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Patrick Brooks

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HI all,

I'm new here, and to the art. I'm in Va. on the Bay, and I build custom stairs and mantles for a living. I taught myself stained glass work to implement into my work and now will attempt to incorporate some decorative metal.While researching I've grown interested in bladesmithing as well. I have an old but very nice 175# (so the bathroom scale says)Hay-Budden anvil (this has a very slight belly, about 3/64" out of being flat, is this bad?) I need suggestions on which hammers I should pick up for a good start and also hardy tools to look for. I'm sure these questions have probably been posed before a hundred times but I thought I'd put it out there while I'm searching old posts just to help things along.

Great site and seems to be lots of good guys here. I'll mention that when I ran across the sight of Jake Powning was when I was seriously bitten by the knife bug. That guy is truly gifted, and I see there are lots of great smiths here as well. Any help getting started buying tools will be appreciated.

Thanks,

Patrick

also wondering what type files are used most,as in type of cut, not manufacturer

Edited by hooligan971

"A man can never have too many vises"

Thomas Brooks 1/29/38 - 7/7/05

Had a few vices and collected vises

Miss you Tom

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I'm just getting started myself but I'll help you as much as possible. As far as the anvil goes, the sway will hurt keeping the blade flat because you'll tend to forge the curve in. Granted, 3/64ths" isn't much. As far as dressing it so that it's level, older heads are going to have to advise you on that. I'm still playing with files and stones to use. I''ve used double cut bastard files and I have a good selection of needle files for tight spaces. I just got a Majicut file to play with and a pilar file to cut the plunge lines in. The last is double cut on the faces and safe on the edges. I also have a selection of hammers. I started out with some French pattern hammers in 1/2 and 1 kilo, a German pattern in 1 1/2 kilo, and a 4 lb surveyers hammer for when I really get serious about moving steel. Another hammer that I made for myself out of a ball pean is what is called, at least by some, a flogging hammer. It looks a bit like a cross pean but the face is not as narrow. It really draw out steel parallel to the face. I also have a 2 1/2lb rounding hammer with one flat and one crounded face. The crounded face moves mor metal and the flat face take out the dings and demples. I'm still working with them all to see how they work for me. Some will undoubtedly fall by the wayside as thing progress. I don't find the peans on the hammers very good for drawing out steel. I have a spring fuller tool that works better for that job.

 

As far as fuller tools go, a hot cutter is a biggie. Saves you from having to run it to the chop saw to cut 1/4" stock. As said above, a spring fuller is handy for drawing out steel. I'm making a guillotine tool. By changing the "blades" on it it can do a variety of jobs like drawing out steel or forging fullers into the blade. It can also hold cut offs and butcher tools. Get some good books on knife making and blacksmithing to get more ideas of tools that you can make for yourself. A good blacksmithing book is "The Backyard Blacksmith" by Lorelei Sims.

 

By the way, where on the bay do you live in the Commonwealth? I'm down in Portsmouth.

 

Doug Lester

Edited by Doug Lester

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

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I like a bastard file to do some serious gouging, and a smoother one to take out the coarse marks before going onto the stones. I know that's not very helpful, but i don't know the classifications for files.....

As for the decorative metalwork, i'd recommend the iForge section of anvilfire.com, they've got some great tutorials on decorative ironwork.

I had a strange thought the other day.

If I were locked in a room with a copy of myself, i wouldn't like me very much.

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As far as the anvil goes, the sway will hurt keeping the blade flat because you'll tend to forge the curve in.

 

 

I have to disagree with that, sorry. I find a slight sway really helps straighten blades once they're bent. I had a 143lb Peter Wright with a 1/8" sway that was really good for straightening. Sold it and got a brand new 220lb Refflinghaus with a dead-flat face, and It's MUCH harder to get things truly straight on.

 

We are talking about a horn-to-heel sway, right? :huh: If it's dished out so that the middle of the face is lower than the edges you may have a problem. That can be fixed with a belt sander or VERY careful use of an angle grinder with a fine-grit flap wheel.

 

Doug's advice on hammers and hardy tools is right on. ;)

 

Anyway, welcome to the club!

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I've been using a magicut file followed by a long angle lathe file, which is also handy for the plunge as it's got smooth sides, no teeth, so I just clamp a wood block to the blade and go to work filing.

 

Then hit it with my variety of stones after.

Got a belt sander recently, so might be using that initially then following htat with files.

Beau Erwin

www.ErwinKnives.com

Custom knives

Bcarta Composites

Stabilized Woods

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Alan, I do see where you're coming from on the off level anvil face being good for removing a bend from a blade. Jim Hrisoulas recommended something like a railroad anvil with a dip in the face to do just that but that was a special anvil for just that purpose. Didn't that anvil have a way of forging a curve into the blade? How did you avoid it? Not arguing; just trying to share information.

 

Doug Lester

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

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Alan, I do see where you're coming from on the off level anvil face being good for removing a bend from a blade. Jim Hrisoulas recommended something like a railroad anvil with a dip in the face to do just that but that was a special anvil for just that purpose. Didn't that anvil have a way of forging a curve into the blade? How did you avoid it? Not arguing; just trying to share information.

 

Doug Lester

 

 

The longways dip didn't cause me problems because I forge across the face, not along it. I also use coal, so I don't have a foot of limp-noodle steel hanging off the far side like a horizontal gasser tends to do. The bends that always show up when forging were easily straightened by laying the blade curve-up along the length of the sway and gently pushing down until straight. That's if done hot, done cold just a good whack would do it. The sway is important for cold-striaghtening because it gives the clearance needed to overcome the springyness of steel. You can't cold-straighten steel on a dead flat surface by hammering.

 

This same anvil also had a spot near the hardy hole where the center of the face was lower than the edges. Now THAT would cause problems if I forged a blade there. It was handy for flattening shorter kinks, though.

 

That said, the new dead-flat anvil has forced me to forge more accurately, since it's harder to take out the bends. It was tough getting used to being able to work on any part of the face without worrying about dips, pits, and edge chips, I must admit. :lol:

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Alan, you've got me thinking (need I explain how dangerous that can be :wacko: ) and I came up with two ideas. One is to get a plate of metal, guess that it really doesn't HAVE to be steel though it probably will be, and make a little sway or dip in it and lay it across the anvil face. The other would be to get a sizable piece of end grain wood and put a little dip in it and use a wooden mallet or a wooden rod to take the kinks out of a blade. The thinking is that the wood wouldn't mar the steel.

 

Doug Lester

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

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The wood stump and wood mallet, AKA "schwocker," is the standard way of dealing with such things. :lol:

 

It is not a problem for me anymore, though. The flat surface forced me to learn to forge flat in the first place! ;)

 

Edited to add: On stuff that can't be easily forged straight, like really long sword blades, the three-pins-in-the-vise method is invaluable and much more precise than schwocking. Until you break it. :huh:

Edited by Alan Longmire
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Thanks guys, I think I'll use the anvil as is for now. Still trying to figure out which files I should pick up. If you had to list the files and stones you use the most, what would they be ?Who carries them?

Patrick

"A man can never have too many vises"

Thomas Brooks 1/29/38 - 7/7/05

Had a few vices and collected vises

Miss you Tom

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MSC online or McMaster-Carr carry almost every file known to humanity, fairly cheaply. Get the biggest Nicholson Magicut you can find (mine's a 14"), followed by a 14" long-angle lathe file and a mill bastard in every size from 4" to 14". A couple of triangles and half-rounds, a few chainsaw files, and a set of needle files round off the collection. I have about 40 files at present, but that's almost enough. :lol:

 

In all seriousness, when I do a tomahawk I blast the forge scale off and true up the outlines with a flap wheel on an angle grinder, then I clean it up with the magicut or a lathe file followed by a 10" mill bastard followed by 220-grit wet sanding. That's it. For a nice finish on a knife with files only, you may want to get a set of 6" mill files in bastard, second cut, and smooth. Drawfile the blade with each one in succession. Follow these with wet-or-dry silicon carbide sandpaper wet with windex or WD-40 up through 400 to 1500 grit depending on the shine you want.

 

You can do a nice blade with a lot of work and little cash invested, and you can do a nice blade with a $2000 belt grinder and a set of buffing wheels, but most people who really love blades will pick up the hand-finished ones first.

 

I have a nice grinder, but I only use it to profile and rough-grind things up to about 220 grit. Anything finer than that gets hand-sanded. I have a buffer as well, but I only use it on pipes. Those don't tend to remove digits when the buff grabs 'em! :ph34r:

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I've been wanting to email japanwoodworker to see if the could carry a full range of the sword polishing stones as I've kinda been thinking about/wanting to get some.

They have one, and none of the others last time I looked, just a large variety of other types.

I'd looked at Namikawa but figured if japanwoodworker could get them, it might be cheaper.

Beau Erwin

www.ErwinKnives.com

Custom knives

Bcarta Composites

Stabilized Woods

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  • 1 month later...

Well I decided to get the anvil ground anyway. They only removed about 1/6 to get it flat and it turned out great. There were a couple of chips on the far edge that they could have gotten out if they removed a little more material but I plan on putting a slight radius on that edge anyway and that will take care of them.While I was there I found thier cutoff bin and spotted several 4x4x30" chunks of steel. Some looked like mild steel and some were polished.The guy that was there didn't know what kind of steel they were but said to call the boss tomorrow and ask. My question is, What would be a good steel for a japanese type anvil?

Patrick

"A man can never have too many vises"

Thomas Brooks 1/29/38 - 7/7/05

Had a few vices and collected vises

Miss you Tom

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I use bastard files, bench grinder, 4 inch belt grinder and my stones come from japanwoodworker.com

 

Hope that helps some.

I live on the eastern shore of Maryland/DE are you on the lower shore of Va.?

JJ

JJ,sorry I missed your post. I do live on the lower part of the bay. I'm just 5 miles from Yorktown.

"A man can never have too many vises"

Thomas Brooks 1/29/38 - 7/7/05

Had a few vices and collected vises

Miss you Tom

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