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Hi, all

I'm new to this forum, and relatively new to forging. I'd forged a number of knives in the past few years at a friend's shop, but just last month finally had the cash to buy a forge of my own. I have a pretty wide assortment of hand tools from my career in maintenance, but few that will stand up to forging heat. I have a bunch of hammers, a good center punch, drills, a 1" cold chisel I got for hot cutting, a good new bastard file, and some hand sanders. What do I get next? And any suggestions on altering how I have things set up are also welcome.

 

Thanks!

20210717_171745.jpg

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I would go for a better, or real, anvil.  Take a look at the Atlas knifemaker anvil.  I think that it\s as about as good as you can get for the price.

 

Doug

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If you're in the PNW, then you should plan on spending a day or so in Longview, WA the 3rd weekend in October for the NWBA Swaptoberfest, their annual swap meet/mini conference.  There will most likely be a number of anvils to choose from.

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Rigging up some sort of adjustable/sliding doors out of soft firebrick will help your forge get quite a bit hotter and use less fuel.

 

The others are right that you'll probably outgrow the railroad track anvil quickly, but don't get hung up on getting something that looks like an anvil.  For bladesmithing, a chunk of 4x4 or 4x6 bar stock stood on end will make a great anvil, and can be found at local scrap yards. 

 

Simply turning your rail on end would make it more effective, but you wouldn't have a very big surface to work on.  That might make it a bit frustrating if you are just stating out.

 

What part of the world are you in?  Might be someone close by to lend a hand.

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Be on the lookout for a decent vise. You don't realize how much you'll use one until you get one.

 

A 4" leg vise would be good. They are pricey on Craigslist and Ebay, but there are still deals to be found. A big bench vise will help, but they don't do well with repeated beatings.

 

Until you have an anvil with a hardy hole, you can use a lot of 3rd hand tooling in your vise (hot-cut, benders, etc.).

 

If you have any scrap yards, fab shops, machine shops, etc. near by, try to find an anvil-sized block of some sort... 4"x4" or more; the heavier the better. RR track will get you started, but when you get something with more mass you'll immediately see the difference.

 

And tongs. Learn to make them or buy some. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to handle hot steel with channel locks or pliers.

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Thanks for the quick responses, everyone! Yeah, I've been starting to look already for a better anvil of some kind. I forged most of my early knives on my teacher's big old Mankel farrier's anvil, and there's no comparison with rail track. Fortunately, he had some tongs to spare, and some of his first lessons for me were in fitting the bits of tongs to your current needs, so I'm good on that front. Also, to answer those of you who asked, I'm in central Illinois 

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Check this thread

 

For a temporary anvil on the cheap, you can get a 16 or 20 pound sledge hammer at the hardware store or home improvement big-box for under $100. Less at garage sales or second-hand shops. Take the head off the handle and bury one face in that anvil stand. 

 

If you are going to be doing your blades with files, check this thread for what files to start getting. I have a ton of files, but only three or four I use for blade bevels.

 

A decent angle grinder will come in extremely handy, Even a cheap one from Harbor Freight is better than none. You can even rough in your bevels with a flap wheel before finishing them with the files.

 

Make some tools. A good scribe from an old Allen key, a center scribe from some scrap stuff, some hand sanding sticks and blocks, a quench tank and slack tub, a hold-down device so you can use two hands for tools, the list goes on.  Quite frankly, if you took a bar of tool steel and started making a blade, you will find out pretty quickly exactly what you need to get.

 

Edited by Joshua States
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