I am becoming a blacksmith

xXxAnglicanxXx

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Can I have advice? Is there anything you can tell me to give me a head start? Maybe things to avoid doing? I want to make knives and spearheads at first to get a feel for smithing. Then I want to experiment with more advanced techniques.

I've already ordered a crank blower and am looking for an anvil, but I think a cinder block will work for now just until I get a proper surface to work on.
 

Seb

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Can I have advice? Is there anything you can tell me to give me a head start? Maybe things to avoid doing? I want to make knives and spearheads at first to get a feel for smithing. Then I want to experiment with more advanced techniques.

I've already ordered a crank blower and am looking for an anvil, but I think a cinder block will work for now just until I get a proper surface to work on.
In case it's not horribly obvious, you want to invest in Personal Protective Equipment, particularly hearing protection. Can't hear the feds creepin' up on ya if you blew out your ear drums hitting metal too much.

Good leather vest and welding gloves, too. COTTON clothes, not synthetics, don't want that shit to melt into your skin if sparks fly onto you. Maybe welders boots if you want.

I'm precious though, so if you want to hella rough it then go ahead.

I actually did a wee stint at a blacksmithing school here, and there was an "intro to drawing/design" class. Apparently you want to know about Archimedean spirals and stuff like that, the golden mean/ratio, especially if you get into doing decorative gates for your country estate.

Drink lots of water with electrolytes in it, metal work is hot and sweaty ^_^

Have fun!
 

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Awesome. I have a bunch of experience working with the shiny, expensive, non-ferrous metals on a very small scale (aka jewelery), but I have a friend who has been making incredible knives for over a decade now. The stuff he comes up with is insane and can serve as actual tools in the real world, unlike fuggin’ shiny diamond rings and necklaces.

Yeesh. I’ve wasted my life.

I have no advice, just wanted to say good on ya, bro.
 

Vitamin-KKK

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Check out the YouTube channel Farmcraft. You can probably learn some tips about metal working there. That guy actually cast a functional AR-15 receiver from melted down beer cans.
 

xXxAnglicanxXx

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Also, no, it will not. I've tried it, the cinder blocks will very quickly crumble. Find a nice flat rock or piece of steel.
Even if the metal is especially hot? Metal does get softer.

Either way, I get it. Maybe I can use the block as a base.
 

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Would you know how to get hard water deposits off of sterling silver chemically?
The homemade remedy is soaking it in vinegar, baking soda and warm water. There’s also some kind of way to boil aluminum foil or something...?

We had an ultrasonic cleaner machine and expensive chemical solutions that did a lot of the work, but the finishing move was using this pepto bismol looking goop and giant soft polishing cloths.

Most jewelers have those cloths for sale, they have multiple layers and they work great for general upkeep once you get rid of the tarnish.

Here’s a link with some of the weird tricks I know and a couple I had never heard of.

 

anti-barabas-ite

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Even if the metal is especially hot? Metal does get softer.

Either way, I get it. Maybe I can use the block as a base.
Find old railroad track cut to fit you to start check Craig's list for used industrial crap. I seen railroad track by the chunk the other day in my local
Watch many many episodes of forged in fire.

And start banging shit
 

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Sounds like naval jelly.
Yeah, it probably had some similar chemicals in it, but lots of that stuff doesn’t interact with gold and silver too well. Idk, that was a lifetime ago.
 

Seb

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Even if the metal is especially hot? Metal does get softer.

Either way, I get it. Maybe I can use the block as a base.
Just go out right now with a normal hammer and pound on your cinder block. I guarantee it will smash on the first hit.

Oh! Also check out this channel on YouTube called Shurap. It's this Russian guy that makes "Damascus" steel knives out of literally any old piece of steel. Screws, old suspension bridge wire, bearings, it's a very cool channel.

Something else you might want to consider is ergonomics. If that isn't also blindingly obvious you want to set yourself up right. Get the anvil and everything to the right height. I worked Ina factory for the last year and a half, and all the stuff in there was made for manlets, and someday I could really feel the strain in my hips and my neck. You probably aren't going to be pounding metal for eight hours at a time, but even doing it improperly for half an hour can still fuck up your shoulder, your neck, your back, etc.

ALSO! Your eyes! Wear safety glasses because metal will flake off, and if it ends up in your eyes uhhh, you will not be able to have MRIs done in the future. Cuz you know, giant magnet pulling metal shrapnal through your eyes, while very hardcore, is also very damaging.

I think that's all the safety stuff covered πŸ‘€

For sure check out Shurap, he makes kewl stuff.
 

Pandadude12345

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Has anyone recommended a Tungsten Anvil? It can stay Solid even after reaching the boiling point of iron, and it's the strongest metal on Earth.
 

Seb

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Has anyone recommended a Tungsten Anvil? It can stay Solid even after reaching the boiling point of iron, and it's the strongest metal on Earth.
If you have the means I can highly recommend it πŸ€‘
 

FreeY

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Don't forget to remove the teeth first.
 
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Vilis_Hāzners

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Practice every day at leaat 4 hours, even when you don't feel like it.

Buy books. Every highly rated book you can find. Read the reviews. Actual blacksmiths will say jf the book is shit or not.

Find fellow blacksmiths in your area, the older the better. Become an apprentice if they will have you, otherwiae hang out with them any chance you can get.

Start small. Tools and uaeful stuff. Forget blades and weapons for now. Make small useful tools and objects for a few years.

Practice, practics, practice.

God bless son.
 

Donk

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Don't use a cinder block or anything that can crumble as an anvil base. Best thing is a log round.

Knives are one of the most advanced items in the world of smithing, going way beyond just the forging part. A good thing to start with are to forge tongs of various shapes that will allow for better forging.

The best way, frankly, is to apprentice with a blacksmith.

An important thing is to use good form when you smith. Don't stoop or chicken-wing the hammer blows, as it will break you down quickly. Back straight, arms loose, elbow in.
 

Donk

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Has anyone recommended a Tungsten Anvil? It can stay Solid even after reaching the boiling point of iron, and it's the strongest metal on Earth.
Tungsten is brittle, it's not tough enough to be an anvil and will crack.
 

Al_Bundy

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Has anyone recommended a Tungsten Anvil? It can stay Solid even after reaching the boiling point of iron, and it's the strongest metal on Earth.
I believe tungsten is the hardest metal to forge. It shatters under extreme pressure.
 

Paul Harrell

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Also, no, it will not. I've tried it, the cinder blocks will very quickly crumble. Find a nice flat rock or piece of steel.
I'm not sure if what you're referring to is the black tarnish that forms when it gets wet? I had that happen and hand sanitizer melted the black off like it was nothing. Before applying the hand sanitizer it was an incredibly tough, thick coating.
 

Seb

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I'm not sure if what you're referring to is the black tarnish that forms when it gets wet? I had that happen and hand sanitizer melted the black off like it was nothing. Before applying the hand sanitizer it was an incredibly tough, thick coating.
It was hard water deposits from my well water. I took it to a jewellery store to have it cleaned but it's not the ideal way to do it as you remove material with physical cleaning. Oxidation, tarnishing, and hard water depositing are chemical processes, there ought to be a chemical solution/reversal.
 

Ethan_Allen

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Old days blacksmiths usually worked double duty as farriers [horse shoeers]. Making a horse shoe or a knife involve pretty much the same processes and skills. You can still find farriers anywhere there are horses. I'd suggest working part time or weekends with a farrier -- that would teach you the basics.

Protect your hearing. Otherwise you'll be deaf as a stone by the time you're 50.
 

MeanMaster

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You'll need an anvil with a flat surface. Railroad track makes a poor anvil because it's top surface is curved. You could attempt to flatten it but getting a waste piece of heavy H beam from your local welding shop would be cheaper and a lot easier.

Invest in some firebrick for your forge's liner. Be sure not to use the kind that will give you lung cancer.

Also, your hammer's striking surface should be flat as well, and no sharpness to it's edges. Keep it as smooth as possible and you work will be vastly improved.
 
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