I want to go to next BAKCA meeting. It suppose to happen every second Thursday of the month. BAKCA website looks abandoned and has no contact phone. Does anyone know if these meeting still taking place? I don't want to spend an hour driving and find no one there.
BTW I hope to find a bladesmith who can show me forging technique. I don't have forging equipment yet(I am doing stock removal) but would love to try to make integrals.
Well, first you need fire, the bigger the better, you can always turn it down for small projects, but you can't always turn it up. Next, you'll need hammers and long handled tongs and some sort of anvil. I started with a chunk of railroad rail, which served me well for years, so be innovative, you don't need to spend big bux on this. For fire, I suggest gas for several good reasons. It's clean, once you get set up you don't spend 90% of your work time futzing with the fire like coal, it's easy to come by, the neighbors don't complain about the small mountain of black rock in your yard, and the EPA stays off your back. For heavy shaping, use the biggest hammer that you can comfortably control, then let the hammer do the work. Gravity provides the momentum, you just steer. The old adage; 'don't force it, use a bigger hammer' applies here. Most carbon steel alloys will form easily at medium orange; when it cools down to red, back in the fire. Medium orange translates to about 2200 degrees, red works out to about 1500 degrees. With a little practice, you'll be able to 'feel' the difference, and the sound will change from a wet thunk to a klang. Forging moves metal around. Think about where the metal is going to move to with each hammer stroke. If it gets thinner under the hammer, it gets longer on each side of the hammer. Plan ahead. A little solid geometry helps here. You'll still be finishing with stock removal; no one can forge a mirror finish, unless they use a die set and a really big press. Just beat it to the general shape and finish off with files and grinders. If you need a 'nonstandard' hammer shape, don't hesitate to make it yourself from commercially available hammers. Polish the faces, every surface flaw will be faithfully transfered to the work. You'll need flat faces as well as crowned faces. The more crown, the more the metal will squeeze out to the sides. This is not bad, this is how you draw out length. Digest this, and next time we'll take up grain size.
Gosh Egg, I don't know what to say. Sure, make me famous. It's not like this is rocket science, or 'Nashunul Securaty'. We've only been doing this for about 8000 years, we're bound to get it right sooner or later.