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Hello all from North Carolina!


This is my first entry to Bladesmiths Forum. I am a beginner and am working diligently to create my forge so i can start learning the Art of blacksmithing.


Im 29, and have a LONG road ahead of me to learn this ancient art, but i thought you guys might want to see what kind of stuff i like to do..


Its rough..i know..please dont be too harsh..haha




The metal used is Plain steel bar stock from Home Depot, the guard and pommel are from a old furniture bit a neighbor was cutting up, and the wrap is "magic tape" over crude oak slabs and copper pins. The beads are hand ground deer antler with a antler tip on one over leather.


Me and the wife call this "Pheonix"..you know the story..


I work on my front porch with a small drill vise and occasionally i get to use the neighbors workshop until i can put my forge together..


I have a anvil made of a old bit of railroad and ill be upgrading as funds permit to allow better projects..any help is appreciated..lol



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Here is the original design, i wasnt happy with the handle, and for lack of tools, this was all i could get with files..the grinder is not your friend when it is unbalanced..lol




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Its a good start!

But if you don't mind me giving advise I would have concentrated on the bevels more, you can still fix them. Take a good metalworking file and keep filing at about a 30 degree angle on each edge with intent to bring the bevels back, it wont cut with bad bevels no matter how fine the edge.

And the steel you get from your hardware store will always be a low carbon or mild steel, for welding, though its probably ok if you are practicing(good steel gets expensive). And though cutouts in the blade can maybe look good, they are rather disruptive in the structure of the steel and can weaken the blade.


I can definitely say my first dagger could have been its twin :P, we all start from somewhere, cant wait to see more and welcome to the journey B).

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Eric, if I may, what did you learn from this project? Before I learned anything about steel, I made my first few out of mild hardware store stuff. As Karter said, we all start somewhere... As you get more comfortable, and your skills develop, I would recommend a bevel.that is a little larger. If this.were hardened, it would give you fits.trying to cut with, as well as sharpening.

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Thank you all for replying to this post first off..


The dagger was originally intended to become something else of course, and became this in the end..lol


I have learned however that power tools although useful can be very disruptive to the metal if unbalanced by any means..


I also learned that the slabs are much more difficult to make without proper tools..


This design used the following tools, and unfortunately it shows


1.Cut Off Saw

2.Nicholson Bastard File

3.Hack Saw

4.Drill Vise on my front porch step

5.2 3" C-Clamps

6.Old Grinder with a coarse wheel (unbalanced and quite jerry-rigged) and a Wire wheel (ditto)

7.Copper Wire

8.Flooring samples from Home Depot


I have learned that the proper tools and skill in using said tools is critical..the design was made to look like it has a edge, but doesn't...it was made to be a Athame for myself as Ebay doesn't offer quality designs that have been one-off or hand made..


I have since this project made a few more little knick knack designs, but so far the results are less then desireable..


I have found myself a 1 1/2 ft bit of railroad that ill use as a makeshift anvil until i can afford one from harbor freight and ill be constructing my first coal forge this week..


any help or tips or anything is welcome, im open to criticism and willing to learn more everyday :-)


Blessed Be!!

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I wouldn't but a HF anvil either but their angle grinders are cheap and they're a start until you can get a better one, and they cut down on all the filing. Welcome to the forum. Be warned it can be a consuming hobby.

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I've used a piece of railway line as an anvil for many years, and it works well enough! I'll show you a few tools you can make yourself (basic belt grinder etc.) Mail me at milesikisu@gmail.com and don't loose heart! The rewards of perseverance are great!

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wow, i took a little while away so i could come back to see replies and WOW..




The Bit of Rail has been formed into a anvil through some trading locally, pics coming soon!


I traded for a half of a old Wrecking ball and as we speak it is being welded to some legs and the piping is being run to it for a hair dryer..


i have now collected some punches and chisels,and have a stand to work from for the anvil, the forge will stand up at waist level as well..


You guys are awesome! I look forward to posting pics of this eithier later today or tommorrow!

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and in regards to the HF anvil..


I have learned about the infamous ASO.."anvil shaped object", and wont be wasting precious funds on one of those..lol


however tho..the angle grinders are good enough for what i need, and ill be procuring one soon as funds allow..

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Don't fret the grinder. There's a million things you can do with nothing more than hand tools.


The key to making quality stuff (any stuff) is simply to take your time and remember that the greatest works of art were made with tools far inferior to what you can buy at the average flea market. You can make wonderful pattern-welded swords in your back yard with hardly kit at all. The vikings used stones as anvils. They used "crude" bellows made from skin sacks to feed a forge made from nothing more than a hole in the ground.


Patience, Imagination, Perseverance.

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Today has been a glorious day my friends..the Anvil was completed, and the forge is only missing a blower!!


Tommorrow, i forge my first bit!!


You guys inspired me..pics coming soon

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Don't buy the harbor freight anvil. I own one. If you are near, I will give it to you. They are better than rr track, though. At least, it was better than the rr track I had. Mostly because it had a flat face, but also better energy return.


Still crap, but better than no anvil.


Good first try. Even better, the confidence in yourself to post it and the humility to listen and learn from these folks here. We have all been there. For me, listening to these guys has been great. Also, just putting pics up and looking at them provides a different context and lets you see things you would not otherwise see.


Welcome! Great start. We are all in the continual process of development and refinement. That's just part of it. Makes it fun, too.


looking forward to seeing more work.


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is official..i would like to thank everyone involved, my neighbor

Chris, a few "good ol boys", my wife for her patience and understanding,

and my kids for wanting daddy to be happy..


I present to you folks my forge..I dub Thee..Shadow Forge



The Anvil was Created using a bit of Old Rail, the Forge was created

using half of a Wrecking Ball and my own design of Rebar and a Huge

washer modified to create the stand..all parts were salvage metal so no

carbon footprint from buying new..the hammer was a gift, and that little

railroad spike will be the first piece that i work on..


Thank you to all who have inquired about this, i am on my path to becoming a blacksmith..one step at a time..






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That's a neat, portable-looking forge setup. You may want to replace that elbow right under the grate with a tee connector with a long nipple and cap pointing down. It's just to let fine debris fall into and dump is occasionally. There ways that are easier to dump, but they require a little more work and can be done later.


Your anvil also looks a little high for normal forge work. The old lore is that when you stand straight, your knuckles should touch the top of the anvil. Some smiths like it at the middle of the back of their hand. You could set up your rusty rail vertically in a stump like in this article.

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Derek, your link has taught me more in the few minutes i have spent reading, then the culmination of my learning thus far..


Thank you so much for this link and for the ideas for improving my "portable forge" (you picked up on my idea right off the bat!).


The problem i have run into is that i don't have the proper fittings for this idea, it is a bunch of fittings put together from a scrap tote my neighbor keeps around for odd projects..fortunately i have set it up to where i can disassemble it if needed and much so to that fact as ashes build up in it rather quickly..


I plan to add to this idea by placing a plate over the original holes to redirect airflow more..the actual "bloom" of flame is only about 3 inches around..forcing me to keep the metal on direct center.


The sheer amount of oak lump coal that i use is astounding..but gets the job done for now..the coals glow with a green/white flame when the dryer is turned on..and a ton of what we call "fire sprites" fly around on the initial turn on of the fan..which is REALLY cool to watch..


The hammer im using is a 2 1/2 pound with a chisel end..but still seems to be a bit much to be controllable..either due to the length of the handle or a combination of weight vs length..im searching for a smaller hammer that i can control better as we speak..


Thank you once again for all your help..hopefully i can learn more after this post :-)


PS. sorry for the book..

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I believe you are absolutely correct in that matter Richard, the 2 1/2 pound hammer im using is way too bulky for my liking, im considering switching to a ball peen in the 24-36oz range..the question is that with technology making these hammers with new materials, is wood the correct option for the handle? i have seen so many hammers with composite handles that are more comfortable and take alot of recoil out of the hit..is this a viable solution or do wood handles have aspects that cater more to what we do?

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Your set up is coming along nicely, as to hammers, a ball pein's not the best, I' go for a rectangular with a chisel shape on rear...but you can never ha enough hammers, maybe someone with a good selection can post a pic?

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looks like your on a roll to Me!!! cool looking first dag!

its all about time...............................................

heres a tip on RR spike , the high carbon one usely have a HC on the head

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ok, update..


just tried making another dagger..a FORGED one this time..used the anvil a bit..and then the 1/4'' plate bowed up and off the anvil..


(Disclaimer: im a Army Veteran and still have the anger associated with it..)



SO..after a few choice words between me..and god..and the anvil..and the grass..and whatever else i looked at..


i hit the remaining plate on the anvil and it went CRACK..the 1/4 inch plate flew off and was met with a smaller hammer when it hit the ground from a distance..i feel better now..


so now what? use whats left? there are HUGE gouges from the weld popping off..

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You may recall from your forge build thread I suggested not having a plate welded to the rail. Any weld besides a full-face forge weld just can't stand up to hammering. Rails are a nice work-hardening high carbon steel as it is. I'd just grind the sucker flat and call it good.

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The most important thing to remember is that you should never be discouraged when something goes wrong. It was a learning experience. Keep using what you have, maybe vertically mount that other rail and keep the other one for a hold out or just for doing bends.


You could just use the rusty one as is, but make a better mount. What you have is covered with welds waiting to pop. Keep in mind that when you hit something on the anvil that force goes into the ground. You want to make sure that there is a good straight line with all critical components taking the force straight on. As a loose rule of thumb, it should be able to stack together without welds or nails without falling apart. If it passes this test, weld it or nail it up. I've seen stacked 2x4s, stumps, boxes(that specifically fit the base of the anvil), and what amounts to a steel stool. (Don't build something that will fall on you. A wide or buried base is a must.)


My suggestion is to mount it upright, and be creative about it. Mostly I encourage you to keep at it. Do whatever you can to get back in the game.

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