When an art smith makes small leaves or flower petals, say, it seems the
stuff would cool very quickly. Does one heat the anvil, or hammer under a
torch flame, or what? Work really, really fast?
Well, at least don't heat it up a lot. For those of us who work in
areas with all 4 seasons a mild preheat of the anvil can be quite
helpful. I'm talking about changing the temp from below freezing to
say 60-70 deg F.
Gobae - The Smith
I once saw a film about Japanese saw makers. They forge out
VERY thin blanks from tool steel. Here is the trick they use: Instead of
forging out each blank one at a time they stack 4 or 5 blanks and forge
they out as a bundle. They shuffle the blanks periodically so the outer
most ones do not distort to much. Care must me taken not to overheat and
weld the blanks together. This might not work well if the "leaves" you
are trying to forge are really small. This will depend on how dexterous
you are with tongs. Another way that might be more successful is to make
a set of spring dies or invest in a fly press.
Glen G. in Pgh.
Another method that also works is to use a scrap piece of plate (very
much like a cutting block), heat this along with your leaf, and lay the
leaf on top of the plate on top of the anvil. The scrap plate will help
to keep the leaf hot without the leaf touching the anvil directly.
And, by the way, as you work throughout the day, your anvil will tend
to get hot. Sometimes it gets to hot to leave you bare hand on.
Hope this helps,
I have seen, (but not tried) using a heated flat chunk of iron as a heat
supply sink for the small part, it was tacked or wired to the hunk of
metal and even placed into the forge fire that way, it helped the small
part resist burning. Not sure if it is common practice among art
forgers or not, but it did seem an interesting take on the problem of
keeping small stuff hot.
On 17/3/05 6:33 pm, in article
email@example.com, "Austral> Greetings,
It depends on the leaf form but it is quite easy to maintain the heat in a
small piece by just hitting it hard and fast. If you ever get the chance to
see Uri Hofi demonstrate, take it. One of his party pieces is to heat a bit
of 6mm bar and not only forge a leaf in one heat, but also to let it cool to
black and then bring it back to red heat by hitting it fast.
to have a rep like he does i was more than a little surprised when i googled
him and looked at his work... he's supposedly one of the best... yet the
pieces i saw that he made... the guys on this forum from what i've seen
exceed by far in design and beauty IMO
The guys around here work the stock both hot and cold. Heat it up and
while forming and tune it up while cooling. The heating, even if the
color goes away fast, tends to anneal the work and therefore reduces the
likelihood of cracking.
One guy I know heats a 1/2' thick plate to about 1800 degrees and
lays it on the anvil to warm it up in the winter. He has an unheated shop.
If you hit small stock fast enough and hard enough, you can actually
keep it glowing until your arm gives out! I have seen old time
blacksmiths take a cold 5/16" dia. rod and heat it up to glowing just
with the hand hammer. You forge the end as though you were making a
square nail, working constantly to point the end. Don't try this with a
cold anvil! I can't do it, quite. I can get the rod to go through all
the temper colors and turn gray again. But, I can take a 3/8" rod, heat
it to glowing, let it cool so the color goes away and then reheat it to
glowing with the hand hammer. This is only to make a point about
hitting hard, fast and acurately.
One other answer is: don't heat it at all! Or at least don't
necessarily heat it work it. If you use very low carbon steel, it
doesn't work harden very readily. You can work it for a while, heat it
to anneal it, work it some more, etc.
Lol... wasn't dismissing the guy by any means... just left a lil unimpressed
by the work he displayed on his site... an accomplished smith as he should
have far more intricacy on display... I'm the new guy, not the old pro, but
I've seen some very impressive work out of the guys on that newsgroup... thx
for the warning though lol
p.s. if i offended anyone with my post i apologize... certainly didn't mean
it as a dismissal or derogatory remark... just the honest opinion of an old
Yup, that's one of the tricks they pulled. They also used that method
to light a cigarette. I thought of doing that in a demo, but I quit
smoking many years ago and am still afraid that, if I had one in my
mouth, I'd start again.
Let me say tho', that it's a great way to develop hammer control. To do
this, you have to make every blow count and your 90 degree turn each
time has to be prefect because you don't have time for any corrective
blows. Corrective blows take enough time to examine that you loose
heat. Even good smiths are pooped by the time they have done it.
Also, since you are hitting cold steel, it can be pretty hard on the arm
and hand if you do it a lot. And, not the thing to do on a soft anvil.
Carl West wrote: