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Giuseppe Maresca

wet forging

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I have read about japanese wet forging: can someone explain me this tecnique?

I understood it is used tu reduce the scales effect on hot steel, but exists a tecnique to reduce the oxidation during the forging?

I use a charcoal forge, instead then a propane one; maybe the old kind leave the steel more exposed to oxidation than the new...

thank you very much

Adamas

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to My knowledge, It works like this - you wet the anvil and hammer first, and as the anvil and hammer touches the hot steel- the water creates a small explosion of steam which knocks the scale off. After you return it to the fire, you re-wet your hammer and anvil. I use this technique sometimes, and find a squirt bottle next to the anvil is handy for it. (Especially when you get thirsty yourself)

 

Another thing to note about it is that alot of japanese smiths supposidly Raise the steel off the anvil, in between hammer blows to make it's heat last longer. After you strike and your hammer rebounds, you raise the steel off the anvil. As your hammer's coming back down again, so does your workpiece. Idealy, your workpiece makes contact with the anvil at the exact same time the hammer makes contact with the work piece. It can be difficult to get the coordination and timing down, but it's definately interesting, and does make your heats last a bit longer.

 

By the way - On a general note, propane forges CAN oxidize steel alot more than a charcoal forge, IF the propane forge isnt regulated well. I usually run My fires slightly rich on fuel to prevent most all oxidation.

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Brett, I judge you to be a keen observer of the craft.  

 

For an example of that type of rhythmic off anvil method, rent a copy of the Last Samurai and watch Yoshindo's brother forging during the few seconds that they actually let you see him work.  

 

Wet forging is a very efficient method to use.  The heartbreak of finding a big goober of scale/flux that you hammered into the billet and the leftover divot you can't grind out is too much.

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Very interesting...

I will try this tecnique the next time I forge.

Thank you very much

Adamas

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The wet forging works great for me. I love those pops and crackles when the steam blows the scale off! During heats I set my hammer head in a bucket with just enough water to cover the head. I keep a dipping brush made from a doubled over length of heavy manilla rope that has been tied together at the loop end for the handle with the rope fibers teased loose to form the brush end. This works great to dip water onto the anvil face. I learned this technique from Don at a hammer-in he demonstrated at. It's messy but works very well.

 

I haven't tried lifting the steel off the anvil between hammer blows. I've heard of it but it sounds like a technique that would take some time and much practice to learn to be truly effective. I will have to try it soon though however.

 

Mike, you mentioned Yoshindo's brother in The Last Samurai. I knew Yoshindo's brother was a sword smith as well but I wasn't aware that he was in the movie! I'll have to check that out again.

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Guest Tai
I've tried wet forging, but prefer "dry" techniques to remove scale. There are a number of things like brushes and scrapers that are fairly common. Other techniques include using "sharp faced" and textured hammers. Scale can also be removed by flexing the blade a couple times at a red heat or by tapping it along the edges. Heating the steel in a reducing/carburizing atmosphere is probably the most important. In this type of atmosphere no scale is formed. The steel only oxidizes a little when it is drawn out of the forge. A deep charcoal fire works well, but the best way is to throw wood chunks inside a gas forge with each heat. The blade will actually get coated with soot (carbon dust), while red hot, inside the forge chamber.

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I read about soot coating on blades on one of my old (1910) blacksmithing books. There was written that you can coat the clean surface of a blade heating it on a really dirty fuel, like petroleum, to avoid oxidation before the hardening.

I tried but this tecnique failed since at red heat the coat slowly disappeared.

Since you say it work I will try again the next time, but actually I haven't a gas forge, and my coal forge is open.

thank you

Adamas

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Guest Tai
Is it charcoal or coal/coke you are using? If you are using charcoal make a deep fire and try mixing in an additive like whole corn feed, nut shells, bean pods or wood chips.

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I use coke during hammering and charcoal after the first polishing, for the heat treatment. I don't use always charcoal since it burns too quikly.

I use always nut shells to start the fire.

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Guest Tai

What kind of nut shells do you have? I can get pecan shells close by and I have mesquite pods on my land. My experience with coal/coke just tells me to minimize the blast and keep the steel up away from the tuyere. It's a rich fire alright, but the propane/wood fire is even richer.

 

I like charcoal/wood for heat treating too. :)

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I have italian nut shells, that are very similar to pecan; here I can't find mesquite pods, but I have carobs pods and seems to be the same. Finally about everything is oil/fat rich is good to enrich the fire, maybe also olive stones?

In theory I know that if you have a 8 inches tall coke heap, from the tuyere to the top, the blade must stay about 5 0r 6 inches far from the tuyere, to minimize oxidation.

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I have italian nut shells, that are very similar to pecan; here I can't find mesquite pods, but I have carobs pods and seems to be the same. Finally about everything is oil/fat rich is good to enrich the fire, maybe also olive stones?

In theory I know that if you have a 8 inches tall coke heap, from the tuyere to the top, the blade must stay about 5 0r 6 inches far from the tuyere, to minimize oxidation.

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Guest Tai

Most people don't think that these types of additives will help a charcoal fire, because it's already a pile of pure carbon. The thing of it is, charcoal doesn't release much gas at all. After the coals cherry out there is hardly any flame. The additives release gas into the atmosphere which "shield" the steel better than the solid fuel.

 

Outside of forging with pure acetylene gas, a gas/wood or solid fuel/gas mixture is superior in minimizing oxidation. Acetylene is a great fuel, but too expensive to use on a regular basis. That’s another nice thing about using additives, it cuts the cost way down.

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several yrs ago mr fogg showed me how to wet forge

i find it invalueable when i,m working in gas

down side??

at the end of the day i,m standing in a mud puddle

harley

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I've never really done true wet forging, with the little explosion of steam knocking the scale off, but I do find that slopping water over the anvil is a good way of cleaning away scale from the previous hammering, and it keeps the anvil nice and clean.

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Tai, is fir wood good like pine wood or they are different?

Tomorrow I will burn charcoal and fir chunkles.

happy new year

Adamas

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Guest Tai
Every wood, ash and every charcoal is different. However, I think it would be safe to assume that softer woods all have certain similarities, like hardwoods. Hardwood charcoal tends to pop and spark more than pine, unless ample time is given to cherry out the coals in advance. Hardwoods tend to burn tight and hot, softer woods tend to burn more even.

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Thank you for the answer

I tried fir wood this morning and I appreciated it. It make a lot of fire and smell good. Is also less expensive (but less durable) than coke.

I tried also wet forging for the first time. Every hammer blow is a burst... Super ...and the blade seems "cleanest".

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