1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.


  2. Click here to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Boker Urban Trapper Cocobolo , Bladeforums.com swag or memberships!
    Be sure to read the rules before entering, then help us decide next week's giveaway by hitting the poll in that thread! Entries close at midnight, Saturday June 15!

    Once the entries close, we'll live stream the drawing on Sunday, June 30 at 5PM Eastern. Tune in to our YouTube channel TheRealBladeForums for a chance to win bonus prizes!

    Questions? Comments? Post in the discussion thread here

    Also, previous Live Stream Prize Pack winner, ooitzoo, has chosen to "pay it forward" with his knife that he won and is doing his own giveaway, check it out here: https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/nib-cold-steel-prolite.1663761/

I'm about to really dig in

Discussion in 'Hammer & Tongs' started by Gunmerc, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Gunmerc

    Gunmerc

    124
    May 19, 2015
    Ok where to start, I have never forged a blade, period. It is something I've had an interest in since childhood. I tend to jump in head first. I own a business and have a dedicated 32x38 shop, that is not part of the business. This is my space. I like to build and tinker. I have everything except a 2x72 grinder, forge, and power hammer. I live close to someone who has a Little Giant 25lb hammer that is in perfect condition. Like better than factory new. I am in the process of building my own forge. I have the means to buy a nice grinder. Am I carried away in wanting to get the tools before the experience? I'm having some guilt over buying before trying and need some advice. I'm 45 and don't just jump in without a lot of thought. I have had a thing for anvils for a few years and have accumulated quite a few nice ones. Up until now I have not had the time to forge, but it seems like I might have time to follow this strong pull towards bladesmithing/blacksmithing now. I know if I buy the tools I'm lacking, mainly the power hammer and grinder that I won't lose a lot if this isn't for me. What to do. Hooping for some incouragement or the opposite. Thanks in advance. Hammerfall
     
  2. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Go over to your friends shop a few weekends and get some forge and anvil time under his instruction. If it feels good after a few blades, get the grinder and make a forge. A power hammer is nice, but learn on a 2# to 3# hand hammer.
     
  3. Gunmerc

    Gunmerc

    124
    May 19, 2015
    I don't have any friends that forge Stacy.
     
  4. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I misunderstood about the power hammer. I thought it was someone you know.

    Kansas has a lot of makers, IIRC. I would recommend you checking with the Kansas Custom Knifemakers Assn.:
    http://www.kansasknives.org/about-us.html

    They hold hammer-ins and symposiums.
     
  5. AlaskanHunter

    AlaskanHunter

    296
    Nov 23, 2013
    Stick with hand hammers until you have a good feel for how the metal moves under the hammer. If you start with a power hammer, it's like trying to ride a Yamaha YZF-R3 before you know how to ride a bicycle. It'll help you mess up faster and worse. You can learn to smith without a mentor, if you have lots of patience and do your research. I started that way, but if you at all possibly can, spend some hammer time with another smith! I learned more in 2 hours with an experienced smith than I had in the previous month of forging every weekend and most evenings.
    It's a big investment to start off with, but I would recommend getting a good variable speed 2x72 to start with if your serious about wanting to make blades. Wait on the hammer for now, learn the bicycle before hopping on the Yamaha. If you can, befriend someone with a blade smithing "set up" and make 1 or 2 blades with them before you make a big investment in tools. If you love it, get some tools and start having fun, if you find it tedious and not as enjoyable as you first thought, you haven't lost anything.
     
  6. Gunmerc

    Gunmerc

    124
    May 19, 2015
    Good advice
     
  7. Augus7us

    Augus7us

    687
    Oct 9, 2014
    I went the route you are talking about and essentially went whole hog when outfitting my shop early on. Here are a few pieces of advice from what I learned.

    First I realized I was overwhelmed. Now personally I had never done any of this, wiring up a shop, safety, proper usage of some tools I've never used, etc. So if you have some back ground in say machining and already have a shop you may be a bit more ahead of the curve than I was. I did turn wrenches on bikes and cars with my dad and some other stuff so I wasn't completely green but it was a lot to take in and still is.

    Second knife making is difficult. I don't know if its youtube, this website or the internet in general but a lot of people seem to think knifemaking is easy. Not saying you are one of them but being you need only a few pieces of wood, a bar of steel and some pins and you have all the raw materials you need to make a knife, I can see how it could be easy to underestimate the difficulties in making a nice knife. But it is a real challenge to come close to some of the nice pieces you see on this site from veterans who have many years of doing this under their belt.

    Back to being overwhelmed. In the first year and a half I had just about every geeneral tool a knifemaker would want save for a mill and lathe. That includes a powerhammer. However the problem I had was that while I was still trying to learn to grind clean bevels, improve fit and finish and nail down heat treat... Many of these awesome tools sat idle collecting dust. I didn't hook up my powerhammer for a year. My surface grinder sat for a year before I cleaned it up and gained the courage to use it (only after calling a helpful forum member up and getting a crash course over the phone, thanks Javan!). And even after all this I finally decided to stop buying tools and invest in training instead. I took almost a month of ABS classes with Mastersmiths including the two week blade forging class. I can tell you that hands down it was the best thing I invested in. I learned so much from the helpful instructors including using a powerhammer that I came back and set mine up. Not only did I learn a great deal I also became friends with several knife makers at my skill level and well above to call on for help or bounce ideas off of. It was a tremendous help and I can't recommend that enough.

    In closing I would tell you that I don't ever use my power hammer to forge knives. I bought it for fittings, blacksmithing and damascus. I have tried it both in training and at home to forge knives and it is just way to easy to mess them up while its not that difficult to hand forge a blade with proper training. Plus hand forging a knife is like an art to me and I find it very therapeutic.

    I'm sure my way is not the norm and even though my dad was in the auction business and I got great deals on most my tools it wasn't cheap either. That said for me personally I enjoyed every minute of learning and satisfy my ADD bouncing between grinding a knife and rebuilding tools.

    I hope this helps and I wish you luck. Be sure to keep us posted and post photos, we love photos especially of cool tools!

    -Clint
     
  8. Gunmerc

    Gunmerc

    124
    May 19, 2015
    Augus you are probably right. I think I'm probably start by getting a 2x72 and finish building my forge. I am just drawn to the power hammer after watching a ton of videos, but know it's not something I have to have. I may hold off on it and get a bunch of material and belts. So many people love their hammers, and It seems the prices are not dropping. I do appreciate all the helpful input from everyone.
     
  9. Augus7us

    Augus7us

    687
    Oct 9, 2014
    I agree, they are fun to use and watch. I bought mine more because of the deal than the fact i needed one. I did want one but was planning to look into hammers and presses after I moved. However a good deal came up, the guy selling it offered to hold it for me for a week and I had to drive through one of the rare blizzards we seldom get in Ohio out of state to meet this guy. When I got there he told me he had 16 offers to pay more and some were hostile because he wouldn't break his word. We loaded it up and I gave him an extra $50 for helping us and for not selling it to someone else.

    Prices not dropping was the main reason I bought it, second was the urging of my wonderful girlfriend telling me to buy it so she doesn't have to listen to me bitch about missing it for the next month :D

    If you can afford it and the price is to good to pass up, I'd pick it up if its in the shape you descibe even if you don't use it right away smaller hammers don't come up for cheap very often unless its a box of parts.

    Good luck

    -Clint
     

Share This Page