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Eric Byers

What do I need specifically

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I am new to black smithing and would like to know what tools to get.

What kind of welder?

What kind ofPower hammer?

What kind ofPress?

What kind ofGrinder?

What kind ofDrill?

What kind of Hammer's/Tong's?

What kind of forge both propane and coal? 

Maybe a resource to find this stuff cause my shopping list is getting expensive

Blu Max 65 = $5,995
TW90 Grinder = $3,850
Baileigh Press HSP-20A= $995
Delta drill press = $1,048
Cutting torch = $929
Venturi forge = $700
Delta 28-400 Bandsaw = $698
Post vise/Leg vise = $550
Anvils (estimate) = $500
Rod Welder = $480
Angle Grinder = $169
Stationary buffer = $52
Hammer's = ??
Tong's = ??
Punches = ??
More?

Any advice cause I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed.

Edited by Eric Byers
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Power hammer or press you can build.  It may seem overwhelming but I would suggest searching the forums for what others have done.  I don’t even have a power yet it’s all being forged by hand at the moment.  Harbor freight is a good source for an in expensive welder.  But yes best thing to do is research everything.  I’ve just started not too long ago myself and only now just got a grinder I can use.  My welder is a 125 amp flux welder from Hf.  You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get the basics of what you need.  Just better research.  

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2 minutes ago, AndyB said:

Power hammer or press you can build.  It may seem overwhelming but I would suggest searching the forums for what others have done.  I don’t even have a power yet it’s all being forged by hand at the moment.  Harbor freight is a good source for an in expensive welder.  But yes best thing to do is research everything.  I’ve just started not too long ago myself and only now just got a grinder I can use.  My welder is a 125 amp flux welder from Hf.  You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get the basics of what you need.  Just better research.  

Thanks, does the type of welder matter? I know how to rod weld but I'm not sure if that'll put impurities in a blade or not? 

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I wouldn’t be using flux core I haven’t even made a knife yet at this point someonewith more experience will probably step in and guide you better.  Damascus steel is more of the advanced work rather than a noobie thing from my understanding.  I know I’m not even starting Damascus no where near ready,  

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24 minutes ago, Eric Byers said:

I am new to black smithing and would like to know what tools to get.

What kind of welder?

What kind ofPower hammer?

What kind ofPress?

What kind ofGrinder?

What kind ofDrill?

What kind of Hammer's/Tong's?

What kind of forge both propane and coal? 

Maybe a resource to find this stuff cause my shopping list is getting expensive

Blu Max 65 = $5,995
TW90 Grinder = $3,850
Baileigh Press HSP-20A= $995
Delta drill press = $1,048
Cutting torch = $929
Venturi forge = $700
Delta 28-400 Bandsaw = $698
Post vise/Leg vise = $550
Anvils (estimate) = $500
Rod Welder = $480
Angle Grinder = $169
Stationary buffer = $52
Hammer's = ??
Tong's = ??
Punches = ??
More?

Any advice cause I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed.

On that list all I have is a welder, torch and band saw(for wood) Had these prior to blade making and seldom use anything but the band saw for handles.

I made my forge for about 300.00....and that was buying my 2 burners.

Cut my blades out with an angle grinder...most all of what I do is stock removal.

I did recently pick up a 2 x 72 grinder....and it has a buffing wheel on it.

An anvil is next on my hit list. I have a drill press.....but most of the time I just use a cordless.

Be aware on the band saw that ones made to cut metal move way slower than a wood saw.

My band saw wont even hardly scratch metal.

Sounds like you are planing on diving in with both feel. lol

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You might want to take a class first, seeing you have the money, to find out of you actually like doing this.  I got my main anvil in a trade from a guy who was thinking like you and bought all the best stuff without ever having tried to forge before.  In the meantime, be sure to read all the pinned threads in Beginner's Place and Tools and Toolmaking.  

For the record, I did this for ten years with a coal-burning rivet forge and an angle grinder and files before I knew I could use a power hammer and 2x72 belt grinder.  Got the grinder first.  I still use files on almost everything I make, though.

If you do have the money and the time, I really cannot recommend strongly enough taking a class in basic blacksmithing, THEN a class in bladesmithing.  Save for a good anvil, build the forge.  Accumulate the rest as you need it and it can pay for itself.  

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Yeah, I'm no expert but been bladesmithing on and off for 7 years or so.

I would reiterate doing what Alan said and "try before you buy." You might find that you buy all this equipment and don't even use something because you're not ready for it and don't even know what to do with it. Forging is a skill that takes a long time to master. Grinding is also a skill that takes a long time to master. There's not really a shortcut to doing this stuff by hand. It's just practice and... most likely, your first knives are not going to be beautiful. Take a class, decide what you want to start out with and buy more stuff as you feel you're ready for it.

Also, that press is not intended for forging. Most normal presses operate very slowly and will suck the heat out of the steel before you move much metal. So the forging presses are made to move quickly.

 

Edited by Cody Killgore
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Yep, try before you buy.

My best friend started blacksmithing, gathered tools and then quit soon after. You might think you're in love with something, but you should live with it for a few years before you marry it. 

This can be as primitive as you allow it to be. Go and enjoy it, tear that list of yours up, maybe take a class or two, and re-evaluate after you've made some things. 

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I'd suggest seeking out and joining your "local" blacksmithing organization.  You may find a member with a shop close by who will let you use his equipment in exchange for something.

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Thank you all for the great advice. I do have every intention of going to a blade smithing class, I hadn't planned on a general black smithing class, but there may be good info there as well. However, I will research it as much as possible until I get into a class.

That list is years in the future if I ever get it all, at all. I plan to get my feet wet before I do the ole cannon ball. Practice, practice, practice...do you know if people buy beginner quality blades?

I've watched many YouTube videos, I'm reading books and of course "Forged in Fire" makes it look so easy and fun. Though I've never felt how hot it is, how hard it is or how much I ache after a day of swinging a hammer. I imagine it's hot, sweaty, dirty and hard to do (like good sex).

I have always loved blades, swords, and weapons of old. I imagine creating something people will love and I will be proud of.

Any advice on classes? (Who, when, where?) As a truck driver I can get just about anywhere. Especially on the east coast.

 

Edited by Eric Byers
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I thought we had a pinned thread on smithing schools, but I guess not.  The reason I encourage a blacksmithing class as well as bladesmithing is that blades are easy.  They're just a strip of relatively flat steel, all you have to do to it is keep it straight, put a point on it, draw out a tang, and add bevels.  While this does take a little skill, decorative and architectural smithing requires a much deeper knowledge of how metal moves, which in turn will take you further in bladesmithing than you'd imagine.  Half-penny snub-end scroll guard on a bowie?  Easy if you've been taught.  Harder than snot if you haven't.  And that's just one example.  Blacksmithing is an especially useful skill if you're serious about swords.  Not only because you'll need all the forging skill you can get to do the guards, you will also have to build most of the specialized tools swordmaking requires.

As for classes in the east, anything at the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, Maine is excellent. http://www.newenglandschoolofmetalwork.com/

Haywood Community College in Clyde, North Carolina is also excellent. https://www.haywood.edu/instruction/workforce-continuing-education/bladesmithing

Those two do both blacksmithing and bladesmithing.  The John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC https://folkschool.org is great for general smithing and offers a few blade-related classes.  Peters Valley in New Jersey is similar, https://www.petersvalley.org/.

Then there are the individuals like Matthew Parkinson in Connecticut (first one to spring to mind, plus he's a great guy). Check the Teacher Directory here.  

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14 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

I thought we had a pinned thread on smithing schools, but I guess not.  The reason I encourage a blacksmithing class as well as bladesmithing is that blades are easy.  They're just a strip of relatively flat steel, all you have to do to it is keep it straight, put a point on it, draw out a tang, and add bevels.  While this does take a little skill, decorative and architectural smithing requires a much deeper knowledge of how metal moves, which in turn will take you further in bladesmithing than you'd imagine.  Half-penny snub-end scroll guard on a bowie?  Easy if you've been taught.  Harder than snot if you haven't.  And that's just one example.  Blacksmithing is an especially useful skill if you're serious about swords.  Not only because you'll need all the forging skill you can get to do the guards, you will also have to build most of the specialized tools swordmaking requires.

As for classes in the east, anything at the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, Maine is excellent. http://www.newenglandschoolofmetalwork.com/

Haywood Community College in Clyde, North Carolina is also excellent. https://www.haywood.edu/instruction/workforce-continuing-education/bladesmithing

Those two do both blacksmithing and bladesmithing.  The John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC https://folkschool.org is great for general smithing and offers a few blade-related classes.  Peters Valley in New Jersey is similar, https://www.petersvalley.org/.

Then there are the individuals like Matthew Parkinson in Connecticut (first one to spring to mind, plus he's a great guy). Check the Teacher Directory here.  

Thank you. There may be a thread on schools, I haven't explored the site completely yet. I'm sure there is a wealth of knowledge here and I look forward to posting "My first blade" so we can all laugh.

Even if this is just a hobby for me I think I'll enjoy it. But like many things it's hard to say until you've actually done it.

My wife and I had thought about going to that folk school because she is interested in some of the other classes they offer. As am I, woodworking, leather working, and other classes seem as though they'd go hand in hand with blade smithing.

Like many things it takes time and dedication. We just have to set aside the time to go. Probably after January. 

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Do it!  A one-week class will put you two years ahead of trying to teach yourself.

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This is hard for a beginning smith to do, but I'd advice trying. Research the instructor you're thinking of taking a class with.  Often, the instructor is offering a class in an area of smithing that he doesn't do in his own work and has little experience beyond having himself taken a class on it.  Sad is it to say, that while there are some really great instructors, the schools will fill the rest of the slots with whomever they can find. Make sure that what you want to learn is what the instructor is qualified to teach.

Edited by Gerald Boggs

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23 hours ago, Gerald Boggs said:

This is hard for a beginning smith to do, but I'd advice trying. Research the instructor you're thinking of taking a class with.  Often, the instructor is offering a class in an area of smithing that he doesn't do in his own work and has little experience beyond having himself taken a class on it.  Sad is it to say, that while there are some really great instructors, the schools will fill the rest of the slots with whomever they can find. Make sure that what you want to learn is what the instructor is qualified to teach.

I've decided to got to the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, Maine. It seems like a good place to start anyway. I can take a beginners course in blacksmithing then I'll go back another time for the beginner course in blade smithing. 

It's not cheap that's for sure. Just about $600 per course. But if it saves me 2 years of fumbling around trying to teach myself it's worth it. 

I do worry because I don't know how physically taxing smithing can be. I'm a trucker, and it seems you gotta swing that hammer pretty hard and steady in the videos I've watched.

I guess I have a fear that I'm to out of shape to do it. 

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As long as you hold the hammer correctly (thumb and forefinger only, the other fingers are just there for stability, loose enough someone could snatch it out of your hand on the upswing) you'll be fine.  You hit hard by sort of throwing the hammer at the anvil, which will then bounce it right back up to you.  Heat is the main issue.  It gets really hot standing in front of a forge for hours.

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Trying to start out with "all the right tools" is not a path that is likely to lead to happiness. Classes will definitely help there but in the long run a lot of your equipment is best chosen from what you learn using tools you want to improve on. There are options to everything and it is hard to choose the right option without experience. To put it in another way, if you started reading about, say, belt grinders and read every thread and asked every question you could think of, I would guess you might have a couple of weeks(at least) less to be learning how to use a file. Then you start on anvils, a few more weeks gone without experience swinging a hammer. Then you start on forges .... by the time you get that figured out it's time to "learn up on" grinding belts and more time.... and we haven't even got to steel yet. It really, IMO is best to let your shop grow up, organically, around yourself as your skills increase along with your experience. Many people buy equipment in the beginning that they think they need and it often becomes a dust catcher. I have come to the conclusion that, if there are more than 2 options in brands or designs for a tool, then none of them are the "best" and so trying to tell someone whether they need one or what brand or style they need when they are starting from scratch is pretty much just guesswork.

 

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8 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

It gets really hot standing in front of a forge for hours.

I can verify that.  I have been using coal.  Even on a colder day I can stand outside in a t shirt while forging and work up a sweat.  I even over heated myself from the heat.  But it’s an enjoyment.  It’s also a good work out as well.

Edited by AndyB

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13 hours ago, Vern Wimmer said:

Trying to start out with "all the right tools" is not a path that is likely to lead to happiness. Classes will definitely help there but in the long run a lot of your equipment is best chosen from what you learn using tools you want to improve on. There are options to everything and it is hard to choose the right option without experience. To put it in another way, if you started reading about, say, belt grinders and read every thread and asked every question you could think of, I would guess you might have a couple of weeks(at least) less to be learning how to use a file. Then you start on anvils, a few more weeks gone without experience swinging a hammer. Then you start on forges .... by the time you get that figured out it's time to "learn up on" grinding belts and more time.... and we haven't even got to steel yet. It really, IMO is best to let your shop grow up, organically, around yourself as your skills increase along with your experience. Many people buy equipment in the beginning that they think they need and it often becomes a dust catcher. I have come to the conclusion that, if there are more than 2 options in brands or designs for a tool, then none of them are the "best" and so trying to tell someone whether they need one or what brand or style they need when they are starting from scratch is pretty much just guesswork.

 

Thank you. That is a perfect way to explain it. Perhaps just starting with a propane Forge, anvil, and Hammer is best. Let it grow around me. I like that idea. 

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Vern really did hit the nail on the head. That's how I did it. It helps you understand every aspect in depth before you move on.

A box fan is a good investment for the "tools to buy now" list though! If your overheating and feeling like its a workout you may want some cardio in your life. It's a lot more fun to swing on steel if your not light headed worried about stroking out. I love this time of year for forging though instead of 110° in the shop it's 60° after forging for a while. 

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3 hours ago, Zeb Camper said:

Vern really did hit the nail on the head. That's how I did it. It helps you understand every aspect in depth before you move on.

A box fan is a good investment for the "tools to buy now" list though! If your overheating and feeling like its a workout you may want some cardio in your life. It's a lot more fun to swing on steel if your not light headed worried about stroking out. I love this time of year for forging though instead of 110° in the shop it's 60° after forging for a while. 

That is very true.  Although it seems like a work out my body isn't what it use to be when I was 19 lol danged military.  That's okay though.  I can only imagine what it's going to be like forging this summer lol.  As long as I don't have June Gloom again this year I can't wait for the nicer days.  If I do recall correctly though where I got interested in this hole area was way back took my welding classes how ever we had a blacksmith come in to the class and teach us all about black smithing for a bit.  From then on I was hooked but couldn't afford it at the time lol.  A class will get the feet wet and you tasting it.  If you like it you like it.  If you don't you don't but either way classes are always worth it.

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On 11/17/2018 at 9:52 AM, Zeb Camper said:

Vern really did hit the nail on the head. That's how I did it. It helps you understand every aspect in depth before you move on.

A box fan is a good investment for the "tools to buy now" list though! If your overheating and feeling like its a workout you may want some cardio in your life. It's a lot more fun to swing on steel if your not light headed worried about stroking out. I love this time of year for forging though instead of 110° in the shop it's 60° after forging for a while. 

Well now I'm more concerned about the heat. I don't want to stroke out. 

On 11/17/2018 at 9:52 AM, Zeb Camper said:

Vern really did hit the nail on the head. That's how I did it. It helps you understand every aspect in depth before you move on.

A box fan is a good investment for the "tools to buy now" list though! If your overheating and feeling like its a workout you may want some cardio in your life. It's a lot more fun to swing on steel if your not light headed worried about stroking out. I love this time of year for forging though instead of 110° in the shop it's 60° after forging for a while. 

Well now I'm more concerned about the heat. I don't want to stroke out. 

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:lol: you'll be fine! I don't find it to be much of a workout. I was just saying since you suggested you overheated; you may want to take precautions. I can forge all day with no problems, but I also go on runs 2x a week and forge as often as I can. 

Just keep some air moving on you, some water nearby, listen to your body, and you'll be fine :)

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