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My forging experience

Discussion in 'The Off Topic Room' started by sfeile, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. Here is a slightly shortened version of my experience so far.

    Earlier in the year I got caught up in a heat treat discussion over on B&B. Since we derailed a thread, we ended up getting our own started on heat treating and forging. Forging is always something I have wanted to do, and the more we talked about it, the more I wanted to do it.

    So I started looking around for materials to get started with.
    I got ahold of a piece of rail track for an anvil, and some steel plate and hard fire brick to make a forge from.


    As you can see, I wasn't getting much heat at all. Long story short, I too much space, not enough insulation, and my burner wasn't right giving me a fireball inside the forge instead of a nice jet flame out of the end of the burner.

    Much experimenting later I finally got something figured out to where I was moving some steel.


    I was making some tongs and working on just moving metal by this point.
    Then in September, I got lucky and found a 100 pound Vulcan anvil 45 minutes away for $200. I think I made the drive in about 20 minutes haha!
    I got it home, cleaned it up and painted it, and built a new stand for it. It had some face wear, and some broken edges, but it was much better than that piece of track. A much bigger surface and a ton more mass. It made moving metal so much easier.


    Also about this time, I finished my first "knife" from a piece of mower blade, and took what I learned from that and tried my luck at a straight razor from a piece of leaf spring.
    The razor came out much better than the knife did.

  2. I tinkered around and tried to do some forge welding. That really didn't go very well, so I'm not going to re-visit that....
    The more I was messing around though, the more things I was figuring out. My shaping and metal moving was getting better. My hammering was more consistent and controlled. Overall, I was getting a little better at this.

    I still wasn't really getting as much heat as I thought I should be getting, so I broke down and ordered a pre-built burner to replace my home-made one.
    The forge dog went out and helped me put it in.


    I took the old one out and lit them both to see if I had wasted my money, or did something good. I did something good. After I installed the new one, I heated and moved a piece of metal twice in the amount of time it would have taken me to heat it once with the old burner.
    Plus the old burner was giving me a cold spot right in the center. My flame was like a doughnut. I think my tip was too big in diameter.

    Old one

    New one

    Now we are getting some real heat in there.

  3. The end of October (22nd actually) I made another knife blank, this time from a piece of leaf spring.
    It is a hunter/camp knife sort of shape. I actually got this one finished and it looks fairly good. There are a few things I would have like to see turn out better, but being my second knife and 3rd finished blade, I'm pretty pleased with it overall.


    Then I tried making another one of a slightly different shape. I did the forging and had what I thought was a crack in the tip. So I tossed it aside and started on a kitchen paring/utility type knife.
    Ended up getting another "crack" but this time in the heel of the tang. Then I realized what it actually was. I was getting a cold shut when I was forming my ends.
    Didn't happen every time, but I think I was trying to work them a little too long and loosing too much heat.
    Since this one was in the tang, and I'm not selling them, I just went with it and finished it, then chalked it up as a learning experience.


    (It actually still need polished and sharpened, but this is where it's at.)

    Two weeks ago, my mom passed down some cast iron skillets to me that had belonged to my grandmother. So instead of leaving them in a cupboard when I wasn't using them I went out Wednesday and built a rack for them. Nothing extremely fancy, but it works.

  4. A couple days ago I got my new brick to re-line my forge.

    Got that all done and got tired of looking at the broken edges of my anvil. So I dug the welding machine out and fixed it.
    Found out that the welder is getting old and worn out, but at least the machine still works well. :p


    New lining is working very well.

    Took 3 minutes to heat this 3/8 inch thick piece of leaf spring from outside temperature (about 39 degrees) even with all the scale on it.

  5. Tonight I managed to finish a shape I like despite my regulator trying to turn to ice. Does fine when it's warmer out, but I have no heat in my "shop". So when it's 30 degrees outside, that's what it is in there.

    I don't know what it is, but it looks similar to my 8 inch Whusthof chef's knife, but a little smaller. My chef's knife is my go-to, but I often want something a little smaller. So here is my attempt at that. Obviously still needs profiled, but it's all hammered out and final shape cleaned up.

  6. MotoMike

    MotoMike Founding Member

    Thanks for sharing
  7. Thanks for reading!
  8. Jim

    Jim Old Curmudgeon Founding Member

  9. Thanks Jim! Next will be a loooot of grinding. I still tend to leave them too thick when forging then I have to grind it all off to thin them down to where I want them.
    Then I have some nice curly white oak I think I'm going to dress it in.
  10. All really cool stuff! Nice pics! :)
  11. Thanks!
  12. Looks that you are having fun! Very nice!
  13. Thank you! It has been a learning experience. It feels great to take just a scrap piece of steel and turn it into something that people actually like.
  14. I should have just sucked it up and made the forge this way to begin with.... It's working great now. Even with the other end open I have a lot of heat.

    Anyway.... Got the bar done for another pot rack for my mothers christmas gift, and got another knife just about ready to quench. Still need to drill it, and still not happy with that really heavy hammer mark in the tang.

  15. Finished up a couple of gifts tonight. Got my mom's pot rack done, and made a TP holder. Next project is going to be a "matching" hand towel holder.

    1/4 inch round stock was probably not the best choice for my first time punching holes... I did manage my first leaf shaped object though.

  16. MotoMike

    MotoMike Founding Member

    they look great
  17. Thanks Mike!
  18. Jim

    Jim Old Curmudgeon Founding Member

  19. Thanks Jim!
  20. Of everything you have forged, which one is your favourite?

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