Beginning Experience

When it comes to smithing and armor, I have little experience with the crafts. However, I have quite a passion for making things with my hands and also for weapons and armor, so I intend to continue and eventually take some blacksmithing classes.

In high school, I completed a project on swordsmithing and I spent sixty hours in total working at a forge where I made a long knife, a short sword, and a pendant.

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This was the first time I had ever worked in a forge and I had only my research and one person who could offer me some very basic smithing advice. The lady who helped me had had some experience in artist blacksmithing, but had never forged a blade.  I set to work at my first available chance because this was something I had wanted to do since I was ten years old.

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Smithing is some of the most difficult work I have ever done, but I enjoyed every moment I spent at the forge. The blades I made were never intended to be functional. Since these were my very first projects, I used low carbon or mild carbon scrap steel in order to eliminate cost for the project. I knew it would turn out crude, so I didn’t want to waste any good materials.

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I began with small square stock and took twelve hours to make a long knife just as practice before I began on my sword, which was originally intended to be a longsword (pictured above).  I failed to have any pictures taken of the forging process for the knife, but I took photos after the completion.

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After forging the blade, I heated the square stock area that would be the handle with an oxy-acetylene torch and used two pairs of vice grips with ground off teeth in order to twist the handle. I then ground and sanded the blade. It didn’t turn out well, but I didn’t expect it to. I just did my best with the full intention of perfecting my art through practice.

My next project, as said before, was intended to be a longsword with a swept single edge, but I later found stress fractures at the midpoint from where I attempted to flatten out the arch created by working one side too much, but I allowed the steel to get too cool, so it fractured.  I ended up having to cut it off and make a short sword.

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The short sword project was never completed, but I still intend to finish it someday though this project is now four years past. Despite my many mistakes, I am pleased with my accomplishments using only research and hard work.  I intend to learn from a real smith someday and continue to improve!

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6 thoughts on “Beginning Experience

  1. Just read your post Beginning Experience and hey – it looks like you did okay. I didn’t see where you are located, but go to http://www.abana.org and look up a local affiliate near you. There are of course the Bladesmithing Associations as well, but I always recommend that one gets some regular blacksmith experience first. It is a natural first step. Plus they can help you with finding your basic tools. I noticed you mentioned using two pairs of vice grips to make your twist. A nice 10″ adjustable wrench would make it easier for you and you just clamp a vise grip on it to keep the twist straight. I have done a lot of minimal tool stuff over the years and learned a good bit of them through other smiths. Well I will read your other posts soon and look forward to reading your future adventures. If you need advice don’t hesitate to ask. Speed and accuracy will come on through practice. Don’t concern yourself with speed concentrate on accuracy and what you are doing. There’s so much to say, ergonomics, hammer control, work comfortably, don’t lock yourself into what and how everyone else does something. You might just pass up a good idea that way. Watch other Smiths, you will learn a lot just from watching how they work and how they strike the iron with a hammer. Okay – Good Luck – Have Fun – Do it Safely!!!! See ya at the Forge!!! Vince

    • I am in North Carolina, near Asheville, but I will check out the ABANA site to see if there are any local chapters! Thank you so much for all of the advice! It is all very helpful! I do not have many posts yet but I am glad you are interested in my blog! I currently have a propane forge but it scares me, to be honest, so it ended up being a waste of money. I intend to go to a junkyard once I get the time and money and I plan on getting one or two brake drums to make into a forge and several leaf springs from vehicles since I know those make excellent blades. Thanks so much! I’ll read more of your posts once I get the chance! -Victor

    • Thanks so much! My only reason for walking away was I do not have the gear at home. I am hoping to build a forge and start again once I graduate from college in May! Thanks again and best of luck to you!

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