Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Bit of Blacksmithing

I've really been spending quite a bit of time towards of the end of this summer playing with metal.  I have attended my first event with my blacksmithing setup.  While I REALLY enjoy doing metal work it can be a rather large pain in the butt moving all the heavy stuff around.  I unloaded everything back to the garage for a week and then decided to attend a couple more events with the my metal working stuff.  I had two more events one week apart so I simply left all my stuff in the car for the week.  After the last event I'm not sure I'll load it all up again any time soon to take to an event.

Here are a few pics of my basic setup.

I use a coal forge with a large Japanese style double action box bellow.  The bellows produces a good volume of air on both the push and the pull.  I purchased the setup from an SCA gentleman who was moving and didn't want to make the move with all his heavy stuff.  The large anvil you see in the foreground belongs to the site where I was working that day.


I typically use hardwood charcoal to start the fire and then switch to coal for the majority of the work.  I lined my forge with a portland mix and then coated it with a layer of refractory cement.  It makes for a rather heavy forge but it works great.  One small modification I plan on doing is to cut a gap in the lip of the forge to allow for longer pieces to lay flat across the fire.  I find that heating a long piece requires a wasteful stack of coal to get the heat up.  If i lower the edge I should be able to get even a flat piece down closer to the hottest section of the fire.

Here is the setup at the second event I attended.
My basic setup includes the following:

  • Forge 
  • Bellows
  • Large vise mounted to a chunk of very heavy osage
  • Anvil
  • Anvil stand made from 2X10 planks sandwiched and screwed together
  • Wooden box for storage and using as a table for my tongs and hammers
  • Small collection of hammers
  • Small collection of tongs
  • Coal bucket
  • Water bucket
  • Ash bucket (for placing items to slow cool)
  • Canvas bags of various tools including files, punches, pliers, jigs etc..


While I wasn't formally offering a class I indicated that I'd be working on some demo pieces and anyone willing to play could come join me.  I had four different folks actually take me up on the offer.  We made some S-Hooks and wall hooks.

Here are some random pictures of the students and their work.  Unfortunately I was an attentive instructor so I didn't take as many pictures as i would have liked at the first event.

I was able to get a lot of my own projects done as well.  I will have to take more photos of the pieces later to post in a separate post.