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*** Getting started ***

Getting started is half the battle, we have to fight inertia and fear and laziness and busyness and so forth, just to get started on something new. So I would like to suggest a way of starting on blacksmithing that is easy and simple. One way, I'm sure there are lots.

For blacksmithing you need 5 things:

[1]something to hit

Just about any piece of iron will do for blacksmithing, but if you want to make a knife or an edged tool, you need steel. At the local scrapyard you will find all you need. Leaf springs, coil springs, drive shafts, discarded pry bars, all of these are made of steel, often very good steel at that.

[2]something to hold it with

Tongs are a big part of a blacksmith's tools, you need one for each type of stock you're going to use. That said, if your piece of steel is long enough (around 2' or so), you can hold it with your gloved hand and you don't need tongs. I often work a piece of steel like that as far as I can before I switch to tongs. A simple pair of vise-grips are good enough to start with.

[3]something to hit it with

Just about any kind of hammer will be good enough to start with. Be careful to not use a hammer that is too heavy as it's real easy to damage your arm like that. Plus, a heavy hammer will tire you out quickly and that's when accidents happen. So get a nice, light hammer to start.

[4]somewhere to hit it on and

Traditionally this would be an anvil of some kind, the flatter the better. There are many ways to improvise here, from a piece of found steel to a sledgehammer head, they all work and will get you started.

[5]something to heat it up with.

Most people struggle with this one. One easy way is using an old pot, a piece of junk pipe and a hair drier. A big old soup pot will do. Cut out 2 slots across from each other, wide enough so the pipe can rest in them and be about 2" off the bottom of the pot:

Next block off one end of the pipe by either welding it shut or screwing a plug in or even just bending it over on itself. It doesn't have to be pretty, but it has to be able to withstand heat. Drill a line of 1/8" holes in it, as long as the inside diameter of the pot. Now on the open end you have to fashion something to connect the pipe to the hairdrier. I've used a metal can that I've cut open to make a funnel of sorts. Just ductape it closed, this side won't get as hot:

To protect the bottom of the pot you can use clay (certain kinds of kitty litter) or even sand or ash from a fire. Whatever you place in the bottom will pretty soon be covered with the ashes from your fire anyway. That finishes the making of the forge, THE HARDEST PART! Please email me with any and all questions at sharp at replacing the "at" and the space on each side of it with a @.

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