I recently aquired a forge through a local buy/swap/sell group and I have been keen to try my hand at doing some blacksmithing. To do this I needed to make some additions to the forge and get myself something to hammer one (and a hammer, but I already own one of them). Now just to get some things straight here, I have no idea what I’m doing. All I have done is watch youtube videos, like this one and these ones. Let’s look at the forge mods first, and see how things went.
The forge that I obtained was a pretty basic setup made from an old truck break drum and it didn’t come with a blower. It had a point to attach a blower and I own a shop vac with a blower attachment, so I thought I would connect the two together. I sketched up an adaptor in SolidWorks and printed it out on the 3D printer. The end result was pretty good, didn’t need any supports and printed nicely. See it on thingiverse here.
Now I had a forge that could work, I need something to bang metal on. I had seen a few people who have used bits of railway track to make anvils, so I thought that would be a good start. I happened to live across the road from a railway track that had just been re-done. When the workers had finished they left a few lengths of track behind, and one of them ended up in my shed (after 20mins of trying to carry the thing to the car).
Cutting to Length
I had just acquired a bandsaw for my last birthday, this one, which did the trick nicely. I cut about 450mm off the ~2m length that I had managed to lug to the car. It required a couple of cuts, as the throat on the bandsaw wasn’t big enough to handle the full depth. You can see this in the video.
Making a Horn
I wanted to have a bit of horn on the end of it, rather than just a flat anvil. Not owning a 9″ angle grinder or an oxy torch I decided to do the bulk of the cutting on the bandsaw. As the saw I have can be used in the upright position as well, I drilled two 13mm holes through the track and cut into these from the edge. I was then able to turn the track around and cut out the middle. This left an undercut section that I could shape into a horn. I then used my little 4″ grinder to cut and shape the end, see the video for some of this process, and below for in progress and final shots.
Blacksmithing Round 1
Once all this was completed I was able to have a try at blacksmithing. The video and final photos show the end results. It took a long time to get the fire going, and there are quite a few things to change and improve next time, but I am keen to get into into.
Improvements to be Made
- Anvil needs to be lower to the ground. The current position is much too high and I can’t hit the work piece properly.
- The forge is way too big for what I need. I need to make a way to contain the fire and fuel in a smaller area. Thinking I might use some more railway line for this.
- The vaccum cleaner turned out to be too powerful so I might go back to an air bed inflator that I have. The air bed inflator puts out much less air, and also isn’t anywhere near as loud
- Steel was too cold before trying to shape it. From looking back at my video the steel was much too cold when I was hitting it. Hopefully with the above modifications I can get everything hotter before trying to shape it.
Below are some photos of my first attempt at blacksmithing.