Fun projects, for a beginner?

Hey guys, it seems santa is bringing me an anvil for x-mas. My RR anvil will have to work for a while, and hopefully, with a real anvil, it will be
transformed into a more "specialty" kind of tool. (too much money and time spent on that damn thing to give up now!)
Anyways, i was just kind of kicking around on the web, and was wondering what kinds of fun, neat little projects would be good for learning? I was kind of thinking, like an old fashioned "triangle"--a dinner bell? I saw a lot of cool stuff made from RR spikes, and i have a 5 gallon pail of those--maybe some fireplace tools?
I like stuff that is useful, kind of rustic... Just wondering what you guys might suggest, for someone just getting into the whole process? I am pretty limited in my "teachers" and rely mainly on books, but am planning to join the Alabama Forge Council soon. They host weekly meetings, and I'm certain to soak up a lot of info there.
Still, just wondering what kinds of things you guys learned on? I'm interested in "buckskinner" equipment too---flint strikers, perhaps a neat set of tableware (for my rustic cabin, which at this point also doesn't exsist!!).
I'm just out of college, and don't have ANY kind of "disposable income" (jeez, if YOU guys have some income to dispose of--email me, and dispose of it to my student loan people!). But this is a craft/skill i seriously want to learn.
I'm getting a better grasp on steel hardening/tempering, from early (and current) attempts at knife making with stock removal, and am developing a pretty good set of tools on that front. Still, I would like some ideas on projects that would be fun, but also teach the essentials--drawing, cutting, .....
Thanks for any input. I would also like any input on putting "fancy" stuff on the objects--decorative twists, textures (i saw some very neat leaves, and more "delicate" things forged in steel)....
LOTS to learn, but i got nothing but time (and an anvil on the way, via santa!) Thanks again for all the stupid questions--and more importantly, the intelligent answers to them!
John
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Bpyfiend wrote:

Hi Anvilfire.com has a page called "iforge" that is all demonstrations of projects, with pictures. Some of the demonstrations are easy for beginners, some more advanced. Thats where I get alot of my projects. I'm just a beginning blacksmith and our situations are pretty similar.(just beginnig with no disposable income)
Scott
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Howdy:
Don't sell that RR track anvil short. After all...wha an anvil is, well it's just something to hammer on. Waaaay back when (say around 1500 years ago) the typical blacksmith anvil was about the sive of a large cantaloupe (and alot were much smaller than that) and the smiths back then did some wonderful work!!
It's not the tool that makes the work, it's the smith.
As far as what you can do...start out with simple "s" hooks, this will teach you to draw, point and basic bends and twists. When you get these down, proceed to somehting a little more dificult like a trammel hook. Add to your skills as you master ones you are just trying. NONE of this is that hard.
Good luck..
JPH
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On 14 Dec 2004 04:47:43 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Bpyfiend) wrote:

You musta done something right for santa to be so generous. Thats great news and I'm sure you will find a good use for that RR anvil. I'll be glad if santa brings me a clump of coal. (no, really!)

RR Spikes are great for all kinds of things. I've upset them to fit my hardie hole, drawn them out for vines and stems. They make great snakes. They are just right for fire tools for the coal forge. Hay hooks. I cut out wood to fit behind horse shoes, scrollsawed into the wood pictures of our horses, fastened RR Spikes to the shoes as door knockers (there wasnt really any forging involved in that though, now that I think about it, although you could make that knocker just as fancy as you wanted). Letter openers are something you need to for sure make with some of them.

No problem, I just emailed you all my extra income :)
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make mine a buncha clumps... Pocahontas nugget would be great...
(Bpyfiend) wrote:

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Bpyfiend wrote:
[deletia in places]

You can never be too rich, too thin, or forge too many hooks.
--
Tom Stovall, CJF
Farrier & Blacksmith
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wrote:

Hmmm, the first thing I forged myself,, back when I was 12 years old, in my grandfather's shop was a double edged dagger,, it looked great (to me,,but then I was 12 at the time) Gran'pa said it needed to be heat treated,, so he heated it up to cherry red and dunked it into a bucket of water,, I think he knew ahead of time what would happen,, it shattered into too many pieces to count,,he just said "That happens some times when you heat treat steels,, some you need to cool in water some in oil and even some in air. Not only that but a double edged knife isn't any good for anything other than a weapon. You don't need one. Here's another piece. Start over." My parents still have that second piece, single edged, straight tapered blade, full tang,, they've been using it as a letter opener for the past 36 years,, even though it's still just a bare blade with no handle scales
Bear
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Bpyfiend wrote:

Well John, you're gonna need tongs, lots of them. Straight ones, curved ones, bent ones, weird ones. You're gonna need hardy hole tools for the new anvil, shapes to form stuff on. You might even need a few weird hammers for those really strange shapes. These are all fairly simple 'get hot, pound to shape, clean up with a grinder' projects, and they build you a tooling set in the process. Making tongs will teach you how to make matched pairs and mirror images. Making hammers will get you how to punch forge holes in stock without removing the metal. Making things to fit the hardy hole will teach you tapers and mass forming larger chunks of stock.
Charly
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Anybody here played around with making chimes or bells and such? I was wondering what the ideal properties of metal would be to get the clearest long lasting tones? I assume hardness would be a major factor but I've seen musical stuff made from so many different metals I'm not entirely sure about that. Then there's geometry. Anybody doing this kind of thing? I've always had a bug to try making tuned wind chimes that actually have a musical key and progression. One of the coolest things I've seen was a piece of playground equipment with some giant tuned pipes that you could bang on and make melodies.
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