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Can't get steel moving....


Brian S. Pierce
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I've been doing stock removal for about 2 years, and I just started forging last month. I've got a 6lb stake anvil set in a 3 gallon bucket of re-enforced concrete. I'd estimate it weighs about 60-70lbs total. My hammers are 2.5lb cross-pein and a 4lb sledge. I'm using a one-brick forge and the Bernz-O-Matic JTH7 propane torch.

 

I'm having a problem getting the steel to move. I watch videos of others forging and the steel just flows under their hammers. I'm pretty sure the steel is hot enough. I usually forge at night, and I'll bring the steel up to yellow heat before trying to shape it. On the first one or maybe two hits after the steel comes out of the forge I can feel the steel move, and after that...nothing. In many videos I can see the steel moving even at a dull red, but mine stops moving once it gets to orange. It took me 2 hours to forge the tang on a file knife. That's probably 12-15 heats. I'm guessing this is because of my anvil, which I'm sure is too light. If I use the 4lb sledge with any force it makes the anvil jump. Surely my technique is poor as well, but 2 hours to forge a stick tang?

 

Can anybody suggest what I can do to move steel faster? I'm burning through 1-2lbs of propane per night, and not seeing much in the way of results.

Thanks,

Brian

"...a good knife is always a hearty incantation."

-Conan

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Well first what kind of steel are you using? I was just discussing this same issue this morning with a blacksmith friend of mine. Though we were talking about leaves not blades. Alan you will be amused to note that he to shook his head at me for using a file.

Edited by WmHorus

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just use common sense.......dude your boned

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alot of times cameras play with the color of steel. Ruby red often shows up as black, orange as red, yellow as orange.. etc, and it can send the wrong message. If your steel moves when its hotter, but not when its not, than get it hotter!

 

there is certainly a chance that your working with metal that won't forge as well..

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I actualy just finished my anvil,all i used was about a 300-400mm piece of RR track,i welded Sides on it leaving one side open then i poured molten lead into it all the way to the top leaving about a 5mm gap from the top and then when it was cold enough to hold with bare handes i simply welded the other side on covering it conpletely and grinded it smooth, so it looks like a solid anvil and its fricken heavy for its size and funny enough it has a nice ring to it also(i thought it would have a dull ring to almost nothing at all).please tell me if you need a pic of it and ill get one. ^_^

Patients is the key to sucsess

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I hope you wore some serious safety equiptment with that lead pour.. that stuff is pretty bad for you. good idea for an anvil though as long as all of the lead is covered

Well i didnt actualy do the pour, i just watched while my teacher did it but the rest i did my self.i had a full face shield,respirator and heavy duty overalls.

Patients is the key to sucsess

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Get a heavier anvil. I just figured this out my self. went from a big peice of RR track to a 185lbs Hay Budden and man, the steel just flows(well, as good as a noob can make it). My RR tracl anvil is about 50lbs, staked to a 200lbs peice of cotton wood barried in the ground 2 feet. The HB moves the steel way easier. Also, hotter is better, and we need to know what steel you are using.

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Hi Brian

 

in my experience... there are many things that affect it....

 

but a Big solidly mounted anvil is a huge help..... ..couple years back i forged a knife or two on a 400lb pete... it was shocking how easy the steel did what i wanted it to do.....

i know its difficult to get a big anvil... i still only have a 125 and 200lbs pete.... but if you have a super solid mount, it helps... my 125 is on an 8by8 inch post that is in the ground over 3 foot..

secured with chain and turn buckles..... aswell as glued down with silicon... its not bad

 

oh......and the crown of your hammers also matters....the more crown, the more it moves...

 

by the way...forging at night, the heats will look hotter than they actually are..

 

Greg

 

ps.. remember to put the power to your strikes when the iron is the hotest.....thats when it moves the most... then save the lite blows when it cools to smoothe out the dings... sorta hammer polish it

pss... sorry if that was obvious.. just tryin to help out

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There is a learning curve, you will learn to push the steel in the direction you want it to go. A rounded hammer face will also move steel better. For starting the tang most use a Guillotine which can make this happen pretty fast and Straight Peen hammer can also move steel. When I first was using my forge I didn't have anything to go by so I practiced by burning up a few things,,, :D of course I now claim this was done on purpose but either way you need to get a good feel for heat. Are you working in a dark place where you can see the steel well?

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I personally forge mainly on small anvils. If the anvil jumps as you describe it, then you're loosing a lot of energy and you have no benefit of the concrete weight attached to it. It will already help a lot if you fix it firmly. That said, 6lbs is very small even for a small anvil. Even in early medieval times when iron was fairly scarce and very expensive, anvils usually were in the order of 5-10kg. Going from 10 to say 200kg will make a huge difference, but the difference from 3 to 10kg may be even bigger.

Jeroen Zuiderwijk

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/barbarianmetalworking

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lift the hammer higher, hit harder, and follow through, especially working with tool steel. when i made the jump from 1018 decorative to 1095 blades i thought i'd broken something cause NOTHING WOULD FRICKIN MOVE until i started sticking my hammer to the piece for about a quarter second. also, heat it more often. if you can only keep it warm for two strikes, that may be your window of oppurtunity. i work outdoors now in an unsheltered area and my anvil just wont build up enough heat. i've got about a 10 second window for hammering before i have to heat again now.

"Whats the point of women? I've got knives, they're just as pretty and I don't need to buy them dinner to get them out of their sheath"

http://omalleyblades.weebly.com/available-blades.html

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hot the scrap yards get you self a round cut off about 3 inches around or bigger stick it in a bucket of concrete to get it at the right height and hammer away and if you work the 1070ish steels they move real nice and are inexpensive with harden line capability

Brandon Sawisch bladesmith

 

eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked in to jet engines

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Thanks guys. I know my anvil is too light, and I'm working on fixing that. I know cameras are inconsistent when it comes to correctly representing the color of the steel. I know my hammer technique is poor. I guess when you put them all together it makes work difficult, huh?

 

For steels I'm using 1070, 5160, and several worn-out Nicholson files. I have the same trouble moving all of them.

 

I'll spend some time re-crowning my hammers. And thanks for the technique tips, omalley.

 

I'd like to get the steel hotter, but already I'm at the upper limit of my burner. I'm using the same setup Wayne Goddard suggests in "The $50 Knife Shop" and I can't get it any hotter, unless I switch to MAPP gas. I don't really want to do that, so I'm going to build a charcoal forge ala Tim Lively.

 

I see that Tim Lively uses a chunk of 4x4x14 mild steel set in a 5 gallon bucket of concrete. I'd think mild would be too soft for an anvil, but I guess it works.

 

I still think the cost of anvils is absurdly high, but I now know how valuable they are.

"...a good knife is always a hearty incantation."

-Conan

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Thanks guys. I know my anvil is too light, and I'm working on fixing that. I know cameras are inconsistent when it comes to correctly representing the color of the steel. I know my hammer technique is poor. I guess when you put them all together it makes work difficult, huh?

 

For steels I'm using 1070, 5160, and several worn-out Nicholson files. I have the same trouble moving all of them.

 

I'll spend some time re-crowning my hammers. And thanks for the technique tips, omalley.

 

I'd like to get the steel hotter, but already I'm at the upper limit of my burner. I'm using the same setup Wayne Goddard suggests in "The $50 Knife Shop" and I can't get it any hotter, unless I switch to MAPP gas. I don't really want to do that, so I'm going to build a charcoal forge ala Tim Lively.

 

I see that Tim Lively uses a chunk of 4x4x14 mild steel set in a 5 gallon bucket of concrete. I'd think mild would be too soft for an anvil, but I guess it works.

 

I still think the cost of anvils is absurdly high, but I now know how valuable they are.

As i said ill get a pic of mine(when the rain finaly stops)and ill put it up,its really cheap to make,well if you have a welding maching,angle grinder and some lead.ill draw up plans if you want.i used it the other day when forging my welding rod damascus knife and on a sword im starting and for me it works beter than the big anvils i have at work.

Patients is the key to sucsess

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hi Brian

 

its kinda hard to work on the hammer technique if the anvil isn't solid.... .. ... and i believe that you know, the heart of the smithy is the anvil and fire... its just that simple..

 

i'd start putting the word out among anyone who'd listen that your lookin for an anvil... ( so far, the most i've spent is a max of 150 bucks for a mint shape pete W 125 and coal forge included )...

- just gotta be hungry to find it

 

oh... didja join the local blacksmith group... that goes a long way... trust me

 

check the ebay for steel drops... last year i picked up a 5inch round 5inch high for 25 bucks.... its h13

 

there has to be an industrial scrap yard around... show up there often... you'd be surprised how many post anvil you can make .... mild iron doesn't matter too much...if the face dings from a bad strike

just grind it flat and keep going.....its the weight underneath the hammer that matters the most !

 

 

 

think of it as a challenge... and the more resourceful you are, the quicker it'll get solved..... then you can get down to what really matters.... which is forging some steel and expressing your passion for blades

 

take care and don't be discouraged .... it'll get better if you stick with it ;)

 

Greg

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There is a gentlemen up my way (currently Ontario, Canada) who I spoke with while searching for a anvil. This gentlemen has a 250 pound and a 500 pound for sale. Which was interesting since I have only ever seen 150's. He explained to me to the difference made by using the big boys is incredible. That if you can afford one and have the space in the long run you will be a happy camper.

 

That said I'm having problems finding a railroad rail section.

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"5160, and several worn-out Nicholson files"

 

i made that mistake too. 1095 and 5160 are NOT friendly to people just starting. play with the 1070 until you get your strength up.

"Whats the point of women? I've got knives, they're just as pretty and I don't need to buy them dinner to get them out of their sheath"

http://omalleyblades.weebly.com/available-blades.html

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