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Hello ladies and gentlemen,

This will be my first post and hopefully it will coincide with the posting rules and furthermore that it wont annoy anyone for these simple questions. I have read over the beginning posts and the rules to clarify so I have some basic understanding of what I am doing but I need a few things cleared up.

 

I'm a seventeen year-old wanna-be smith; I've had a passion for it since the earliest I can remember (when I was reading Tolkien and other fantasy books, with tales of smiths' making exceptional armor and swords and tools with such precision) and recently I have decided to invest myself into this interest instead of just sitting around on my ass.

 

This being said, I am completely lost in some facets of the beginning process; hopefully someone will be able to help out, now before I continue on I have searched for smithing schools' around my area and it's becoming increasingly noticeable that there is no one in my area (Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia). So there will be a low chance of getting any outside help from around here.

 

Onto tools and forges;

 

Forge: I have read that it is possible to make your own forge which sounds most applicable to me over buying a giant pre-made commercial forge, seeing as how I do not have the money to spend on overkill. On this topic I am a little confused about fuel, I have deduced that gas is the winner above coal and such but I am not entirely sure of the pro's and con's: if someone could link me to information or perhaps tell me, I would appreciate it immensely.

 

Anvil: The basic idea here is I have a giant wooden block as a base, and I have found myself a sturdy piece of rail-way track to place atop it, I have secured it with two chains bolted into the wood with brackets for extra security as well as adding some hooks for tools. I assume this will do, I will proceed to post an image of it in this thread when it is not so dark and/or rainy outside. More on that later.

 

Hammer: I am in need of information of hammers, I would like a sturdy all-round beginners tool that will allow for me to play around with all aspects and not be restricted to anything; I will likely upgrade and purchase more tools as I become more skilled over the years to come.

 

Steel: This is a hard one, I have been looking for distributors for steel around my area but not too many are still open with the steel-works closed down, but I do know of one or two, if anyone could give some detailed information on a good starting steel and how I might go about acquiring it, that too would be tremendously helpful.

 

Other Tools: Any information on drill-presses and basic tool kits would be helpful, I assume I will need more then just a hammer and files. As for protection I am looking for eye/hand protection. I already have OH&S approved steel-capped boots from tech-classes at school so it's just my other digits I need to keep safe.

 

Wow, this post is becoming rather large; sorry guys. It's not too much longer -- Now on the topics of books, I have already ordered a few of the recommended books, below is a list of the books I have on their way to my doorstep;

 

  • "The Complete Bladesmith", "The Master Bladesmith" and "The Patternwelded Blade" by Jim Hrisoulas
  • "The Craft of the Japanese Sword" by Yoshindo Yoshihara & Leonhard kapp
  • "Custom Knifemaking" by Tim McCreight

 

These seem to be a good place to start book-wise, again; any further recommendations would be nice. I'm always keen to learn new tricks and money for educational purposes isn't a problem with the parents. Other then all of that, I have some questions on assembling my own forge seeing as how the guide to do it that is linked on the beginners post is using non-Australian measurements I couldn't find much relevant material; I'll probably get to that another time.

 

Warmest Regards,

Arden Anaman.

Edited by Anaman
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Hey,

 

Welcome to one the worlds most addictive past times :D, Its good you have been looking into everything, here are alot more smiths in Australian than ya think there are, I just dont have a list personally of the ones closer to you.

 

Anvil: As far as an anvil goes a railroad track works just fine until you decide to upgrade, lots of folks start on them.

 

Hammers: Any Hammer will do but a basic Ball Pein 2-3 pounder is a good start and easy on the arm.

 

Forge: There are alot of plans on the net and fine examples on this site of homemade forges.

 

Steel: A few places for steel come to mind, Kelly Couples at Ellis knifeworks, The NJ steel Baron, and ugh Admiral steel. All 3 can be found using a search engine. As far as practicing shaping you can use a mild steel which is more forgiving than higher carbon steel to practice on.

 

But the books you have coming and there is another called the 50 dollar knifesmith I think is the title all are excellent books for information including tools and stuff. You can get started with the bare minimum of tools really.

Quote

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

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Hopefully Dee will chime in here and help you find a steel distributer and other suppliers there down under. She's located up in the Pirth area. The books that you have are good, especially Dr. Hrisoulas's. It sound like you are wanting to jump in whole hog. Do yourself a favor and slow down. Forget about pattern welding for now; you will have enough to do just learning how to make a blade and turn it into a knife. Also start small and work your way up as you increase in skill. The longer a blade is, the harder that it is to keep straight. Another thing that that can be used as an anvil is a chunk of steel about 7.5 to 10cm square in cross section and 30cm long or so. Set it on it's end in a bucket of concreat. Tongs are something that you either need to make or buy. The handles on pliars just aren't long enough to keep your hands away from the fire. A welding glove for your tong hand will increase your comfort and let you know that things are too hot with enough time to prevent a bad burn. A pair of welding gloves are good for when you're heat treating but I wouldn't wear a glove on my hammer hand. It will rob you of control.

 

Doug Lester

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

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Yes, ordering steel from the guys in the U.S. is likely to be prohibitively expensive. Hopefully someone from Oz will check in with more local suggestions.

 

As far as hand protection, it's between your ears. Seriously, although there may be times when it's appropriate to wear gloves while forging and finishing a blade (there are some strong differences of opinion about this), most folks I know do most of their work bare-handed. There are some pros to gloves, but also some genuine cons.

 

Google will convert metric to English measurements, and vice versa. Just search "convert [x] inches to mm," where x is the English measurement that you want to convert. Works for just about any standard unit of measurement. (You can actually skip "convert" if you want to, and just type "[x] inches to mm," for example.)

Edited by Matt Bower
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Hopefully Dee will chime in here and help you find a steel distributer and other suppliers there down under. She's located up in the Pirth area. The books that you have are good, especially Dr. Hrisoulas's. It sound like you are wanting to jump in whole hog. Do yourself a favor and slow down. Forget about pattern welding for now; you will have enough to do just learning how to make a blade and turn it into a knife. Also start small and work your way up as you increase in skill. The longer a blade is, the harder that it is to keep straight. Another thing that that can be used as an anvil is a chunk of steel about 7.5 to 10cm square in cross section and 30cm long or so. Set it on it's end in a bucket of concreat. Tongs are something that you either need to make or buy. The handles on pliars just aren't long enough to keep your hands away from the fire. A welding glove for your tong hand will increase your comfort and let you know that things are too hot with enough time to prevent a bad burn. A pair of welding gloves are good for when you're heat treating but I wouldn't wear a glove on my hammer hand. It will rob you of control.

 

Doug Lester

the place i think you mean is PERTH WA only 4,500 klm away from NSW

Terence.........(today started off perfect now --- watch sombody come and stuff it up ]

 

if it aint broke dont fix it

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Yes, ordering steel from the guys in the U.S. is likely to be prohibitively expensive. Hopefully someone from Oz will check in with more local suggestions.

 

As far as hand protection, it's between your ears. Seriously, although there may be times when it's appropriate to wear gloves while forging and finishing a blade (there are some strong differences of opinion about this), most folks I know do most of their work bare-handed. There are some pros to gloves, but also some genuine cons.

 

Google will convert metric to English measurements, and vice versa. Just search "convert [x] inches to mm," where x is the English measurement that you want to convert. Works for just about any standard unit of measurement. (You can actually skip "convert" if you want to, and just type "[x] inches to mm," for example.)

 

stuff in aussie is sold in metric and at he's age he would only work in metric feet and inches has be out of date for yrs in aussie mate

Terence.........(today started off perfect now --- watch sombody come and stuff it up ]

 

if it aint broke dont fix it

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Tell, thanks for the correction on the spelling, never my strong suit. I doubt that you're a cute as Dee, but you'll probably do for the problem at hand. Thanks for giving the new guy a hand.

 

Doug Lester

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

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A quick thanks to everyone who has provided information in this thread before I get down to specifics;

 

WmHorus: Cheers mate, all of that was really helpful I found a fair deal of information on the steel distributors and the info on the tools also helped. Thanks a ton. As for the book recommendation; I'll look into it.

 

Doug: Another excellent post, and I totally agree with the slow and steady mentality; the only reason I got all the books was the free shipping on certain orders and also that it would save me time later, plus it's nice to have the set, as for the common sense part this makes a lot of sense and I will look into the gloves, I just don't want to see my ability to forge slip down the drain via an accident involving my hands being disintegrated. I'm not sure who Dee is but hopefully she will indeed chime in and I await this.

 

Matt: Hey mate, thanks for the conversion info -- I totally forgot about that. On the topic of ordering from the US, the shipping is murder as well as the conversion rate; my wallet is already burnt from forge material savings. With the glove info, I will look into it a little more; I'll likely have a pair somewhere.

 

Tell: Cheers mate, will do; will most likely send you a line sometime in the near future.

 

-Arden

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For a forge the simplest you can go is a hole dug in the ground and a pipe to supply air and then something to create the flow of air (old hair dryers work great)

 

Go with charcoal to start out as it's so simple, you can even just make a wood fire and burn it into charcoal if none is available, or just make it yourself.

 

Can also look up the Tim Lively Washtub forge and adapt it as needed, it's what I started out with.

Beau Erwin

www.ErwinKnives.com

Custom knives

Bcarta Composites

Stabilized Woods

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Arden,

Welcome , I think one of the best things you could do is get yourself to a workshop/demonstration .. Doesn't sound like you guys have as many down there as we do here in the states so finding another bladesmith or even just a smith in general would be a good place to begin as well.. To see it all in real life is much easier to understand than thru reading .

 

And then there is trial by fire.biggrin.gif The only way we all have learned... Don't be afraid to jump in and make some mistakes... mistakes are the only way I have really learned what not to do...We have a great bunch of helpers here on this forum that won't make fun of you (We don't allow that on this forum) so don't be afraid to show your mistakes not only so someone can chime in to make a suggestion but also cause we all learn from each others mistakes ...

 

Edgar makes a good point... you could be forging by the end of today with his suggestion... probably the lest exspensive way to try it out... dive in and get you feet wet.. you will find your way as you go... The point is now to get a piece of steel to yellow heat and hammer it.... be careful of gripping the hammer too tight.... this happens mostly when your arm gets tired and you start to lose control and so grip the hammer even tighter to compensate . that will led you to keep swinging as the hammer hits the steel . the hammer will stop but you arm mussels are still swinging and will rip . Most of us have learned this the hard waycool.gif.... when you arm gets tired its time to quit for a while.. you don't need tool steel for your first time forging... any mild steel will do just to get used to heating and beating some steel to get the feel for what it is going to take for you to do this... and again ,Welcome

 

Dick

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"We have a great bunch of helpers here on this forum that won't make fun of you (We don't allow that on this forum) so don't be afraid to show your mistakes not only so someone can chime in to make a suggestion but also cause we all learn from each others mistakes ..."

 

there's probably a good chance a lot of us have made the same ones as well =P

 

"any mild steel will do just to get used to heating and beating some steel to get the feel for what it is going to take for you to do this... and again ,Welcome"

 

But if you make something you like then it won't harden =[ so better to use some tool steel if you have it.

Beau Erwin

www.ErwinKnives.com

Custom knives

Bcarta Composites

Stabilized Woods

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Gday Anaman,

Good to see another Aussie on here. If i were you i would try and contact Keith Fludder at www.knifemaker.com.au and see if you can do one of his weekend bladesmithing courses. He is just south of Sydney at Tahmoor. A top bloke who has a wealth of knowledge and has been forging blades for over 15 yrs in many different styles. You will learn more than enough in that weekend to set you on the right path.

Im over in Perth but if ya ever want to chat or discuss anything send me a PM and i would be only too happy to help ya out.

 

Cheers Bruce

Barnett Custom Knives

www.barnettcustomknives.com

 

Australian Knifemakers Guild Secretary/Treasurer

American Bladesmith Society Apprentice

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I'm not sure who Dee is

 

thats ok .. i am never sure who i am either.

.. sorry for my non-responding-ness ...

:)

 

first off, welcome to the forums.

you've come to the right place.

 

as has been said, im over in Perth .. so thats rather little help to you.

but if you have any questions or some such .. feel free to post them up here or pm/email me.

 

as for suppliers .. this is where you might find yourself banging your head against the wall a bit.

its not so simple as just popping down to the local store to pick some stuff up.

but, i would agree with what has been said in that you do not really want to be wasting your time and effort on mild steel.

 

you might try contacting Mr Shawn McIntyre .. he is an ABS MasterSmith over in Vic.

he might be able to help you in terms of some suppliers closer to where you are.

 

or you can just go with the sensible method and order in some steel from the US .. the NJ steel baron is your best bet imho.

 

worst comes to worst, go down to your local spring makers and have a chat with them.

they will more than likely sell you some SUP9 steel without too much grief .. or they will point you to their scrap bin and tell you to dig away.

its at least hardenable and will give you a better feel for forging etc.

 

forge - this largely depends on your skills and equipment at hand.

i use gas .. but it can be a bit of an expense getting the stuff together for a gas forge .. not to mention that there are regulations in oz set in place so that you have to get all gas forges and furnaces inspected and made to a certain specification .. so as not to blow yourself up.

if you arent too handy with the tools involved, then i would suggest starting with a charcoal forge and then going from there.

some of the typical blown forges are nothing more than a dish of metal and a hairdryer.. and they will give you more than enough heat to forge out a piece of metal.

 

anvil - sounds like you have a better anvil than what i started with, thats for sure.

:)

and its certainly better than a log splitter stuck into a block of wood .. ;)

 

hammer - a ball pien hammer from bunnings will probably be your best bet .. they arent too horribly priced and fairly sturdy... in fact they tend to be a bit toooo strudy for my liking .. so get a file and thin down the handle near its neck to take away some of the transference of shock.

 

other stuff - safety!!! .. there isnt much in the list of tools, equipment or supplies of the arsenal of a bladesmiths workshop that wont kill you, maim you, disfigure you or poison you.

its a good way to know if you are onto a new thing ...

take a look at the warning signs .. if they are big, bright and tell you that you are fool to use it - it probably has some use within your workshop.

;)

 

so make sure that you really armour yourself.

 

as for other things that you need ..

really, the only thing you need to chase down is a file and some sand paper ..

 

hopefully that answers some of your questions and probably provokes a list of others along with it.

happy to help, so fire away if you so need.

:)

deeDWF4.jpg

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If you want a good pic of Dee go on down to Firey Beards and click on her post :P . If you want a good look at her work follow the link to her site. Of course, her avitar isn't bad.

 

Doug Lester

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

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Steel: This is a hard one, I have been looking for distributors for steel around my area but not too many are still open with the steel-works closed down, but I do know of one or two, if anyone could give some detailed information on a good starting steel and how I might go about acquiring it, that too would be tremendously helpful.

 

 

You could always go the junkyard route like so many others have. Automotive leaf and coil springs are usually very good (5160). Hit up your local trunk spring shop for cutoffs, they will even tell you what king of steel it is. Bearing suppliers often have a bin of old races, and they are usually 52100. Bed frame steel - the angle iron looking stuff - acts like it's 1075, but I've never had any tested. Rebar is chancy, but I've made a couple of great utility knives out of it. It seems to water harden nicely.

 

Just remember to test a piece by hardening and checking to see if a file "skates" on it before you pour a huge amount of time into making a blade out of it.

If anything looks easy, it's because a professional is doing it.

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