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working from the ground up


carlos866

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Hi everyone, I would like to introduce myself, as I am just starting out, but no less a fanatic about creating my first pointy thingy.

 

I plan to build my own forge, however I'm at a loss at which kind I am to produce,

i want to learn to make kives first, but I don't plan to stay at that stage for very long, before long I aspire to create swords and long blades, some of which i want to resemble japanese origin some time down the road, hahahah

and i would like to create a forge that would accomodate these requirements as I progress in skill level,

I also plan to make Unique weapons that wouldn't normally fit in a small entry forge,

If anyone has any plans for a forge that would accomodate a 3-4 foot blade, excues me if I lack the nesicary terminology, as I have JUST begun my long road ahead of me, and much to learn

any tips or advice I would be more than appreciative

 

Thanks,

Carlos

Saint John, NewBrunswick

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Carlos,

 

First - welcome to Don's forum, and the insanity of bladesmithing. As to the forge; you don't need a forge for forging swords to be any larger than one for forging knives. You only need to heat 3-5" of the piece at a time - any more will cause problems. I recommend a propane forge because they are much easier to "tune" than a coal/charcoal fire. The back of the forge should be open so long pieces can be accomadated. A vertical forge with a blower is a popular choice for making damascus, but I prefer a horizontal venturi forge for forging. Search this forum and you'll find several designs that will get the job done. To start, you can find plans here for a micro forge made from a #10 can (don't use galvanized - it gives off toxic zinc fumes), some kaowool, satanite, and ITC-100 that runs with a standard propane torch. I have one that I use more often than my bigger 3-burner venturi forge - I got an adapter so I can run the JTH7 nozzle off a 20 Lb propane tank - the smaller tanks freeze up after 15-20 minutes of use.

 

For heat treating, you'll need a BIG forge to heat a large blade, but that will come later - and you can find plans for a drum forge when you are ready.

 

This is only my opinion - and there are many here who will recommend a coal forge - and, ultimately, you will have to find what works best for you.

 

That help?

 

-Todd

www.toddblades.com

 

"Geometry says how sharp, steel says how long." - Roman Landes, Ashokan 2009

 

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

 

- George Orwell

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I would recommend a charcoal fired forge. As said above, it doesn't need to be large. It is easy to build. I used an old charcoal grill to build mine but it need not be anything more complicated than a hole in the ground. The air supply needs to be about 2-3" below the top of the fire to reduce the O2 level and thus keep down the amount of fire scale formed. Black pipe can be used for the air tube, or tuyere. The refractory material can be made of 2 parts plain clay cat litter, one part builders sand, one part wood ash, and a hand full of straw. I use a hair dryer for a blower. For fuel, use real charcoal, not charcoal brickettes. The brickettes have a binder in them that can cause trouble. You can even use wood, as long as it's not pressure treated. Some smiths have even used things like cracked corn and dried manuer. If you plan to use coal or coke in the forge, you will have to line the adobe with something like a refractory cement or cover it with fire brick. With a good thick layer of refractory to protect it, a wood box can even to used to build the forge. Be sure to let the adobe dry before building a fire in it or coating it with a refractroy cement. Then build a low fire in it to cook off any remaining water. Any cracking that occures with use can easily be repaired with more adobe.

 

A solid fuel forge is pretty flexable. It is easy to control the area of the bar to be heated by how you arange the fuel around it. The heat of the fire can be adjusted by changing the amount of air being supplied. It is also much easier to heat an area in the middle of the bar than it is with a gas forge.

 

The upside of a gas forge is that it is generally cleaner (but who minds a little dirt :rolleyes: ) which makes it easier to weld with. The down side it that gas forges are more expensive to build, generally speaking.

 

Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Welcme to the forum Carlos, my advice is do not put the cart before the horse take you time read lots start small and as your ability and skill progress so will your knowledge of bladesmithing.

Bob

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Welcme to the forum Carlos, my advice is do not put the cart before the horse take you time read lots start small and as your ability and skill progress so will your knowledge of bladesmithing.

Bob

 

Cheers to that! Our diversity of opinion/style/application is what makes us so cool! READ READ READ!

www.toddblades.com

 

"Geometry says how sharp, steel says how long." - Roman Landes, Ashokan 2009

 

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

 

- George Orwell

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Now how did I miss that :blink: , I'm usually the one harping on studying reference material. The most important tool a knife maker can have is a good reference library made up of both books and videos/DVD's. Learn the principles of what you want to do and you will make understanding your individual situation easier to deal with. If you're interested in eventually making knives, try "The Complete Bladesmith" by Jim Hrisoulas.

 

Doug Lester

 

P.S. 8/6/07 I just read over my post and I realize that I should have said that if you are interested in eventually making SWORDS, get "The Complete Bladesmith".

Edited by Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Thank you so much for the generous welcome, I'm very glad I happened to tumble across this forum, because really, there isn't much where i live pertaining to the craft,

 

so being a newbie to everything pointy, (making them, anyways) where do i start?

what should be my first project?

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Thank you so much for the generous welcome, I'm very glad I happened to tumble across this forum, because really, there isn't much where i live pertaining to the craft,

 

so being a newbie to everything pointy, (making them, anyways) where do i start?

what should be my first project?

 

Carlos, I think you should start with a simple project. A full tang utility knife with slab handles, or a colonial style blacksmith knife are both good starting projects. But before you pick up a hammer or turn on a grinder, I recommend you either read 3 or 4 books, or spend some time with an experienced smith - both would be better.

 

-Todd

www.toddblades.com

 

"Geometry says how sharp, steel says how long." - Roman Landes, Ashokan 2009

 

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

 

- George Orwell

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi,

I have to echo some of the other sentiments on here. Start small, take your time.

Also, don't be in a rush to start Japanese swords. If you want to do it right, they are a very different kettle of fish than single metal forging. While the European style swords have fine traditions of craftsmanship, the Japanese sword, in my humble opinion, is in a class all it's own. So before you even go there, I would strongly suggest reading these books:

The Samurai Sword: A Handbook by John M. Yumoto

The Japanese Sword: A Comprehensive Guide by Kanzan Sato (translated by Joe Earle)

The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing by Setsuo Takaiwa, Yoshindo Yoshihara, Leon Kapp, and Hiroko Kapp

and most of all....

The Craft of the Japanese Sword by Leon and Hiroko Kapp, and Yoshindo Yoshihara

 

Japanese swords are a bit of a passion of mine as you might have guessed. :rolleyes:

 

RH

Edited by RockyH
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Welcome to the insanity. Like the others said, read,read, read, and don't be afraid of questions.All these fine folks had to start somewhere, and they will always answer ya.Just have a ball.....Tim

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