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Looking to start out with little to no experience


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Like I said in the title, I have little to no experience in this field, but this stuff really interests me and I'd like to start doing it. So I have the book Wayne Goddard's 50$ Knife Shop and I'd like to see if I could get a small workplace going with 100-120$ if possible. I have next to nothing at the moment, I have a workbench and a vise and that's about it. I need to know what tools are necessary, how to make or where to buy a good forge, and all that. I've asked this somewhere else and someone recommended this belt sander http://www.harborfreight.com/1-in-x-30-in-belt-sander-60543.html . It is on sale for 40$ which is good. Is this a good purchase? What else do I need? Help is much appreciated!

 

Thanks in advance,

-Josh

Edited by JoshDiMillo
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I think a lot of people have bought that and it sits somewhere under the bench today. Go the files and sandpaper route to start. Save some money and get a Craftsmans 2x42 to start. Then if you decide this is for you then buy a 2x72. Move the 2x42 to the clean side of the shop for leather work. You can build a forge using an empty freon tank. For an anvil a 4x4x18" piece of scrap steel from the junk yard buried in a 5 gallon bucket of sand will work.

 

Look around the forum and you will find a lot of ideas.

 

We all started knowing nothing. Ask questions everyone here will give you answers. The group is very friendly.

 

Ps: it will take more like $200 to start, and hundreds more as you become hooked for life.

Edited by GBrackett
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An old sledgehammer head threade through the eye with a strap to a stump served me well for months until I got a good anvil. Unless if you're going charcoal, buy a good, as large as possible, propane torch with a hose and adaptor for a large propane tank. You can use it for soldering, tempering, and of course a forge.

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Josh everyone has different ideas about forges, gas works out cheaper, especialy if you're just starting out, it heats up quickly, is clean, doesn't smell and you don't have smoke to worry about! Mine is very efficient, a large fridge compressor tank, some pipe and a cheap hair dryer, it also shuts off as soon as you turn the gas off! So there is little wasting of fuel... In Wayne's book you should see his 'little dragon breath' forge, easy to make from scrap and mine's still going after 15 years!

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My main concern with a gas forge is if something going wrong and it ends up in some sort of explosion. After watching some video's I see a lot of people use those blowtorch type things for their homemade forges. I just want to make sure im handling everything properly and that I dont screw something up. This is really my first time doing stuff like this so I feel like the chance of me messing something up is higher. I dont know really,

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Josh it's as safe as a propane gas BBQ. I had the same issues with it in my mind when I started. I used my coal forge for about a week. Used up all the coal I had. Being in South Florida coal is not easy to get so, I turned to gas. It's been two years since I used the coal forges (I have 2 of them) Bought my first gas forge and I have built 3 more with friends. I am currently building a vertical blown forge for myself.

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You can use a large coffee can or an empty freon tank. I get my freon tanks from an A/C contractor friend for free. Use a torch as a burner, not the best setup but it works.

 

Read this and look at the photos.:

http://www.zoellerforge.com/coffee.html

 

Search Google and YouTube, a lot of DIY on both of them.

 

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Edited by GBrackett
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Josh, gas forges are not that dangerous if you treat them right. You can build or buy a venturi forge or just the burner and build the forge body. To build a venturi burner from parts you will need to be able to drill and tap accurately which, besides the correct size of drills and taps, would probably require a drill press. Blown burners are easier to build but you will, as the name implies, get a blower large enough to put out the air that you need. The forge body would be the same as with a venturi burner.

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Both of the above forges have home made blown burners. Most of the parts are available from hardware stores. I had to get the needle valve, used to regulate gas flow, from High Temperature Tools and Refractory as the ones that I found at the hardware stores were for water lines. The big one built in a mailbox is lined with three inches of 1" ceramic matting and coated with a castable refractory known as Mizzou. The smaller one is cast from a castable refractory, this time I ordered Cast-O-Lite. The "doors" are from an insulating board. All can be had from the above supplier or other suppliers that can be found on the net.

 

A charcoal forge can be built in a galvanized tub that has been lined with an adobe made from cheap clay cat litter, some sand, and some hay or straw. For charcoal you will want to have about 6" of fire under your work and two inches over it. Getting an even heat is a little harder with charcoal forges than gas forges. You will also spend about as much time tending the fire as forging. I used to forge with charcoal and I'll have to admit that I do miss it a little just not enough to go back to it.

 

Let us know what you think that you'll want to try and we'll give you some tips.

 

One caution, regardless of the type or forge you get, except for electric induction forges, make sure that you have plenty of ventilation. These things really put out carbon monoxide. The electric units are beyond making your own and are pricey. About 8-10 years ago there was a maker who attempted to build a unit for himself. He never go around the problem of killing the TV reception in the neighborhood.

 

Doug

 

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Honestly, I'd just like to get the simplest gas forge I can get. My funds are somewhat limited and I'd rather just start off with something small and easy to build for my first forge. I've seen some videos of really small and simple forges and I'd like to know how to make some of those.

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http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=17294

 

When I first started experimenting I used something like this. Though I have to admit the one in the thread is much nicer than what I built. I made do with it for a few months, but as my interest picked up I moved to something a bit larger that runs off a large propane tank, the little guys add up quickly and they freeze up after too long.

 

Adam

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Josh,

 

At the risk of sounding brusque, I would suggest that you spend some time reading the Wayne Goddard book you own. All the questions you are asking are answered in the book. "The simplest gas forge I can get" is found right there in that book. Wayne's little propane forge is as simple and cheap as it gets.

 

Patience is the most vital attribute of a bladesmith. Be patient; research your answers by reading the texts, combing through the forum, etc. The search for quick answers is a symptom of a lack of patience, and no one ever made a good blade or enjoyed the process of making it by being impatient.

 

Sorry to lecture.

 

Luck in the quest.

 

Dave

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Yeah when I first started looking into bladesmithing I noticed it requires patience. I have some level of patience but it definitely isn't a strength of mine. Patience is a good quality to have, I was hoping to develop it by doing bladesmithing since I find it interesting anyways. Since last night I've been reading more of Wayne Goddards book. I think I might try to make his, my only concern is where I can find the right materials. Also, I want to make sure I build it properly (which I might need help with).

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Josh, when people see you try & care, they almosts always will help you. Glad to see you have a postive attitude and PM if I can help. I'm around most of the time when not in the shop.

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Those insulating blocks can be found at pottery shops that also sell kilns plus they can be had at High Temperature Tools and Refractory. You may be able to get insulating ceramic matting, Ins-Wool is one product, at the same places if you want to build a coffee can forge.

 

Doug

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Firebrick is what you want. Normal brick breaks when it gets too hot. I have seen the modern brick with holes and the older style solid bricks both break after getting too hot. I would definitely suggest not wasting time with brick. I would also do as it was already suggested and read through your book. All this information and then some is in that book.

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http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=17294

 

When I first started experimenting I used something like this. Though I have to admit the one in the thread is much nicer than what I built. I made do with it for a few months, but as my interest picked up I moved to something a bit larger that runs off a large propane tank, the little guys add up quickly and they freeze up after too long.

 

Adam

Josh, you are just starting out, low budget, don't even know yet if this is really for you. Build this one, get some confidance going. Then if you really take to bladesmithing graduate to something better. Keep your life simple for now. Besides paint cans are cheap, if you mess up start over. Edited by GBrackett
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Josh, what I'm basically saying is jump in the water is good. Either one you build will start you on a path of no return. Time to get your feet wet. Bladesmithing is a great, and fun thing to do. If you get fire brick build a 2 brick unit. I do 90% of my forging in one on a stand.image0001.jpg

Edited by GBrackett
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I find the volume of the cavity and the way you can shape it to give a more even heat. My cavity is 3.25x2.25" and the walls are thicker. I built one with a friend and we wrapped it with bailing wire, set on a large cookie pan on top of 3 more bricks. Coated it with Bubble Alumina Refractory Coating. Been a year and its still going. He uses a weed burner connected to a propane bottle. I like the freon bottle ones because you have a metal shell to protect the forge when you move it.

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