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Step 4: Blacksmithing 101

Before we go on, here's a crash course in blacksmithing.

Simple blacksmithing (Bentley calls it "primitive," which is right), requires only a hammer and any flat, hard surface. It's easy to make useable wood and cold chisels, spade type drill bits for wood, and to shape screwdrivers and make simple twisted end pliers and blacksmithing tongs.

Blacksmithing is a craft where you make the tools to make more tools, a great way to build up a tool set and even sell extras to raise money for the purchase of the hard-to-build tools and materials.

Rebar works as a material for making tools. It has enough carbon so it can harden into drills, chisels, star drills, and other edged tools. You can bend it, hot or cold, to form hacksaw handles and brace-and-bit drills. And you can forge it into tongs or knife blades, and larger diameter sections can become digging bars, axes, hoes, and picks for digging.

For simple blacksmithing, heat iron or steel in a fire (charcoal, coal, natural gas or coke are best) with enough air flow to raise the temperature until the metal glows bright and red. While it's hot, you can shape the metal by hammering, bending, or twisting it. The iron or steel is hot enough to work when a magnet won't stick to it. When it cools to a dull red color, put it back into the fire to heat it again before you continue.

Avoid heating the metal to a bright yellow or white because that heat will destroy the metal's useful properties. If you want the metal as soft as possible, heat it to a bright red and let it cool slowly in the ashes of the firepit. If you want to harden steel (iron won't harden like this, only steel), heat it to bright red and then quench it in water or even used motor oil.

Properly hardened steel will be very hard to cut or even scratch with a file. The problem is the hardened steel is very brittle, it will break off if edged or struck with a tool. To make a useful tough and hard tool, the now hardened steel has to be reheated to a straw color for wood cutting tools, and to a dark blue color for metal working tools. That is called tempering.

The exact temperature and color will vary with each different type of steel, so once you learn what is best for one type of steel you can reproduce the results you want. It's a learning exercise. If it comes out too hard, reheat a little more and check again, this is safe since you won't overheat it and lose the edge holding qualities. If it comes out too soft, you can reheat it to bright red and reharden and try again.

You likely won't get it right the first time, Bentley says, so try again and again. You will get it right eventually, Bentley assures us.

[For more, here's a good guide. And please see Flamesami's comment on the Intro page about different types of metals]
<p>SOUND'S PRIMITIVE ENOUGH TO GIVE ME GOOSE BUMP'S. I NEED MORE. THANK'S [ VLAD ]</p>
<p>good idea</p>
<p>good idea</p>
<p>If you Need a hammer, and you have no suitable metal hunk available, I used a fist-sized rock as a kid.</p><p>Great instructable. </p>
Thanks...:D
Very good instructable. I'll try to make some of those tools.
About pushing vs pulling blades- <br> This is one of those false arguments. There is only one way that a flimsy toothed blade like a hacksaw blade can function, and that's being pulled. It's the very reason that you use the blade 'pulling' with no saw frame. The only difference is whether it's pulled by the front or back of the saw. Now, would you rather pull on a blade from a sturdy attachment point close to the handle (control), or an attachment point out on the end of an at least somewhat bendy tube or rod? Pulling toward oneself is the stronger, more precise option. Especially when the saw frame is less than ideal (As soon as the frame bows even slightly one is threading an arced blade through the cut). <br>It's also less likely that one will bear down ones weight through the saw when cutting by pulling, and each tooth of the blade can slice (as it was designed to), instead of digging into the target material and 'catching'.
Very good instructable, but I have to point this out - there are many types of steel, all of them different. If you sort Iron/steel by carbon content, it would be something like this: <br>Iron - almost no carbon <br>&quot;mild&quot; steel - very little carbon, difficult to harden <br>&quot;medium&quot; steel - more carbon, still difficult to harden <br>&quot;high carbon&quot; steel - lots of carbon (I think up to 1%) hardens easily (springs, files saws are usually good sources for this) <br>cast iron - so much carbon it's brittle <br> <br>all of these forge differently, and harden differently. the lower the carbon content, the harder they are to harden and so need a faster quench - oil is slowest, then (I think)water, brine and &quot;super quench&quot; which is water, salt and detergent (Google it for correct proportions) <br>If you know what the steel is, you know more about how it might behave - O2needs an oil quench, for example <br>rebar is usually a mishmash of steel, usually mild to medium, but some is medium to high carbon <br> <br>yes, I'm a bit of a steel geek :) <br>(also, a hammer can be made with a thick rod of steel and a &quot;hot chisel&quot; or punch
Good info, thanks! I'll post a note about your comment on the Blacksmithing step.
This puts visually observable phenomena to the words they used so it might be useful:<br> <br> <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spark_testing" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spark_testing</a><br> <br> But now you're going to have to expand your tool set to include a high speed grinder.
Nice Instructable. <br>You could score the faces of the pliers with the the hacksaw to improve their grip.
Huh. Good idea.
Very good instructable, but I have to point this out - there are many types of steel, all of them different. If you sort Iron/steel by carbon content, it would be something like this: <br>Iron - almost no carbon <br>&quot;mild&quot; steel - very little carbon, difficult to harden <br>&quot;medium&quot; steel - more carbon, still difficult to harden <br>&quot;high carbon&quot; steel - lots of carbon (I think up to 1%) hardens easily (springs, files saws are usually good sources for this) <br>cast iron - so much carbon it's brittle <br> <br>all of these forge differently, and harden differently. the lower the carbon content, the harder they are to harden and so need a faster quench - oil is slowest, then (I think)water, brine and &quot;super quench&quot; which is water, salt and detergent (Google it for correct proportions) <br>If you know what the steel is, you know more about how it might behave - O2needs an oil quench, for example <br>rebar is usually a mishmash of steel, usually mild to medium, but some is medium to high carbon <br> <br>yes, I'm a bit of a steel geek :) <br>(also, a hammer can be made with a thick rod of steel and a &quot;hot chisel&quot; or punch
This great! I took a smithing course where we first had to make all the tools we needed to do smithing! What a great experience. great 'ibble.
Super cool instructable.
WOW, these tools are amazing! <br> <br>In 1968 I was at military service and they ask me If I could do some rustic drills to make holes on hard wood. I accepted, and made three of them. The chucks were simply an additional rod, parallel to main axis, fastened using a tube, hammered. The drill bits were purchased, square stem.

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