you can start working on the design of the guard. There are a ton of tutorials on the forum with tons of pictures. I mean this is how I learned and it has worked for me. And always have a spare piece of brass around justin case you file or grind to much.

 

Oh and make sure the guard fits tight, and make sure where the tang meets the ricasso that joint above and below is not 90 degrees, use a round file to round that corner as this will help the guard sit flush and it will also show you where you need to level off the steel for a good tight fit.

John W Smith
www.smith-forge.org

Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky. But Crom is your god, Crom and he lives in the earth. Once, giants lived in the Earth, Conan. And in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered. And the Earth shook. Fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters, but in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield. We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men. The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan. You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts.

[Points to sword]

This you can trust

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Wow. I am a dummy. I was going to buy rods and form them. Why do that when I can just buy sheets and cut them to shape from a sheet? :lol:

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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Kurt

 

it is a rectangular bar most likely 1/4" by 1" by 12" or 24" check on Speedy Metals. Or check ebay for brass

John W Smith
www.smith-forge.org

Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky. But Crom is your god, Crom and he lives in the earth. Once, giants lived in the Earth, Conan. And in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered. And the Earth shook. Fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters, but in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield. We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men. The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan. You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts.

[Points to sword]

This you can trust

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I live in Hamilton, Ontario. Our town is pretty much ran by the steel industry. I can buy tons of metals for cheap over here, sans shipping. Thanks anyways, but could you imagine shipping on 10 pounds or so of metal to Canada? Our shipping is ridiculous.

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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Argh. So after several hours of trying to drill a starting hole for the tang hole in a 1/2" chunk of copper, and breaking many drill bits (including one of the new cobalt ones I JUST bought yesterday), I decided to give that a rest and use brass.

 

But for the future, how do you guys go about shaping copper and junk?

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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You broke bits in copper? You sure it's copper? :huh:

 

General rules for drilling metal are

 

1. use a drill press.

 

2. use a drill press vise to hold the metal, unless you like fragmentary fingers.

 

3. use a centerpunch to mark your hole location. This keeps the bit from skidding.

 

4. In soft metals, use the lowest speed your drill press can go, lubricate the bit with something, even water will work, and keep steady pressure on the bit. If it's not turning up chips or curls, you're work-hardening the material and will have to anneal it before trying again.

 

5. In steel, with normal twist drills, use the lowest speed (there's actually charts for cutting speeds, which can vary depending on the drill size, but slow is almost always good) and lube it up. The thing about being sure you're always cutting is even more important here. If you're using a single-flute carbide drill, run the press as fast as it'll go and keep it flooded with coolant.

 

6. Don't step-drill holes smaller than 1/2". It's a great way to break the larger bit.

Edited by Alan Longmire
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What size bits are you breaking? Using a drill press, or a hand drill? How are you holding the work piece? Using any lube on the bit? What speed are you running the drill?

 

I break 1/8th inch and smaller bits just by looking at them. If the work piece is not held securely and it moves, or if the vice moves, just a small amount, that will break a bit every time.

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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It clearly is. Screw knives, I'll start building artificial intelligence and designing ten story robots.

 

Yes, I'm sure it's copper. Come ON, I'm not THAT incompetent! I was drilling using a hand drill at full speed with 1/8" bits and smaller. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I've been working with brass, and I like it MUCH better. But I still love copper for looking at.

 

Alan: Why wouldn't I step-drill?

 

I anticipate the knife being done by Monday, but as always, the first one is always a big learning experience, and will likely have a few more delays. It's looking great though, I can't wait to show y'all.

 

 

Regarding the stubborn copper, I guess you could put it in another light and say that I was having a conversation with my materials.

 

It was saying "I don't WANT to be a guard! You NEVER let me do what I want to! I WANT TO BE AN ARTIST!"

 

But man, I LOVE working with brass.

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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I think that you are going to find it a little hard to drill your pilot holes in the guard material without something to keep your bit at 90 degrees to the face of your stock. If you can't afford a drill press, get one of those jigs that you can mount to a power hand drill to keep a constant angle to your work and use it as a bassis for building a jig. Just off hand I'd say that you are forcing the work if you are breaking drill bits in copper. The copper could be work hardened also. To soften it, heat it until you see a little color and then quench it. I know that it sounds backwards but copper, and other metals for that matter, don't act like ferrous metals.

 

Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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You are breaking bits by getting them bent, it doesn't take much, and it's easy to do with a hand drill. Copper, in my experience, is not one of the sticky metals, not the way nickel copper alloys are. If the copper is resisting you, take a torch, heat it until it changes color and quench it, it will be as soft as it will get at that point. You didn't say where the copper came from, it could have been in a hard state when you got it.

 

As for your ability to identify materials, I didn't realize that you were a walking mass spectrometer!

 

A smith in the local group, the NWBA, a few years ago got what he thought was a chunk of buss bar copper in a scrap yard. He took it home and milled it to shape for a project. 3 weeks later he died, drowning in his own blood. It was only after he died that his doctors realized that what they originally thought was pneumonia was beryllium poisoning. The "copper" was some weird mill spec beryllium/copper alloy that ended up in the scrap yard from who knows where.

 

No one accused you of being incompetent, but the behavior you described is strange for copper.

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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Yikes!

 

No, I spent eight bucks on this chunk of copper from Metal Supermarkets. I'm pretty damn sure it's copper. It definitely has a distinct luster, like all of the group 1B elements (copper gold silver). And I bought it from a reputable source.

 

As far as hand drilling, I've been hand drilling my entire life, and I can drill rather straight, but I know I put too much pressure for the smaller bits to handle. I have an old drill press, I'll whip that out next time.

 

Next time I'll try annealing regularly, too.

 

Oh, and I also rigidized the furnace.

Edited by Kurt

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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