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a few basic questions


jake cleland
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finally got back out into the forge today for the first time in months, and did my first proper forging to shape - i've only forged simple tanto shapes before - it took ages to get the shape i was looking for, as every time i fixed one thing something else would change. anyway, i finally got it to where i wanted, though i'm gonna have to forge out the tang tommorrow.

 

new_forged_1.jpg

 

so, in the process of doing this i realised i still know diddly-squat about a lot of this, and these are the questions that occurred to me.

first - i have a side blown tuyere, and use coal, and i'm wondering how far above the air blast i need to keep the steel for basic forging; i usually build the fire up over the tuyere and hold the steel about 3 inches above the blast, in the top layer of coals, but it seems to take a long time to heat here - can i go closer to the blast, or will i lose too much carbon?

second, when i add green coal to a hot fire, do i have to burn the coal clean before i start heating again?(i'm using small coal chips. about 1/2-1")

third, should i be forging wet, or wire brushing, all the time, or just when i'm doing the final passes to knock the scale off?

 

also, i am eventually going to get around to building a fullering tool for drawing out tangs, but until then, whats the best way to do it by hand - corner of the anvil and a cross pein?

any help would be appreciated

Jake Cleland - Skye Knives

www.knifemaker.co.uk

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

 

Albert Einstein

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finally got back out into the forge today for the first time in months, and did my first proper forging to shape - i've only forged simple tanto shapes before - it took ages to get the shape i was looking for, as every time i fixed one thing something else would change. anyway, i finally got it to where i wanted, though i'm gonna have to forge out the tang tommorrow.

 

new_forged_1.jpg

 

so, in the process of doing this i realised i still know diddly-squat about a lot of this, and these are the questions that occurred to me.

first - i have a side blown tuyere, and use coal, and i'm wondering how far above the air blast i need to keep the steel for basic forging; i usually build the fire up over the tuyere and hold the steel about 3 inches above the blast, in the top layer of coals, but it seems to take a long time to heat here - can i go closer to the blast, or will i lose too much carbon?

second, when i add green coal to a hot fire, do i have to burn the coal clean before i start heating again?(i'm using small coal chips. about 1/2-1")

third, should i be forging wet, or wire brushing, all the time, or just when i'm doing the final passes to knock the scale off?

 

also, i am eventually going to get around to building a fullering tool for drawing out tangs, but until then, whats the best way to do it by hand - corner of the anvil and a cross pein?

any help would be appreciated

 

I often used to use the handles of a large pair of tongs as top and bottom fuller .I must admit to being a lazy power hammer user so I had to remember that one.Have you try'd coke ? you can get it delivered from ebay now and it doesnt have the hastle of coal and is cleaner .

I run a big fire and run the steeel through the top. wet forging like don does does keep a clean bit of steel but ive not gotten on with it .

when forging to shape it is a good idea to try and work one parameter at a time and forming a sunobe or pre form does help with getting overall shape as you want it .

it can be a good idea to pre draw the shape you want and try to forge to that but is a lot more fun to let the shape make its self .forging blades certainly gives you a good idea of how a lot of blade shapes evolved .

forging soul in to steel

 

owenbush.co.uk

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As a fellow coal-burner, I'll do what I can: :unsure:

 

I use a bottom-blown firepot, and I try to keep the steel at least three inches above the blast. Any deeper and I do notice a lot more scaling and thus decarb. The main thing is to keep a layer of coke a couple inches thick above the steel as well. This gives more insulation, shortening time in the fire, plus it also adds more fuel, widening that narrow window of neutral atmosphere in the fire. It's hard to heat stuff up in the reduction zone, even though that can theoretically add a little carbon. Keep the blast as low as it can and still be effective, this will reduce the depth of the oxidizing zone.

 

When you add green coal, let it coke up before using it to heat steel. It'll give you more heat, and it'll keep the steel cleaner. I keep a large mound of fresh (green) coal around the sides of the fire so it can be coking up as I work. That way I have a constant supply of coke ready to push into the fire. I do keep it wetted down, as this both helps it coke and cuts down on the big flames and billowing smoke. My coal is also in small chips, that seems to be the standard with smithing coal. It cokes more quickly and help maintain a compact and thus hotter fire.

 

As for wet forging vs. wire brushing, if you have a really deep fire and keep the steel above the oxidizing zone it cuts down on scale to a very great extent. I wire brush when it needs it, since I personally don't like wet forging as it can be very loud when the steam blows the scale off. It also leaves a big sloppy mess on the anvil. Many folks much better than I love wet forging, though, so I can't help you much there. B) Experiment and see what works for you.

 

I also use a hand-crank blower. It's slower than an electric, but I feel it gives me much more control over the fire and saves fuel.

 

I have a fullering tool, but I still do tangs without it sometimes. I don't use the pein, but rather a square-faced hammer on the edge of the anvil. It takes accurate blows and lots of turning the steel over to keep the tang centered without dinging the corner of the blade. I curse frequently during this operation! :lol:

 

Here's a pic of a sword blade I'm working on. The tang and pommel-tang were done this way. I did use the fuller to set off the pommel-tang, but after the first three or four blows I went to the hammer and anvil. This is a two-handed Großmesser, which I think makes it a kriegsmesser.

 

 

 

I like it because it lets me do a rivetted slab handle and still be historically accurate to the style. ;)

Edited by Alan Longmire
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I will second most of what Alan said, even though I use gas instead of coal... I did start out with coal, though, for my first half dozen or dozen blades (or more, I didn't keep count)... And I did pretty much as Alan says, which goes right along with what I was instructed to do in a local community level course on basic blacksmithing... I do wet forge now and then, though... Or maybe I should just say I follow my whims on that... I forge my tangs out the same way as Alan mentioned, for the most part. I don't have a fuller tool or anything else to aid me there, so I haven't go many other options...

 

Btw, Alan, I like the looks of that blade. I've got an itch for a kriegsmesser of my own, but I've got about a zillion other things to finish up before I can hope to even think about making one and I can't afford my own work much less commissioning one from somebody else.... Wahhhhhh..... lol

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I will second most of what Alan said, even though I use gas instead of coal... I did start out with coal, though, for my first half dozen or dozen blades (or more, I didn't keep count)... And I did pretty much as Alan says, which goes right along with what I was instructed to do in a local community level course on basic blacksmithing... I do wet forge now and then, though... Or maybe I should just say I follow my whims on that... I forge my tangs out the same way as Alan mentioned, for the most part. I don't have a fuller tool or anything else to aid me there, so I haven't go many other options...

 

Btw, Alan, I like the looks of that blade. I've got an itch for a kriegsmesser of my own, but I've got about a zillion other things to finish up before I can hope to even think about making one and I can't afford my own work much less commissioning one from somebody else.... Wahhhhhh..... lol

 

I use charcoal and coke to forge ,, I draw the steel out over the beak of the anvil the rounded edge turning the blade / tang to even up the blow's or you get a twisted lump of steel same hammering the lines turn the blade over hammer both sides evenly as you draw the cutting edge thinner the blade will curve counter this with blows to the mune area , so remember to leave plenty of meat to allow for the compensating blow's to this area , you can always remove the exess but ya cant put it back ,

I also use an old half round panel beaters dolly in the anvil to draw out the steel pull the blade along hammering turn over and do the same you will end up with a corrugated blade when its the right lenth give a half inch then start to re flatten it to get the corrugations out ,,,

the other topics were well coverd here ,,

 

terry .

 

swords_i_made_640.jpg

Terence.........(today started off perfect now --- watch sombody come and stuff it up ]

 

if it aint broke dont fix it

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Jake, I think Alan has described everything fairly well. At least better than I can ^_^ I also use coal and actually prefer it to coke, which gives more of an open fire. With coal you can make a sort of oven that reflects the heat back into the fire. The more stuff you have above it, the hotter it is in the middle. I have a fullering tool, but don't use it anymore as I prefer to do a 2 sided shoulder on the near edge of the anvil. I don't wet forge to remove scale, I just take it down to a black heat (very lightly) when I'm finishing up the forging.

 

Here is my latest example, all done with my 3 lb hammer :D

 

shoulderedtangexample.jpg

Bob O

 

"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints."

 

My Website

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thanks for the help guys. i forged out the tang this morning, as well as forging out a tang on the offcut from this blade - which leads me to ask, what style of tongs are best suited to holding bar stock - i only have one set of tongs which are fine once i've got a tang, but today the 8" red hot off-cut got away from me a couple of times, which was exciting. anyway, heres a pic of the blade with the tang forged out, and the shoulders and plunge cut set on the grinder. thanks for all your help.

 

new_forged_3.jpg

 

new_forged_4.jpg

Jake Cleland - Skye Knives

www.knifemaker.co.uk

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

 

Albert Einstein

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For bar stock, it's box-jaw tongs like these: boxjaw You can get 'em flat like this in many sizes, or sideways offset to grip by the edges of a bar. A lot of folks make them by welding tabs onto the jaws of regular flat tongs.

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I recently ordered a set of tongs from Glen Stollmeyer and have been very pleased so far with them.

 

http://www.gstongs.com/id9.html

Blade tongs

 

I believe the ones I got were 3/4 x 3/8 at his suggestion when I told him I was wanting some for general use and that was the size he suggested as he used it the most himself. Finding I would like a smaller size as well, but I'm still able to hold thinner and narrower with a little manipulation.

 

I believe they were 25$ a pair for that style.

 

One of the things I really liked was that they were handmade.

And Glen was great at info and conversing back and forth.

 

I had also gotten 1" and 1 1/2" round tongs for cable welding and round barstock I have. I've only used the 1" so far as I've not welded up a piece of my larger cable which was the intention of the 1 1/2" size.

 

 

He even mentions if you have a specific style or shape in mind, that you can contact him and it's likely he can make it.

 

The blade tongs aren't all that heavy either, they're probably my lightest pair of tongs, and I had been using some flat jaw tongs that are my grandpa's that belonged to his dad or grandpa for farrier work.

 

So Glen is my recommendation =]

Beau Erwin

www.ErwinKnives.com

Custom knives

Bcarta Composites

Stabilized Woods

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basicly i agree with pretty much everything thats been said above about fire managment and such...with the tongs though...why not try making them yourself? there are lots of tutorials in places like www.anvilfire.com or others if you want to make they yourself...though $25 a pair...i couldnt make them that fast but i'd like to make my own tools...its a bit of a trade off i guess.oh yea and i just leave the scale on until after forging is finished...some people use viniger to remove scale which i have heard works very well but is still on my 'to try' list

formerly youngbuck...i now have a name!

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I got to go with Alan on the Boxjaw tongs - i have 2 pair and they are used and abused !

Try finding one with a v-bit bottom lip so you can even hold round bar and flat stock !

 

I bought mine from Blacksmith depot (Kayne and son) !

 

Tongs2.gif

 

Steven !!!

Steven Sharpe

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Another thing is if you do buy one, and then later wanna make some, you have one to go off :P

 

I agree I could have made some, but I'm kinda limited on shop time, so had to decide do I wanna spend the time making some tongs, or blades...*laughs*

 

Glen's larger size tongs like the round 1" and 1 1/2" that I got are 35$ but since I was getting 3 sets all at once, he gave me them at 30$ each which was pretty cool.

Edited by EdgarFigaro

Beau Erwin

www.ErwinKnives.com

Custom knives

Bcarta Composites

Stabilized Woods

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thanks for the info. i'll probably make my own tongs; getting stuff sent from the us is a PITA - just wanted to know what shape to make them.

anyway, a wee update on the blade in this thread - this is it heat treated (clay, water, interrupt), groun and satin finished to 400x. in hot vinegar for about an hour. crappy pics i know, but i'm gonna leave it in the vinegar overnight to take the scale/clay crud of the hammered parts, re-polish to 800x and finish with lemon and metal polish tomorrow.

 

new_forged_5.jpg

 

new_forged_7.jpg

 

new_forged_8.jpg

 

new_forged_6.jpg

 

oh - the steel is howard clark's 1086M which i love - thanks again howard.

new_forged_5.jpg

new_forged_8.jpg

Jake Cleland - Skye Knives

www.knifemaker.co.uk

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

 

Albert Einstein

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Jake,

nice looking start to that blade...

Here is a photo of a pair of tongs I made from old coil spring........ the top jaw is hinged........ they are very versitile and grab a tapered shape as well as parallel......

Good for you for making your own.....it improves your forging skills and using a tool you made yourself is always more fun to use........

have you ade any tongs o your own before?

If not there are right hand and left hand tongs.......when I first heard that I thought "Yeah Right"........ when you use tongs you grip the top handle in you hand and operate them with your fingers. (i'm not tryin to be paitranizing here)..... If they a handed for the hand you have them in the flat of the jaw will be hoizonal BUT if they are opposite when you hold them the flat of the jaw will be on an angle.......If I'm not explaining this well enough take a pair of tongs (that are probably left handed) and use hold them in you right hand and try and use them..... you will have to roll your wrist to use them witch is very frustrating..

If you know this already sorry for the lecture...

but if you have never made any before you might not realize this ( ask me how I found out ha ha ha ) for left hand tongs you roll the bar to the left when you "cut" the offset over the edge of the anvil........ for right hand tongs you roll to the right........I think most store bought tongs are probably left hand tongs.......

I learned this from Francis Whittiker who is passed now but was one of the "last links" between hundereds of years of the old slyle appenticship history and us newbies that took up smithing in the 70's.........he convinced me that it is very frustating to forge if you can't hold the work solidly......... previous to that I was using vise grips and thought I knew how to smith. Ha Ha ha.......

.Dick

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