The magic and Pure Alchemy of Iron

Posts tagged “Blacksmith

Not much but happy 2015.


                                                            OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



A few new forgings/creations. Day job continues to erode my forging time.

Summer Selections! lots of made to order designs ready to go!

I have the largest selection of made to order items yet and tons of in stock items! Please check out my Ebay and for the new items including some items on Ebay not available on Etsy.




New Creations April 2013 (Gallery) Jewelry and Knives.


     Detailed obscure Celtic amulet etched into 24 gauge brass.


Scandi edge riveted 1080 modern Viking knife.


Germanic -Anglo Saxon eagle etched in brass.


New smaller iron Mjollnir design.


Not metal but an antler Mjollnir!


Bronze Athame or Witches dagger.



1080 Scandi edge (utility) with stag handled.


Arm and Neck rings in Nordic bronze style.

A good variety of projects!


Iron: Maximum Hardness For Weaponry (1018) (Low Carb Steel) BULLET POINTS.



What We know:(1018)(Low Carbon)

If you heat iron and quench in water it will get a bit harder.

Quench in oil it will get harder.

Hammer while cold it will get even harder like copper/brass/bronze.

Forge in coal for long enough in the right circumstance you can carburize/surface harden.

Coal forging can help maintain carbon content.

What actually happens: Quenching.

Carbon molecules get trapped inside iron molecule formations causing a hardening effect. Less carbon=less effective.

What actually happens: Cold hammer hardening.

The crystal structure in the steel is forced to deform causing hardening effects.


All the above methods are true and work to some extent, but if you find your self in the Zombie apocalypse as has been a hilarious and enjoyable topic as of late then you may need some on the fly Macgyver skills in weapon creation.

Take you bar stock or junk steel: flat,square or round (Round/Square may yield better results than flat)

Hammer the steel flat or lengthen the flat by hammering on edge then on flat side (Were deforming crystals)

Continue to work the steel while hot and create as much of the blades form while hot (Edges, point, handle)

Once done with you shape use your Ball-Peen (Round side) to pit the flat body of the blade while hot. Do both sides thoroughly.

OK NOW STOP!!!!!!!!Do not quench!!:

You have through the above process changed the crystal structure of the iron by deforming it while hot. Allow to cool naturally until it is able to be handled.

It should be extremely hard if not impossible to bend at this point by hand. Keep thickness at around the thickness of “2 quarters”.

Place cold steel on anvil and begin using the round end of your Ball-Peen on the cutting edge and main body.

As you hammer,  the steel will continue to harden.

Straighten blade by hammering.

The blade will now be at maximum hardness and rigidity. If your edge is uneven simply grind/stone to desired level.

The result is now much harder, and more durable than quenching because the interior structure is effected more than when quenching in liquide.


This is now a primitive but formidable weapon with high durability. I had read some similar info a long time ago but I have always used this kind of material for ornamental purpose, after a week of forging a Athame and the quench actually softened the thin steel, I realized I had actually undone the hardening that occurred while hammering. This in my opinion is the best way to finish anything ornamental or otherwise when using a low carbon steel. The end result also looks beautiful! A good technique to remember when crafting an on the spot tool as well. Again nothing will ever make this as good as HC steel but this material continues to be the most fun to test and experiment with. Again not my own original concept I but it has been enjoyable testing it and coming upon it again in a way by accident. Good knowledge to have.

Final Note:

This process is more controlled less technical than carburizing steel. Carburizing only effects the surface to a certain depth allowing for a more durable surface to resist ware. This process actually effects the steel throughout and create a more uniform hardening due to deformation of the crystals. Example: hammering from round to flat causes major changes in the crystal structure and also forces more steel into a single area. Another form of this is “Edge packing” As described above when you create your edge by hammering in the bevels instead of removing the steel with a grinder.


Know what you have and how it works!


Blade (hot hardened) and then cold hammer hardened (No Quench). Will not bend or  budge.





Weld Gallery/Explanation.


   The blade above is as described in my last post, the very first really solid  forge welded blade I have done. Please refer to the last post regarding the change in techniques I made.  As you can see, some pattern is starting to show after acid cleaning. The circled area is where the fold was and did not weld correctly. If I would have continued to fold this would have solved itself but it was more an experiment on proper technique.  This material is just stock 1018 for practicing the welds. I used borax as the flux. Strength was increased greatly after folding for a low hardness steel. Forged in very high carbon content coal fire.


 Reverse side.


Another good clear shot of the folding points. These issues solve themselves throughout longer welding projects however this was consistently folded without issue and welded in a coal forge which I am very proud of, I built the forge and it works very well for this process as it reaches steel melting temps easily. Next project is doing Swedish lamination.  Surrounding 1080 with 1018 for max edge hardness and max spine durability.


Till next time!



Gallery November 2012 and Exciting new skills

More new images will be posted soon. In the mean time I will talk about my recent success with forge welding carbon steel in a coal forge. After many attempts with no success or unpredictable success I decided the other night to try 2 basic techniques and just see what happened. On the advice of a German smith I setup a miniature anvil right next to the fire so almost no distance existed between heating and hammering. Normally a distance of about 5 feet . The next thing was to change my attitude toward the process. I simply relaxed and worked gently and slowly instead of working fast and trying to get the welds done before the heat lowered.

Process so far:

I took a piece of general 1018 1″ x 1/8 stock and began heating it on my forge until orange and wire brushed it between heats.

I started using borax at the beginning before folding.

Bent the steel on to itself 1 time.

Fluxed and heated to Yellow/orange working it very gently on the anvil.

Heat and hammer gently morphing the two pieces together.

Tap flat-tap on sides.

Fluxing between each heat.

Wire brushing before hammering.

And as easy as if I had done it my whole life the first 2 layers were nicely welded together into a solid piece. After this I folded it one more time making a total of 3 layers and slowly gently  tapped it until it fully welded using the same process over and over again. The difference is patience, distance between fire and anvil and the smooth gentle hammering.  Now that I have  at least repeated work I can begin working toward doing Swedish laminated steel which is putting a piece of HC steel between LC steel to create a perfectly alloyed tool with strong durable spine and hard HC edge. I greatly look forward to these experiments.

A pattern in the 3 layer blade appeared after I acid etched it, it is very interesting to see how the carbon got distributed.  the strength of the blade when quenched increased amazingly from its original form but many mistakes also showed in cracked or partial welds. I kept the piece as a reference and will post photos soon. A good reminder of what needs to be corrected.


Until the next post.



  Oktober is in Nordic culture (Winterfyllith) The beginning of winter on the 31st. Happy Samhain as well. Very important month for us Barbarian people =)