Trying something new and could use some advice

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Bill Siegle, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Bill Siegle

    Bill Siegle KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2000
    OK I’ve ordered an anvil and Forge from Atlas. Finally decided to try forging some blades and stuffs :) All my research lead me to Atlas for those major components. What I now need is recommendations for a hammer(s) and a set of tongs(or 50). What would you all suggest for first time buyer? I’m looking at keeping things minimal but I also want to have what I need when I fire up the first time and I’m pretty sure my old drilling hammer and Vice Grips aren’t going to be optimal :)
     
  2. A.McPherson

    A.McPherson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 27, 2012
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  3. 3fifty7

    3fifty7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 24, 2016
    Vaughan hammers are decent and good value for the money, I believe most are made in USA. I like a 3lb cross peen or straight peen, along with a 2 lb double face, also I find a tac hammer is nice for fine work like peening tanks and pins.
    Functional tongs aren’t difficult to make, really nice smooth strong tongs kinda are. I’d make a couple pair and buy one after you’ve used yours a little.
     
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  4. Skiller1nc

    Skiller1nc

    70
    Jun 27, 2016
    I bought 5 sets of tongs from Ken's iron store. They are precut and you have to do some light forging to assemble them. The forging practice you gain, as well as the price to buy these made it a no brainier for me. I would do it over again.
     
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  5. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
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  6. tkroenlein

    tkroenlein

    171
    Dec 10, 2016
    Both of those links above are great for just about everything.

    I'd suggest a rounding hammer and a cross pein to start. Stay at or under 2 1/2 lbs. for either one.

    Watch some YouTube videos on dressing the hammers.

    Start with a couple pair of flat jaw tongs in appropriate sizes for the thickness you intend to work with, 14 reign is pretty good length.
     
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  7. HSC ///

    HSC ///

    Nov 7, 2012
    I've tried half a dozen hammers including custom made hammers, I prefer the Vaughan hammers. reasonably priced and the balance and weight feels right to me.
     
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  8. Joshua Fisher

    Joshua Fisher KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    563
    Mar 27, 2018
    I actually use a 3lb hammer from harbor freight every day, I modified it into a rounding hammer so I have one flat face and one round face, I took the time to round all of the sharp edges on the faces and polish them, took the finish off the handle which makes it 10x more comfortable, you could even turn one into a straight or cross pein hammer and they are very cheap to start off, I’d say it’s better to spend some money on good tongs and start with a cheap modified hammer. I’d start with the 2lb and work up to a 3lb hammer. A cross or straight pein gives more control over the direction you are moving steel if you really need to stretch something a specific way, but I prefer a rounding hammer for most work. Just check that the head isn’t loose in store before getting one.
    https://www.harborfreight.com/3-lb-hardwood-engineers-hammer-69013.html

    https://www.harborfreight.com/2-lb-hardwood-engineers-hammer-69226.html
     
  9. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I would not buy that Bladesmith package. It is just them trying to sell anew knifemaker lot of stuff they don't need.

    For a good starter hammer from Blacksmith Depot, either or both of these is a good 1kg starter hammer:
    https://www.blacksmithsdepot.com/products/hammers/forging-hammers.html/nordic-hammers.html
    https://www.blacksmithsdepot.com/products/hammers/forging-hammers.html/habbe-hammers


    Get a few pair of the "Economy Import" tongs from Blacksmith depot. I would start with:
    1/4X1.25 Box jaw
    1/4 X 1" or 1.25" Z-box
    1/4" V-bit.
    Flat closed or pick up

    Another useful tong is a 1" combo-blade tong
     
  10. Will52100

    Will52100

    Dec 4, 2001
    I used one like that for many years, to the point I've changed the handle twice. Still use it on occasion even after learning to forge my own hammers. Don't over think it, and if possible visit a local smith to get ideas. For a long time I only used a few flea market tongs I'd found. I am a welder so I'd weld rebar or such as a handle to eliminate the need for tongs. Learning to forge tongs is a great skill to learn. I really recommend https://kensironstore.com/collections/quick-tongs They are basically tong blanks and doesn't take much forging to make nice tongs.

    One good resource is Wayne Goddard's $50 dollar knife shop. Lots of good ideas and information on getting started on the cheap.
     
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  11. Bill Siegle

    Bill Siegle KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2000
    Thank you all for the advice :) I’ve been looking into all the offered advice and have received a very generous offer from a local Bladesmith to visit his show and actually try out a bunch of different hammers and tong types :D
     
  12. swonut

    swonut KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 1, 2007
    I get all my hammers at flea markets, twenty bucks gets me five or so hammers, two of which will need a new handle. A little time on the grinder and they are what they are. Don't underestimate how much you'll use a small hammer.

    Also don't underestimate the ability of a set of long reach needle nose pliers from harbor freight. Both the straight and angled one's get probably as much use as tongs, especially for my smaller stuff.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  13. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    I just got a forge from Atlas. The Graham blown forge.

    I still need some tongs and an anvil ( I have a steel cube that may work in a pinch).

    Just got my first basic 2x72 grinder and am just starting to learn.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
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  14. Josh Rider

    Josh Rider Stuff maker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 2, 2014
    If you have the money, I’d recommend a good handmade hammer. When I upgraded my anvil and hammer, my results noticeably sped up. Not saying anything against store bought hammers, in fact I didn’t even think about hammer hardness being a big deal until after talking to Rick Marchand about it.
    A good quality hammer will be heat treated right and will be dressed. Jakob Faram makes some great hammers, Nitzan Lilie, Dave Custer just to name a few.
     
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  15. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    The Atlas anvils are good and well priced. Same site you ordered the forge from.
    .
     
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  16. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    I love my hammers from Sam Cobb/Hilltop Forge. Got cross-pein and straight pein. Turned out I needed the straight more than the cross because of the material shape I was working with, but both are kinda necessary.

    Got several sets of Tom Tongs, which are offshored, but have been fine - especially for the price. My second go at making my own set of tongs for a very specific lift came out... serviceable (NOT pretty!). I want a set of Matt Parkinson's tongs, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
     
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  17. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    We are getting ready to cut a bunch of tong blanks on the plasma cutter.
     

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