Finding Tools



I've read some pretty horrible/crazy ideas for starting out (beating on a rock "anvil" seems like pure suicide to me, even if you know your rocks), so I'm just trying to glom some info from more experienced/ scarred types. I think I have it down to the basics: forge (likely gas and purchased, I have not the time for a build job with unfamiliar materials), hammer (more garage saling to be had; cross peens are hard to find), tongs (Channel Lock pliers and a few vise grips) and an anvil (rail). I'll pour any profits from pounding down scrap back into getting better tools. Thanks for everyone's help!
SF!
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By George, I think he's got it!
Just FYI: Doesn't _have_ to be a purchased forge. A fellow I know started out heating his small work on his kitchen stove burners. (Electric and gas both work for small stuff. What his wife said about that is still unknown and he ain't sayin', but he's a respected businessman in the reenactor community now.)
Some Africans use a 5,6-foot piece of clay or iron drain pipe 4" or larger in diameter. They knock a hole in the side about a foot from one end, rig a grate, hang the whole thing from a tree branch and light off a charcoal fire. The draft you can get in one of those is impressive and forging temperature doesn't take long to reach. (Tried it myself: It works.)
Doesn't have to be a cross pein: Anything heavy you can swing and that has a more or less flat striking surface is good. ( hand sledge, drilling hammer, ball-pein, even a carpenter's hammer as has been mentioned -- That pesky neighborhood mutt is right out though.)
Rail, old "I" beam, piece of more or less flat thick steel stock from a junkyard, hunk of rock, if all else fails. (OK, the rock thing _is_ a bit extreme, but it's been done and may still be being done someplace.)
The only thing you absolutely must have is safety glasses or goggles.
I may get flamed for this, but: avoid wearing gloves when you start out. A long enough piece of iron will not get hot enough at the held end to hurt you before you notice it. If it gets too warm, grab it with tongs and cool the end in the slack tub. Shorter pieces will help you learn to use and appreciate tongs quickly -- and encourage you to make some.
And always remember:
The Blacksmith's Mantra
It's only pain. (Oh, shit!) It's only pain. (DAMN!) It's only pain. (Awwwww F*CK!!!!) It's only pain.
When you react to someone telling you you're afire by telling them: "Well, put me out, dammit, I'm busy!" you will have achieved Blacksmith satori. (Or at least the same mild insanity that afflicts the rest of us.)
Welcome to the craft!
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Try this link http://64.176.180.203/washtubforge.htm its simple and easy, you have all the tools needed - drill and angle grinder - and the cost is minimal. Replace the blower with an old hairdrier, cut a slot in the pipe outside the forge(side of the pipe) and slip in a bit of tinplate cut out of the side of the washtub, to use as an air gate, and your running. the whole thing shouldn't take more than a couple of hours to build, tops You could run charcoal, coke or coal in it, but coal makes lots of smoke., cost should be very low to nill if you look around for stuff.
Regards Rusty_iron

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Save Ferrous! wrote:

two rocks.
one as a hammer, other is an anvil.
once you've got those, the rest is a matter of skill and time - only thing I would recommend you buy is a post vice - a big bench vise is OK, 'til you shatter it with the big hammer (DAMHIKT), and they are very difficult to make (the trick is to make a ratchet&cam tightener, not a screw type)
_any_ blacksmith tool can be made by hand eventually - even a power hammer if you're so inclined.
A pair of tongs is 2 pieces of bar riveted (or bolted) together at the hinge. heat the gripping end orange hot, put a piece of stock between the ends, and hit them. You'll have a pair of tongs custom sized for your stock.
A fuller is a 1/2" bar - lay it cross ways on the hot stock, and hit.
Hot chisel? An old hatchet.
Flatter - lump hammer
--
BigEgg
Hack to size. Hammer to fit. Weld to join. Grind to shape. Paint to cover.
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You really should have an absolute minimum of two tongs. One flat and one curved for round stock. Trying to hold round stock in a flat tong can allow the stock to swing around and -get- you. A bunch of flea market vise grips can be modified as needed and will work pretty well. The longer the vice grips the better for obvious reasons. Angle iron welded to the jaws and ground to suit your needs will sometimes give better results than anything you could buy. Railroad track will work pretty well and can be shaped to your needs with a grinder. Even after you get a regular anvil you may find yourself using the RR track you modified for special jobs. It's more fun to make things with tools you built yourself. But you probably won't want to spend -all- of your time making tools (or maybe you will, it's fun) so you'll have to decide what your time is worth and if it's better to make or buy. My rule is "if it's cheap buy it, if it's expensive try to make it myself". Above all, have fun. 73 Gary
wrote:

Gary Pewitt N9ZSV Sturgeon's Law "Ninety percent of everything is crap"
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as you grow and learn the blacksmithing trade you will find out that a great deal of the time we blacksmiths work is in the making of tooling, fixtures, jigs, etc. in short, a guy can do anything if he just rigs for it. have fun, mark
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