July 20, 2006

Lessons for July 2006

Well, I've had a chance to heat up the forge this month - working on a hardie tool, my first pair of tongs, and straightening a car spring so I can use it as tool stock. As such, I have learned a few lessons useful to beginners. Keep in mind that I'm using hardwood charcoal right now, not coal. Charcoal seems to spark up alot, especially if it is a bit damp. Also, it doesn't seem to get as hot as coal. My metal turns to red or orange, but not to pale yellow or white.

I find that ripped and balled up newspaper with a few small twigs on top starts my fire quickly. Since I have a hand-crank forge, I give the kindling a gentle breeze to encourage it. It is best to forge in a long sleeved cotton shirt, a leather apron, and solid shoes that can't catch an errant spark.

Also, I just bought "New Edge of the Anvil" by Jack Andrews. So far, I am enjoying reading about the basic processes. I like the fact that he doesn't seem to leave any steps out. He starts with an overview of the equipment needed, as well as equipment that will be obtained in the future; then he starts the "working" part of the book with lighting a fire.

After I have built my first set of tongs, I will try to do a step-by-step when I make my next pair. I used the iForge tongs article on AnvilFire.