Joe Babb demonstrated forge welding at the October meeting. Joe did both a faggot weld and a drop-the-tongs weld. See picture. Dropping the tongs is an important part of the process.
Faggot welds can be used to increase the mass of the end of a bar, do a welded hinge eye, or bind several pieces together. It is one of the easiest welds in that you only have to hold one piece. It is also one of the harder forge welds because you only have your eyes to tell you when the piece is at a forge welding temperature.
When you weld two pieces together, usually one is fairly small such as a handle. So the small piece gets held down by the longer piece, you drop your tongs (this time on purpose) and grab your hammer to complete the weld. In this case you need to scarf the weld joint. This helps to blend the ends so the weld is not so visible.
We talked about 3 different kinds of fluxes, Easy Weld, Iron Mountain, and Borax. There are many kinds and it seems that the best one is the one that works best for you. Forge welding requires much patience and practice and you must be willing to try many times and fail some before you find the best practice for you and your forge. Try using a pair of flip up sunglasses to reduce the glare from the forge so that when you come out of the fire to complete the weld you can flip them up and not have a big purple spot in your field of view.
The important things to remember are to upset the ends of the bars and scarf them properly, flux well to protect the steel from oxygen and help melt the scale, keep your fire clean, and get the metal hot enough so two pieces stick together in the fire. Oh yes, and practice, practice, practice.
On November 5th we had a knife workshop with Stephan Fowler. Steve led several of us in making a chef’s knife.
Here’s a picture of the forged blank which started life as a piece 10″x1.5″x3/16″.
Steve took time to explain to us various parts of the knife and why we were forging it that way.
Forging the handle area.
Better picture of Steve’s anvil. Note his fashionable kilt attire.