After years of requests Steve has bowed to the call for basic Blacksmithing classes. No.. not the normal you get elsewhere, but
The question we often get is how hard is the anvil. This is not a simple question.
Hardness depends on several thngs, including:
The argument for forging with a small hammer vs. a larger hammer is much like the argument of which truck is better, Ford or Chevy. If you've been forging for a while you probably have an opinion on this. Hopefully, if you have been forging for a while you also have tested your opinions as well. Have you forged with a larger hammer enough to know it is not right for you?
Use flux or not? The real question is do you understand its purpose?
Flux is used to reduce the temperature at which the surface elements (scale, impurities, etc.) become fluid on the surface of the metal. It protects the surface from erosion due to air or gas blasting against the metal. Therefore if you do not use flux you must raise the temperature enough to make the elements on the surface fluid.
In the USA bituminous coal is divided into high-volatile, medium volatile, and low volatile groups. Metallurgical grade Blacksmithing Coal would fall into the low-volatile group. The higher the volatile rating the more the coal fire will propagate or spread. Lower volatile coal SHOULD coke without moisture being added. Herein lies the rub.. Adding water does several things that work against us.
Punch, Drift or Mandrel
For Hawks and other stuff
For some reason there seems to be some confusion on these terms, especially when it comes to tomahawks. SO… let’s take a look at some definitions first.
Did you know it was common for traditional struck tools, which sometime get lumped into the hammer category, to have a STRAIGHT EYE. If these were handled at all it was often with a branch or wagon spoke lying around.
Whether you live in the coldest, driest climate or a humid hot one your wood hammer handles are alive. When you get a new hammer the manufacturer hopes that they have installed the wooden handle in such a way that it will stay tight.