Blacksmithing, forging, knifemaking and all other metal work

#1
For those of us who enjoy bashing steel, working on a lathe or a mill, or do their own welding, to post their results.
As for me, I'm a trained mechanic and machinist and set up my own metal shop in a former barn. A while ago I built my own forge and started manufacturing things.
So a while ago I made a bunch of handforged nails for a mate, who is restoring a century old beam and wattle house. Some of the original structure will be visible and he asked me to make him some traditionally forged nails (fairly large, the long one is about 5" long), to use where they will be visible.

Nails.jpg


Recently I also started making knives from old automotive helical springs a neighbour, who likes fixing cars, gave to me. The one with the wooden handle was my first attempt. I straightened one of the springs using the forge and then hammered a blade blank out of it, which I then ground to shape using a belt grinder and a selection of grinding whels. The handle was made from a piece of cedar wood I still had at home and a piece of brass.

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The second knife was forged out of a single piece of spring steel. I had to draw out the material of the handle to reduce it's diametre before bending it to shape and then fine shaping the blade again on the belt grinder and various grinding wheels.
In both cases I built and improvised tempering furnace out of some fire bricks and brought the ground blades to bright red heat, using a gas burner, before hardening them in oil and then tempering them at 250 centigrades (pale straw colour) in my kitchen oven. After the knives have been completed, I ground them to their final shape and sharpened them.

The coal forge I built myself. I bought the tuyere and fire pan on eBay and welded the frame out of angle irons. The fan I bought in a hardware shop in the Philippines. The anvil I bought as a bargain on eBay.

When the knives were finished, I decided to buy some leather and read up upon saddlemaker's work to make the sheats. I have handsewn them using traditional cobbler's techniques.

I use the first knife for gardening work.

Now I have the third knife in progress. It will have a hardwood handle and a brass guard.
 
#2
I've always had an interest in arm or from Bronze era to medieval on how it's made. And quite recently I've had a really desirer to forge a sword, I'm in the process of making one of these at the moment.


Nothing special or great but it's a start.
 
#3
That is outstanding. I don't know what I would do with a bunch of ally ingots, but that really does look like fun.

In reality I suppose I'd burn my fingers and fcuk up something important with molten aluminum, but I can dream.
 
#4
I've always had an interest in arm or from Bronze era to medieval on how it's made. And quite recently I've had a really desirer to forge a sword, I'm in the process of making one of these at the moment.


Nothing special or great but it's a start.
Nice, but maybe you should use somethicker material with a smaller surface area (like more solid aluminium scrap) to reduce oxydation.

I'm planning to either buy or build myself a propane gas forge, due to three reasons:
1) The coal fired one is located outside my shop and produces quite a bit of smoke. I tried several fuels, the "Blacksmith coal" sold around here is very smoky and contains quite a bit of sulphur, which you don't want to have in your steel, as it makes it brittle. I fear that in summer I will eventually get into trouble with my neighbours.
2) I tried metalurgical coke as well. While this burns very well and doesn't produce as much smoke, it is also quite expensive. Both coal and coke are getting increasingly more difficult to get.
3) I also tried charcoal (he stuff sold for BBQ purposes). It burns very well (after all blacksmiths all over the world have used this fuel for millenia), but it also produces a lot of sparks, and I'm afraid that they might set the house on fire. Also charcoal burns much faster than the antrazite coal or the coke.

As my forge is outside, located just under a wooden roof, I can only work there when the weather is nice, no rain, little or no wind and not too cold (the iron cools down very fast when taken out of the fire on the way to the anvil, even if it is only about two feet distance, but on smaller or thinner pieces this is very noticeable).

Since last year the village I live in has a tourist attraction (the longest and highest suspended pedestrian bridge in Germany) and I plan to sell some products to tourists (artsy stuff, like candle holders etc., but also knives when I feel that the quality it good enough). Whenever I'm working outside on weekends I have tourists standing around me, asking questions and taking pictures. A friend of mine has a big old house with a currently empty workshop right beside the tourist car park. I consider renting this shop, but for the coal forge indoors I would need to built a smoke stack fullfilling all building rules (lots of €€€). A gas forge doesn't produce smoke, it only needs ventilation, also the atmosphere inside a properly regulated gas forge has a low oxygen content, so it is nearly impossible to burn the steel like in a coal forge. The temperature is also high enough for forge welding, so I might give damascus or pattern welded steel a try.
 
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#5
It's a pity Gavin never wrote some books, shame at all the knowledge that was lost when Mr.Pintleberry passed
 
#6
I've always had an interest in arm or from Bronze era to medieval on how it's made. And quite recently I've had a really desirer to forge a sword, I'm in the process of making one of these at the moment.


Nothing special or great but it's a start.
Btw., when casting aluminium or any other metal, make sure that the mold is REALLY dry, or the hot steam generated will make the liquid metal shoot out right away again!
 
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#7
It's a pity Gavin never wrote some books, shame at all the knowledge that was lost when Mr.Pintleberry passed
Even though I got trained in metal work, for me the forging is like doing an apprenticeship again. I have a bunch of very nice textbooks (mostly from the States), some of them from the 19th or early 20th century, giving a lot of helpful hints.
 
#8
I've always had an interest in arm or from Bronze era to medieval on how it's made. And quite recently I've had a really desirer to forge a sword, I'm in the process of making one of these at the moment.


Nothing special or great but it's a start.
There are several people who do courses on bronze sword making you end up with your own sword.
here's one
Workshops - Bronze Age Foundry
 
#10
That is outstanding. I don't know what I would do with a bunch of ally ingots, but that really does look like fun.

In reality I suppose I'd burn my fingers and fcuk up something important with molten aluminum, but I can dream.
I had the same thought, but my garden is big enough it will be far enough form anything important.

I hope.

Nice, but maybe you should use somethicker material with a smaller surface area (like more solid aluminium scrap) to reduce oxidation.
QUOTE]

.
Thanks for the advice, hope you get what you want soon
 
#11
I make these fire bowls out of stray Calor gas bottles , wood stoves, chimneas and BBQ's as well, no blacksmithing involved, only cutting, cold bends on a Jig, and welds, but i can't work all the time due to my health, but i enjoy the work, and it brings in some extra beer tokens.
 

rampant

LE
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#12

rampant

LE
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#13
My own dabbling, including my first Caulking Iron and a Bronze and Brass stem piece for a dinghy:
 

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#16
For forging work, you can make a simple gas powered can furnace from cement and kitty litter.. lots of designs on the internet. Much cleaner, hotter and quicker to run than a traditional solid fuel hearth, although possibly slightly more expensive..

For serious knife work you really need a thermostatically controlled electric muffle furnace as most of the real work is in the heat treatment.. I have built one of these out of thermal bricks and an oven control module... not that difficult.

Foundry work is also not that difficult,particularly lost wax and lost polystyrene, and most of the bits can be home made.. however the difference between casting iron and casting aluminum is quite drastic... both will kill you, but cast iron will kill you more...!
 
#18
You lot do know that the guy who made the major swords for game of thrones is on here well he was haven't seen him on for a while. Probably doesn't want to mix with plebs now he's famous :)

His pattern welded swords are a thing to be seen.
 
#20
It's a pity Gavin Pintleberry is no longer with us, he was a true artist with steel.
 

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