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forging knives from big stock


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I receintly purchased some 3/4" W1 drill rod to forge a knife. I left the drill rod the 3 foot section that it came shipped as. The heating up wasn't too bad but the hammering was a nightmare. I've never used such large material to start with. I finnally reverted to a 19lbs sledge hammer and 3 hours later I finnally got the material down to something close to a blade. I was using red-yellow as my colors as to not get the material too hot and burn it up.

 

Any suggestions on working this size of material? I tried cross peen, ball peen and nothing seemed to really squish this stuff.

 

What are your stratedgies?

 

Regards

Loyd Shindelbower

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Not sound like smart**s, but my main strategy is to use flat stock.

Snarkyness aside, sounds like you did everything you could, it just takes a lot of work and a heavy hammer. Helps to have a pet striker who's built like a gorilla. Just remember: the heavy round stock is what you have to have to make most integrals.

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some steels move under the hammer .. others just laugh at you.

 

i remember trying to forge out a nice chunk of S7 that i had found .. the only trouble was that it was 32mm thick ..

:blink:

 

tips that can help:

 

1. find some hapless friend who owes you big and get them to come strike for you.

2. put a nice comfy chair in your forging area so you can take regular sit-downs in between heats ..

3. buy a powerhammer ...

 

i did manage to forge out my sword from the S7 in the end .. but i gave up on the hand hammer and went on a trip to borrow someones powerhammer ... and believe me .. even that had troubles ...

 

depending on what you are trying to make .. you can also try going to some places and having the rod cut in half before you tackle it with a hammer ..

i would say that it would be too thick for most of your laser cutting type places .. (not sure though) .. though im not sure what kind of size limit water cutting has either ...

or else .. just see how much an engineering shop will charge to use a bimetal blade to cut it in half .. (or so) for you.

 

thems my suggestions.

^_^

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Thanks for the help. It doesn't sound like there's any tricks involved, simply beat it into submission or cut it in half length wise. I'm going to try to talk my machine shop buddy into the latter solution.

 

Thanks

Loyd Shindelbower

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Are you sure that the drill rod was made of W1? A lot of them are made of HSS stuff, that is REALLY hard. W1 usually move like butter under the hammer...

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I have not used any W1 but from what I here it is basically a cleaner 1095. That being said I use a lot of 1095 and yes it moves a little harder than mild steel but it moves easy. I make quit a bit of pattern welded steel and I usually use 1095, 1084 and 15N20 for my mix and my billets start out at almost 2" X 1 1/2" X 6" usually 9 or 11 layers to start and with a 6 lb sledge can have it forged out to couple hundred layers in just a few hours. If it is that hard to forge it might not be W1, I forged a piece of 1 1/2" H13 that was a brute but still managed to forge it out in under 45 minutes.

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As I read this, and the responses, something interesting occurred to me. Over the years I've watched a fair number of people forge and some can really move steel where others struggle with it. There's a lot to be said for practice to be sure, but technique also has a lot to do with it. Mike Turner says he uses a 6lb hammer, while Stephan Fowler says 1500g (~2lbs). Now, look at their avatar photos. Mike has a heavy hammer with a short handle (my preference), and Mike has a lighter hammer with a longer handle (that he's using every inch of I might add). Neither is better than the other, but the difference illustrates my point. It took me a while to find a style that allowed me to REALLY start to move hard steel (and I'm still looking for some improvement, even though now I can take a hunk of coil spring to ~1/4"x1" almost as fast as some 2 man teams with a striker...on a good day :) )

 

My suggestion would be to watch other 'smiths and when you see one who's REALLY moving steel, observe his or her technique and ask questions about it. Give it a shot and see if it works (or doesn't) for you. Now, Lather, rinse, repeat until happy ;)

 

-d

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deker~ im trying to figure if your saying i have bad technique or that im a weenie :P

 

Neither! Honestly it was just something that came to me when I saw the two avatars next to each other. I know it took me a while to figure out for myself how to really put a hurtin' on hot steel. Figured I'd share a little story and a couple thoughts. :)

 

some of us are just widdle y'know

^_^

 

I'm no giant bruiser either. I'm 5'8" and all my extra weight is around the middle not in the arms. :D

 

 

Hey Deker, 1500 grams is 3.3 pounds not 2... (remember, 2.2 lbs per 1000 grams).

 

I never said I was any good at math :P

 

-d

Edited by deker
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Deker,

 

I actually use a lot of hammers the one in the avatar is a 4 lb hammer. The one I use most is a 2 1/2 lb hammer that is on my personal pic. But when I get serious about thumping some steel I go to the 6 lb sledge but at 5' 10 1/2" and 240 lbs it is not much to me ;) . I thump steel for a living not making knives but making horseshoes and there is times I need a hand but it is just me thumping on a shoe made out of 1/2" X 1 1/2"

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Thanks again for all the replys. I'm cutting the steel in half today to see if I can improve.

 

One thing I'm still a bit curious about. I tried ball peen, cross peen, and the edge of my sledge.

Is it better to peen on a big piece or simply smack it with the face of a hammer?

 

 

Regards

Loyd Shindelbower

Loveland Co

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I use a power hammer and consider 3/4'' small stock :) 3/4'' W1 should move easily by hand. In your case, I would get the steel hotter and then reduce the temp as I finished forging to shape. Also a 3 to 6 pound hammer is plenty.

 

I use the face of my hammer, get it hot and hit it hard, when the temp drops off to red, get it back in the forge.

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3/4 rounds aren't that bad... specially not w1... just takes abit of practice and decent hammers..

 

fullering is a real good idea..

 

also... make sure if you want the steel to move alot ... to give it a good heat.... and reheat when you " feel" the hammer telling you that its not moving

 

 

use an 8lbs sledge and cut the handle down... and put a nice crown on it

-- and fuller inbetween

 

switch hammers down in weight during the course of the heat if your arm gets wobbly

 

 

Greg noodle arms ;)

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for the record I'm 6'4 3/4" and 270Lb

 

anyways, weather you use the face or pien of the hammer is dependant on how close to finish dimmension you are forging your stock

 

I use the pien and the corner of my anvil (radiused to about a 3/8") to break down stock and do heavy movements, but as i get closer to finish size i use the face and a much lighter stroke on the hammer

 

ohh, and one other thing

 

a really awesome smith in my local guild will tell you "a bigger hammer does not a better smith make" "Its not the size of the hammer but the accuracy of the smith that matters"

 

i can move metal just fine with a 2Lb 3Lb 4Lb etc, i use the 1500g because I love the feel of the handle, its got the best handle of all my hammers

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I can attest that Stephen is a big boy, having met him a few times. ;)

 

Before I got a power hammer, my heavy stock breaker-downer was a short-handled 12lb crosspein sledge. With a hammer that heavy I can't really swing it, I just grip it right below the head and "punch" with it. I rarely used it on anything below about an inch, though.

 

From your first post, it sounds like you just don't have the steel hot enough. Heat is your friend! For breaking it down I'd try to get it well into the yellow range, and then do the shaping and finishing forging at the lower oranges.

 

The size of your anvil and the way you have it mounted has a much greater effect on how well you can move steel than most folks can imagine. What's your setup?

 

-Alan, 6'0 and 200 lbs, one of whose thighs is about the size of one of Stephen's upper arms... :lol:;)

Edited by Alan Longmire
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in my opinion

accuracy with a large hammer is not the point...... use the appropriate hammer for the job at hand..

 

for heavy reductions its good to use a larger weight hammer.. .. and as accuracy is needed select a smaller hammer that you can handle with accuracy

 

everyone has their own style... and it takes abit to find out what works for you..

 

 

5' 11" and 190lbs :lol:

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The size of your anvil and the way you have it mounted has a much greater effect on how well you can move steel than most folks can imagine. What's your setup?

 

-Alan, 6'0 and 200 lbs, one of whose thighs is about the size of one of Stephen's upper arms... :lol:;)

 

I'm 6'1" 260 lbs.

I have a 95 lbs anvil setting on a cotton wood stump used for testfiring ammo. It weighs about 200 lbs, just the stump. The anvil is nailed into the stump with railroad spikes. The heighth of the anvil is perfect for my size, I the professional that sold me the anvil watched me hammer. I normally use a 2lbs cross peen for everything. I started out as a white smith of sorts making small trinkents out of copper. I've made a few knives out of scrap metal and they came out just fine. It's this stupid round bar that's giving me troubles. I'm going to buy some 1095 bar stock 1/4" X 2" x 3' and get some work done.

Here's some other stuff I've done in the past out of scrap metal....

The knife is out of 4340 tool steel, the fork is made from a brake linkage. The pewter I used was from an old shot glass.

 

P1010001.jpg

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Loyd,

 

I use the horn of my anvil and a hammer with a rounded face for drawing A crosspein would help as well. When I get closer to the size stock that I need I go to a flat face to smooth out the piece. I too would work your steel hotter.

 

A 95 lb anvil is a little lite but should work fine just try not to do to big a job on it. Make sure your anvil and stump are very secure, if they are moving around then you are losing lots of energy, which makes you work harder. Standing next to your anvil with a closed fist your anvil face should be at your knuckles, if it is to high you can injury your arm and end your smithing to low and your bending over to work.

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Yeah, 95 lbs is kinda small for trying to flatten 3/4" round bar. For working with 1/4" flat stock it'll be fine, though. :)

 

I started out on a 100lber, moved up to a 143 lb and could tell a HUGE difference, and now I have a 220 lb anvil. It makes a world of difference, for sure.

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Coke Man-

 

Dont let em get ya down man, i did 3/4 W1 round stock on a 70 Lb "chunk" of mild steel (4x4x8) for a long while before i got a proper anvil

 

its all about taking what you have, and figuring out how to make it work

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