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So many of my questions, I doubt you can answer them all...


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There is a lot I wanted to ask about, so I'll keep it short and too the point. Basically, I'm a newcommer in the bladesmithing hobby who has more ideas and thoughts than are good for him. Just so no one starts attacking me with their knives yet, here are the questions that seem at least somewhat to make sense:

  • What is the difference in forging knives and forging swords? Do we use a different type of steel, is it file vs. hammer, does legnth and amount come into effect? Why is it suggested that I start out with knives rather than swords?
  • Can we make ballistic knives? Throwing knives? Poisoned filled weapons?
  • What type of swords do you make, which ones are more popular than the others, which ones perform the best (weight, legnth, appearence)
  • Can I put a little bit of fiber optic through the sword to make it look better, and how will it effect performance?
  • Halberds? Spears? Axes? Weapons with blades at both ends? How?
  • Could I make a weapon out of something non-metal like plastic? Could I replace certain parts of the wepon?
  • What regulations did you commonly find when you made these forges? What rules on where could you place it, what type of fuel to use, what protection it needs? How does it change in a urban area?
  • What shape is the best (based on end product) in your forge? What types of fuel show the least amount of smoke (specific brands please).
  • Which blades are the lightest? How could you tint the colour of a weapon to make it look, for example, blue? How does it effect performance?

Thanks in advance, Sagun Singh.

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Welcome on board!

 

You seem to like research. I recommend you search the forum for the basic answers. Then as you progress you will be better prepared to understand the answers. Bladesmiths forge steel. Not much plastic. I have used a 3D printer to model a couple of my designs.

 

How about an intro about you and your vision of bladesmithing. We would like to get to know you a bit.

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  • What is the difference in forging knives and forging swords? Do

    we use a different type of steel, is it file vs. hammer, does legnth and

    amount come into effect? Why is it suggested that I start out with

    knives rather than swords? Knife'll take a month, sword a year. Depends your ambitions, but basically it's better to first practice building a dog house before you make a house for humans.

  • Can we make ballistic knives? Throwing knives? Poisoned filled weapons? Laws differ all over. Check the state then county laws
  • What type of swords do you make, which ones are more popular than

    the others, which ones perform the best (weight, legnth, appearence) All depends on personal preference. So far the Katana and the Ulfberht, seem the most popular types, most bladesmiths here like norse swords. Katana'll take off a head, but y'aint gonna do nothing against chain mail

  • Can I put a little bit of fiber optic through the sword to make it look better, and how will it effect performance? Never heard of doing that
  • Halberds? Spears? Axes? Weapons with blades at both ends? How? That's pretty ambitious wait until your daggers are perfect, then do hatchets, and then upgrade to uber-spears.
  • Could I make a weapon out of something non-metal like plastic? Could I replace certain parts of the wepon? Wood handle of course, but really metals are the only efficient things for sharpened blades.
  • What regulations did you commonly find when you made these forges?

    What rules on where could you place it, what type of fuel to use, what

    protection it needs? How does it change in a urban area? You mean laws? I've heard of very little problems with that. If it don't stink, don't kill, and don't make noise you're fine.

  • What shape is the best (based on end product) in your forge? What

    types of fuel show the least amount of smoke (specific brands please). For solid fuel (what you're looking at) can't help there

  • Which blades are the lightest? How could you tint the colour of a

    weapon to make it look, for example, blue? How does it effect

    performance? Lightest weight, depends all on the geometry. Dirks maybe. As for coloring, look up heat treating basics. Lots and lots of reading to go here, also will include the heat coloring.

So yeah pretty much a newbie here too but hoped that helped a bit.

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

 

I suggest you spend a few hours reading through the archives. Your questions are either answered in previous posts, or the context you derive from reading will show you why the question doesn't quite make sense. For example your fiber optic question seems a bit like asking if you can use cottage cheese to fuel a jet ski. I don't know where to start an attempt at an answer.

 

This craft is one that rewards patience. There are no quick and easy answers, and no shortcuts to produce quality work. Patience and persistence are required not only in the forge, but also in the research you do before you enter the smithy.

 

Please be assured this is a very polite and welcoming forum, and we truly enjoy newcomers to the craft. However, it's considered polite to read first, and ask questions later.

 

Luck in the quest!

 

Dave

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Welcome to the forum, you seem very enthusiastic to say the least. Which is good, and understandable. Like Dave said, as a rule of thumb you should apply due diligence when looking for answers by researching the topics on the forum. There is a ton of knowledge here if you just look. If you can't find an answer anywhere, then you should definitely ask. And don't take this in a negative way, we are glad to have new members interested in the art of bladesmithing. This is by far the best forum on the interwebs for this subject.

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I second what Dave said, he really hit it on the head.

As far as your questions, you can basically make anything you have the imagination and skill to make, be sure not to make anything illegal though.

You'll definitely want to start with knives rather than swords, all of the geometry, proportions, balance, and size make them much more difficult to craft, that question would be like asking a mechanic if it is easier to build a go-kart or a race car, it just doesn't compare.

Which swords preform the best? Well, how long is a perfect piece of a string? All real/historical swords were designed for their time era and intended use, some swords needed to be pointer to penetrate chain maille, some swords need to be wieldable with one hand so you can use a shield, some swords need to be long and curved to use from horseback. The list goes on and on, swords were made to preform well under their specific use.

Edited by Collin Miller
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Thank you all. Looking back at my post, it seems a bit overexcited. (I looked for a delete button forever), so apologies all around. Sorry.

 

Not sure if this is the right place to put it, but heres an introduction (mercifully short) to me. I'm currently 14, live in a rather sleepy part of the Bronx in New York City (raised eyebrows from the guys in Minnesota), and I do everything from reading to CG art.

 

Long story short, I thought it would be cool if I made a sword out of wood as a side project, to take a break from everything else. That didn’t go well, so I tried adapting something from a Walter Sorrells project. When that didn’t go as planned, I found this site.


As for the research, I did look into a few videos on youtube about bladesmithing. Those questions above were rather impulsive, and I’ll be sure to think before posting next time. (Wince). My main problem with smithing is the forge.

  1. I know there are two shapes of forge, but I don’t remember the difference between them (and I can’t find anything online).
  2. I need a smokeless fuel too, because I can’t let my mother see a fire happening in the back yard. Charcoal and propane were suggested to me.
  3. And least but no last, I would like to know which material to make the forge out of. Something made of steel, a blowdryer and a bit of pipe was suggested, but I’ve also seen horizontal forges started out with “cinder blocks”.
  4. And which type of electric blower would I need? Would a common household blow dryer do? Or is there a specific type of blower that I can get? (Referring to a post by Doug Lester : You will need one for continuous use that puts out at least 60 cfpm. You might even be able to scrounge one for free from something like an old dryer.)
  5. Another item was anvils. Both the London and German pattern style anvils were suggested to me. People have more of a preference for German anvils it seems, but I'm more concerned about getting something set up quickly, so I plan to take whatever comes my way first. I know how to tell the difference between a steel vs cast iron face anvil, but is there any other factors I have to look out for, like rusting or heat damge or age?
  6. And finally, steel. I'm not sure what series of steel to start out with, though the begginers guide said "10XX" steels. So I'm going for this producer : Grainger Industrial Supply. An advice?

Again, thanks in advance. (Deep breath before posting.)

 

Confucius said that 'as student Qui is timid, we should give him a lot of encouragement; while student Yiu is aggressive, discouragement is then needed'.

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Don't search this forum with the built in search tool. Go to Google and type "site:bladesmithsforum.com" <search term>. You will get all your answer much easier that way. There are thousands of different forge shapes. Learn what you can about designs and you are bound to pick up a lot of other stuff in the process, including steels and anvils. Read everything in this sub-forum (Beginners Place); at the time of this writing that is 755 topics, 9,202 posts. When you have read all that you will be hard pressed to think of a question to ask without spending a few hours at a forge. Everything a beginner needs to know is already here, plus a lot that the experts learn! And that is just this one little corner of this forum. It is easy to lurk on this forum for YEARS just soaking up the vast amounts of shared knowledge. Also go to every sub-forum and read that sections "Pinned Threads" first. They are pinned for a reason. Prepare for your mind to be blown, and enjoy every minute of it.

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1) You're probably talking about propane forges, the basic difference, as far as bladesmiths are concerned, is vertical and horizontal. The difference between them is how much length of steel is being heated per heat. And before you get all excited again :P, you can only work 4 or 5 inches of steel at a time, so you don't need, or want, to heat the whole length of piece to work it. OTOH, to heat treat a long blade you do need to be able to heat the whole length at once.

 

2) If you need to hide this from your 'rents, you're doomed from the start. You need to get them on your side, or you need to wait until you don't need their approval. All forges involve fire, even if there is little smoke in a propane fire. I won't go into induction coils, since we're talking big $ up front.

 

3) Most forges are lined in some kind of ceramic fiber, you can find it on ebay, most ceramic supply houses, and www.hightemptools.com. The case can be just about anything, you could build it out of cardboard if you had enough insulation inside. A bathroom vent fan is about all you need for air.

 

4) An anvil is just a block of steel. If you can find a "real" anvil (one with a horn and a hardy hole) that's good. Your chances in NY are pretty good, check craigslist, garage sales, flea markets. Tell everyone you know that you're looking. Many bladesmiths, myself included, prefer a block anvil, I rarely use the horn. Check out Old World Anvils, they sell a block of 4140 that will do most of what you want. Rust is not a problem, old anvils will almost always have some condition issues. Most of those will still be useful tools long after you're dead. You want a light hammer blow, or a dropped ball bearing to rebound most of the way back to the starting point.

 

5) No, Grainger (or for that matter any of the other folks like that) won't do. Did you see any reference to 10XX steel, me neither? Check out the New Jersey Steel Baron. He's got what you want.

 

That should keep you for a bit

 

Geoff

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RED FLAG "because I can’t let my mother see a fire happening in the back yard".

 

Why can't you let your mother see a fire in the back yard? Are you still a kid who hasn't spoken to your mother about forging? Or have you spoken with her and she's said no but you're going to do it anyway? Are you an adult who is still living at home and if so what is the issue with your mother knowing about your forging?

I can envision scenarios where that is an innocuous statement but it's easier to imagine ones where this is a problem.

 

ron

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Sagun,

 

First, you write very well and clearly for a 14 year old. You're clearly very educated. Since you are, you know that research is something that isn't quick or easy. Jerrod's advice on searching the forum via Google is a good one.

 

I share other's concern regarding your comment on your mother seeing smoke. Believe me, I am sympathetic since I too started making blades in my parent's home when I was a teenager. However, let me echo the caution of the others: Don't try to "sneak" into bladesmithing. Discuss this with your parents. If explained properly, any parent should be happy that their child is interested in this craft. It teaches patience, caution, determination, attention to detail, dedication and precision. These are all skills that translate into happiness and success in life. Yes, there are dangers, but if you are smart and careful, they are easily overcome (and demonstrating your ability to do this when you bring the subject up to your parents will go a long way to winning their approval).

 

And, finally, if in the end you parents will not allow you to engage in the craft, be smart: don't disobey them. Instead, patiently and diligently work to change their mind through education and courteous discussion. If that fails, then just wait for age 18. It might suck, but that just the circle of life Simba.

 

Enough philosophy:

 

Steel: Start with 1070, 1075, or 1080/1085. I recommend buying from Aldo: http://newjerseysteelbaron.com/ Inexpensive and made for Bladesmiths.

 

Anvil: Buy a 4x4 anvil from Old World Anvils. The cheapest, best starter anvil out there. http://www.oldworldanvils.com/anvils/4x4.html. Get a large log, chisel or route out a 4x4 depression into it, and sink the anvil into it with silicon caulk. Cut the log such that the surface of the anvil is the same height as your knuckles when you make a fist and allow your arms to hang at your sides.

 

Buy a copy of The Complete Bladesmith, by Jim Hrisoulous. Also get a copy of Step by Step Knifemaking by David Boye and The $50 knife shop by Wayne Goddard. Read them until you have them memorized.

 

Luck in the quest!

 

Dave

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Thank you all for your replies. I'll be sure to check those sites and books out. Not sure if I said this, but i don't know what I would be able to do without this forum. Thank you all again, and hopefully, I'll be able to post my first knife soon.

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Wow, Dave is on a roll. ;)

One more thing I can suggest is to learn from all of our mistakes and read through Rob's "Humble beginnings revisited" thread here on the forums, as well as learning from our first mistakes (and successes) you will also find some very creative ways of improvising smithing tools. :rolleyes: Most of which, by the way I do not recommend at all, don't be stupid like me and use a pair of electrical pliers with pipes jammed on the reins as your first pair of smithing tongs.
Here is the link to Rob's thread for you: http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=28807

Good luck and happy forging!

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I just started myself and can offer a suggestion for a cheapish blower. Using a hair dryer strip it to just the fan and motor. Google the numbers on the motor to find the voltage(probably 12-15volts) then scavenge a transformer from the power cord of an old printer or other electronics of the sort thats 120in and 12-15out. Buy or also scavenge a slide switch for regular house lights and solder it all together. Or even just twist the wires and tape them up. The order they go together is power outlet-slide switch-transformer-hair dryer motor. I hope this helps and best of luck.

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Guest guest T

As a beginner it would be really helpful for you to go visit a working bladesmith to see the process of knife forging. I went to a ren fair that had an experienced bladesmith and he showed me the basics of knife forging. To be honest you are going to have to fail a few times until you get the hang of swinging a hammer and using a file.

If you are on a very low budget you can use a foot long piece of rail road track for an anvil, and leaf springs from a car junkyard as steel to practice forging and heat treating before you move on to nicer, new steel.

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I just started myself and can offer a suggestion for a cheapish blower. Using a hair dryer strip it to just the fan and motor. Google the numbers on the motor to find the voltage(probably 12-15volts) then scavenge a transformer from the power cord of an old printer or other electronics of the sort thats 120in and 12-15out. Buy or also scavenge a slide switch for regular house lights and solder it all together. Or even just twist the wires and tape them up. The order they go together is power outlet-slide switch-transformer-hair dryer motor. I hope this helps and best of luck.

I hate to post on here and quote you on this but as an electrician I see this as a safety hazard. If someone is not very good with electricity they could injure themselves very easily with this set up. ESPECIALLY if you just tape up wire connections. This will be outside so you need a waterproof electrical box for this setup.

Instead of breaking down the blowdryer and rebuilding it....why not just use a regular 120V hair dryer? You can still build a box for the hair dryer to be plugged into and have your fan speed control knob, or whatever variable resistor you want to use, built into it. I'm not telling you how it should be made, I'm just trying to prevent an electrical hazard with the setup that you've described and hope that it's not the setup that you are currently using. There are several ways to build something cheap for a forge. Heck, go to a flea market and you can probably find one heck of a setup there for cheap! I've come across several great items for cheap at the flea markets

Thanks, Brad

 

BTW...I hope this didn't come off as rude. I had no intentions of being rude or negative about someones idea. Just looking at it from a safety perspective.

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It's not worries. I am using a similiar setup but i soldered my connections together and threw on some shrink tubing. In my opinion thats safe enough for its purpose. I wouldn't trust it laying across a puddle of water, but for free I'll take my chances. I don't have much experience with this sorta thing so I wouldn't be surprised if the corners I cut are making you facepalm:\

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A simple solution, guys, just but a hairdryer that has a heat off switch, drill a few holes in the pipe feeding the air and turn them into a horizontal slot, make a sleave to fit over so you can control the size of the slot, now you've got an ajustable 'waste gate' quick,simple,safe and best of all easy!

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