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AndrewB

The best way to forge a hidden tang?

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Okay so I am wondering, I'm getting a shipment of steel in today, I'm planning on doing some forging tomorrow, since the weather will be nice.  I'm considering making the tang first.  I'm also going to try out the rebar handle again.  I'm going to try it out on this next knife simply due to the fact that I may be able to hold the piece easier.  Rather than having to worry about flopping around with tongs.  Anyways back to the point, I'm wondering if I should put one set down on the side of the edge where the blade will start to be formed with the bevels.  Should I also place a set down on the opposite side in the same direction or attempt to anyways as the set down at the start of the blades edge side?  I'm trying to figure out the best way I can easily accomplish this.  Thanks ahead of time.

Edited by AndyB

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Yes, in that way, if I imagine what you are thinking, the tang will be central to the blade. 

Set down the bevel side, and likewise set down the spine side.  Remember that your material will consolidate more on the hammer side than the anvil side. So if you remember to work both planes equally it will 'set down' equally. 

Do not forget to also work the flat of the tang equally with the set downs! If not you will make a cold shut. I've watched many a guy at the local forge try to make a tang on a knife only to work in a cold shut and lose the knife.  They just work it too far into a skinny tang until the crack breaks what they have. 

Edited by Daniel W

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13 minutes ago, Daniel W said:

Yes, in that way, if I imagine what you are thinking, the tang will be central to the blade. 

Set down the bevel side, and likewise set down the spine side.  Remember that your material will consolidate more on the hammer side than the anvil side. So if you remember to work both planes equally it will 'set down' equally. 

Do not forget to also work the flat of the tang equally with the set downs! If not you will make a cold shut. I've watched many a guy at the local forge try to make a tang on a knife only to work in a cold shut and lose the knife.  They just work it too far into a skinny tang until the crack breaks what they have. 

So should I take a heat and then ht a few times each side, giving equal amounts of blows so I get even metal movement through out the tang rather than having it bunch up?

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I use Owen's method. His hardy tool was fairly easy to make.

Edit: if I make a centered tang, I just file afterwards 1/8" off top and bottom of the tang to create shoulders. These will have to be filed for proper fit anyways. 

Edited by Joël Mercier
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Yes.

Anytime you see those ridges bulk up, that is the start of a cold shut if you don't flatten them back.  Fish lipping etc. you don't want it.  You don't want to grind that stuff out - you don't want to make it in the first place. 

If you want the tang to bump up in cross section, don't work the flat plane as equally.   Maybe skip it one heat or two or ease up on your hammer blows.  Once the material begins to make a crease on those flat planes, its gone too far.  It does not take much to make a cold shut like this - time and again I see people do it. 

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Here is another forging video from NESM and a 2-knife challenge (make 2 identical knives)

 

 

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Those are two different but related methods of forming a  hidden tang.  One thing that they had in common is that they did't let the edges curl much at all before correcting the tang.  Like two blows on one edge, two blows on the other, flatten it out, and repeat.  You will learn with experience how much of the bar it take to forge out the tang.

Doug

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The biggest difference between these two methods is that Owen is forging a "top tang" where the handle will sit above the spine of the blade. The tang's spine is even with the spine of the blade. This provides enough room for the width of the blade to be enlarged while leaving enough room below the handle for the user's fingers when the edge contacts the cutting surface.

Nick is forging a "centered tang" where the handle spine will be even with the spine of the blade. Relief on the top of the tang as well as the bottom to allow for the ricasso to line up with the edges of the handle. Two different methods for different end results.

Edited by Joshua States

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I’d actually be okay with either or lol.  At this point still being the beginner as long as I can get it to work I’ll be happy above the spine or below. At this point it is all still basically experimental trial and error learning.  So if the handle decides to be over the top of the spine and not exactly in line with it that’s okay.

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Fuller2.jpg

This is a tool I use to set tangs.  It's made from heavy truck spring, forged flat and left as forged, no HT.

G

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12 minutes ago, AndyB said:

I’d actually be okay with either or lol.  At this point still being the beginner as long as I can get it to work I’ll be happy above the spine or below. At this point it is all still basically experimental trial and error learning.  So if the handle decides to be over the top of the spine and not exactly in line with it that’s okay.

They are two different designs for totally different knives. What type of knife are you planning to make?

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12 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

They are two different designs for totally different knives. What type of knife are you planning to make?

At this point I wasn’t even really sure lol.  Hadn’t thought much into what kind lol.  I was just wanting to experiment with the hidden tang design.  Plus I do enjoy the actual forging it’s mentally relaxing to do so I didn’t really put much thought into design. I kind just started hammering out a shape.

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13 minutes ago, AndyB said:

At this point I wasn’t even really sure lol.  Hadn’t thought much into what kind lol.  I was just wanting to experiment with the hidden tang design.  Plus I do enjoy the actual forging it’s mentally relaxing to do so I didn’t really put much thought into design. I kind just started hammering out a shape.

Please don't take offense, but that is a good way to make a fine piece of scrap. Do yourself (and your wallet) a favor and make a little shape of the knife you want to make out of something not tool steel. Decide what shape you are going for before you even light the forge. I like to make these little templates out of 1/8" flat stock or 1/4" MDF board. Then I use a soap stone and draw the outline on the anvil face. As I forge I lay the work piece inside the outline. It helps me see where I need to move the steel into the shape I'm trying to end up with.

You will see what I mean at about 6:15 of this video.

Edited by Joshua States

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10 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

Please don't take offense, but that is a good way to make a fine piece of scrap. Do yourself (and your wallet) a favor and make a little shape of the knife you want to make out of something not tool steel. Decide what shape you are going for before you even light the forge. I like to make these little templates out of 1/8" flat stock or 1/4" MDF board. Then I use a soap stone and draw the outline on the anvil face. As I forge I lay the work piece inside the outline. It helps me see where I need to move the steel into the shape I'm trying to end up with.

You will see what I mean at about 6:15 of this video.

I may have to give that a whirl as well I’m always open to trying out different ways to see what works best.  Don’t worry lol there’s no offense taken lol.  And the cost of steel is not a major issue to me at this point.  I’m sure once I get better at forging blades it will be.  But during the learning curves it’s not.  

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2 hours ago, Geoff Keyes said:

Fuller2.jpg

This is a tool I use to set tangs.  It's made from heavy truck spring, forged flat and left as forged, no HT.

G

I’m kind of confused by what I’m looking at.  Geoff that almost looks like a vice.  Interesting.  I don’t have many tools as of yet but slowly building them up.  Is that just like a jaw clamp? With a solid non moving bottom jaw and top jaw can swivel if I’m looking at your picture Correctly?

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It's called a guillotine fuller.  The bottom is fixed, there is a post that goes in the Hardy hole.  The top piece pivots on a bolt.  The two inner surfaces are rounded .  You lift the top piece, insert the hot steel, and strike the top with a hammer.  It makes two opposing divots in the steel, like the tang of a file.  You can also use it to break down a piece of steel.  You make a series divots along the steel and then forge the humps down flat.  You can also make the initial forging for integral bolsters.  It's a handy thing to have.

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10 hours ago, Geoff Keyes said:

It's called a guillotine fuller.  The bottom is fixed, there is a post that goes in the Hardy hole.  The top piece pivots on a bolt.  The two inner surfaces are rounded .  You lift the top piece, insert the hot steel, and strike the top with a hammer.  It makes two opposing divots in the steel, like the tang of a file.  You can also use it to break down a piece of steel.  You make a series divots along the steel and then forge the humps down flat.  You can also make the initial forging for integral bolsters.  It's a handy thing to have.

Okay so how easy would it be for me to make one or find one of these lol.  I'm definitely interested in making things easier.  I also did happen to find a hot cutter at the ferrier store I'll pick one up next week which will be nice so I wont have to make a  hot cutter this go around.  Found one I like this morning when I went to pick up some more coal.

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This is a commercial version of the tool, which is very nice.  You can also get different tools for it.  If you google "spring fuller" you will see another style.  Mine is made from 2 pieces of heavy leaf spring (.5" thick).  In the center of the spring there was a hole.  I cut the spring to length with an abrasive saw, took a heat and flattened both pieces.  One piece I welded into the uprights the other I bolted on.

It's a common tool in blacksmith shops, and like many such tools, there are only a few commercial ones, most are shop made.

 

g

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3 minutes ago, Geoff Keyes said:

This is a commercial version of the tool, which is very nice.  You can also get different tools for it.  If you google "spring fuller" you will see another style.  Mine is made from 2 pieces of heavy leaf spring (.5" thick).  In the center of the spring there was a hole.  I cut the spring to length with an abrasive saw, took a heat and flattened both pieces.  One piece I welded into the uprights the other I bolted on.

It's a common tool in blacksmith shops, and like many such tools, there are only a few commercial ones, most are shop made.

 

g

Id have to make a smaller one than what you've got because of the size of my anvil since I only have a 66 pounder.  So I'd have to scale that down quite a bit.  For now it will be forging tangs by hand though at least.

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The size is only important when it comes to where the striking face lands on the anvil.  You want it to be over the sweet spot.  Other than that, I don't understand your objection.

 

g

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11 minutes ago, Geoff Keyes said:

The size is only important when it comes to where the striking face lands on the anvil.  You want it to be over the sweet spot.  Other than that, I don't understand your objection.

 

g

I don't have any objections to any of it lol.  I was just concerned about the size and how it would sit on the anvil but I do see your point that the size would be irrelevant as long as it sits on the striking surface.  I get what you are saying now.  

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