Sword Sharpening Service in Indiana

Did you know that Brown County Forge offers a sword sharpening service?

Terran the Blacksmith is happy to sharpen any bladed tool from knives to axes to longswords.

Sword Sharpening Service in Indiana

Sword Sharpening Service Indiana - Brown County Forge

New customer Beck brought in his longsword this afternoon.

His goal is to have it competition-ready with a clean edge and a new polish.

The sword is almost four feet long from pommel to point.

The Sword Sharpening Process

First, Terran assesses the condition of the blade.

He observes these key points:

  • Any chips or hairline fractures.
  • Bluntness along the length of the blade.
  • Nicks and gouges on the flat of the blade.
  • Any visible rust.

Beck’s blade is well-cared for so all it needs is a sharpen and polish.

To get it ready for competition, Terran follows these steps:

  1. Hand-filing the edge from hilt to point. Maintaining a micro-bevel along the length of long blades takes practice and patience.
  2. Any marks and scratches are polished out using finer and finer grits of sandpaper.

Sword Sharpener Indiana - Brown County Forge

Next Day Service

The sword is ready for pickup the next day.

Most bladed tools will be ready within a few hours. If you arrange to drop it off in the morning, it will be ready by afternoon.

Axes or knives in very poor condition may take longer. Terran is happy to provide quotes on costs and timelines.

How Much Does It Cost?

Sharpening swords properly takes time. For a sword like Beck’s that is in good shape, it will take an hour or so.

The shop hourly rate is $45 per hour for most services.

There is a sliding scale depending on exactly what you need done and your budget.

The most important thing to Terran is that you have a functional edged tool.

Sword Sharpening Blacksmith - Brown County Forge

Want to Learn More About Blades?

We cover knife making basics every Saturday throughout the year.

You will gain the knowledge you need to take care of all of your bladed tools.

You can get more information on the Classes Page.

Seymour Indiana Student Project

Seymour Indiana - Blacksmith Classes - Brown County Forge

Jeremy from Seymour, Indiana Forges a Fire Poker

Seymour Indiana is just under an hour from Brown County Forge.

Jeremy made the trip west for the 10 AM Beginners Class at the shop to forge his own fire poker.

In the 2-3 hour Beginners Class, students have the option to make one of three items:

  • A traditional “J” hook.
  • A bartop bottle opener.
  • A fire poker with a twist in the handle.

Beginner Blacksmithing Classes - Indiana - Brown County Forge

The decision about what to make usually comes down to what they would find useful.

The goal of every project and product that comes out of the shop is that it look good and be useful.

Jeremy opted for the fire poker so he could use it when he goes camping with his family.

Hammering It Out

Seymour Indiana - Blacksmith Classes - Brown County Forge

To forge the fire poker, we need to get the steel very hot: over 1500 degrees Fahrenheit.

The glowing yellow-orange you see in the photo is the steel’s color straight out of the forge.

Now we have about 15 seconds to hammer on it before it gets too cold again.

We do 30-40 heats per project in the Beginners Class.

The Blacksmith Equipment We Use

Having the right equipment definitely makes it easier to blacksmith.

Jeremy used one of our 70 pound NC Tool Company anvils as his work surface.

Some benefits of this lighter anvil:

  • You can work steel up to 1 inch thick.
  • It’s easy to move around by yourself.
  • It costs a lot less than larger anvils. (A 70 lb, anvil like this will run you about $280.)

Other tools Jeremy used:

  • A Majestic Knifemaker Economy Forge – This is a two-burner forge made by a company based in Ohio.
  • Centaur Forge V-bit Bolt tongs for holding on to the fire poker while he forges it.
  • Vaughan 2.5 pound blacksmith’s hammer. A very solid hammer that has held up for almost a decade of steady use.

Was the Gentleman from Seymour Indiana Successful?

Absolutely!

Jeremy came away with a great fire poker that he forged on his own.

He was proud of what he was able to accomplish with no prior experience.

I think this gift from his wife was a success!

Metal House Number Review from a California Customer

Metal House Number Review California - Brown County Forge

A Recent Metal House Number Review

When I hear back from customers with their feedback, like the metal house number review below, it means a lot.

I really enjoy designing metalwork for customers and making sure they get exactly what they need.

To give you some background, this house number plate was ordered through the Brown County Forge Etsy shop by a gentleman from Northern California (Sacramento area).

From the beginning we had good communication. I was able to correct a situation that could have been challenging for him.

The number plaques I offer are made out of 1/8-inch thick stainless steel. This helps them hold up against all weather conditions.

They won’t rust or corrode whether they’re near saltwater or in the desert.

The situation we ran into was related to mounting holes:

  • I prefer to leave the house number plates without holes to have a smooth finish, but I’m happy to drill out mounting holes.
  • He was looking for a plate with mounting holes.

Here’s the Review:

Metal House Numbers Review California - Brown County Forge

“We had been looking for metal house numbers for a bit. Brown County Forge’s stainless steel sign was perfect for us. I erred in not asking for the pre-drilled holes in the corners (make sure you specify if you want that). Terran (the owner) could not have been cooler about speedy communication, receiving the item back, drilling the holes for me and sending it back at no extra charge. Overall, I could not be happier with the purchase.”

What Happened

I had already shipped the number plate and sent him a note with mounting instructions.

After reading instructions that didn’t include screws or mounting holes, he contacted me to clarify things.

I then realized the miscommunication and offered two options:

  1. I laid out how he could drill the holes himself.
  2. He could send the house number plate back to me as soon as he got it, I would drill it out, and send it back at no additional delivery charge (I refunded his return shipping).

Ideally, these situations wouldn’t happen, but it’s all part of doing business.

You won’t always get it exactly right on the first try.

I’m grateful that the California gentleman was gracious and allowed me to create the perfect number plaque for him.

9 Common Blacksmith Terms to Know

Common Blacksmith Terms - Brown County Forge

If you’re familiar with Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, you’ve come across blacksmith terms before.

The coyote is always scheming to drop an anvil on the roadrunner, but ends up getting flattened himself.

In this post, I’m going to lay out 9 common blacksmith terms to know.

1. Blacksmith Terms #1: The Anvil

Now that blacksmiths are a lot less common, our first introduction to anvils probably came from watching Looney Tunes.

It seems like some cartoon character was always getting turned into an accordion after being flattened by an ACME anvil.

For blacksmiths, the anvil is one of the most essential pieces of equipment.

It’s where all the work gets done.

All traditional anvils have a similar shape:

  • Horn – for bending hot metal
  • Face – the flat area where you do most of your work
  • Hardie – the square hole used for tools with square posts that fit into the anvil
  • Pritchel – the round hole used for punching holes and making holes wider through drifting
  • Neck – the center mass of the anvil
  • Feet – the base of the anvil

2. The Forge

Blacksmith's Forge - Brown County Forge

This blacksmith term can be confusing sometimes because it refers to two things:

  1. A forge is the blacksmith’s shop, the building where he or she works.
  2. The forge is also the contained fire that the blacksmith uses to heat up metal. (The above photo is of a propane forge in my shop.)

Brown County Forge refers to the blacksmith shop where I work.

Inside that blacksmith’s shop, there are a couple of forges I use to heat the steel I hammer on.

Forges can be coal, gas, charcoal, or wood-fired.

The two most common fuel types for forges are coal and propane.

Charcoal and wood are less common because they aren’t as efficient. Meaning they don’t get hot enough or they burn up too quickly.

3. Blacksmith’s Tongs

Tongs of all types are used to pick up things that are too hot for your bare hands.

Whether it’s a steak on the grill or steel from the forge, it’s the same idea.

Blacksmiths rely on tongs in two ways:

  1. To keep distance between their hands and hot metal.
  2. And to grip the hot metal securely while they hammer on it.

There are many, many different styles of tongs out there. Each type is suited to picking up and holding a particular size of steel.

Some tong types are more versatile than others, meaning they can be used for many different projects.

The type of tongs I use most often in the shop are V-Bit Bolt tongs. They have square jaws that make it easy to pick up round, square, and flat pieces of steel.

I use them for 98% of the things I make in the shop.

4. Blacksmith’s Hammers

Blacksmith's Hammer - Brown County Forge - Terran Marks

Blacksmith’s hammers are a little different from common claw hammers:

  • They weigh more: 2-3 pounds vs. 1-1.5 pounds.
  • They have a cross peen on the back rather than a claw for pulling nails.

You don’t need a cross peen hammer to hammer on steel, though.

As long as your hammer is at least 2 pounds and it’s manageable for you, you’re good to go.

Common phrase that we use today: To go at something “hammer and tongs” means to be fully committed and working hard.

5. Drawing Out

Drawing things out means to make them longer.

You’ve probably come across this term in everyday life if you’ve been frustrated that someone is drawing out a process that you think should already be finished.

That blacksmith term comes directly from blacksmithing.

To draw out a piece of metal, you:

6. Upsetting

If drawing out makes things longer, upsetting is the opposite: it makes things shorter and often thicker.

You upset steel to make corners and to bulk up pieces that are too skinny.

7. Hardening and Tempering

Tempering Steel - Brown County Forge

Hardening and tempering are the two components of heat treating.

First you harden. Then you temper. Always in that order.

If you only harden your steel, it will be very tough, but also very brittle.

To make it useful you need to temper it to relieve some of that brittleness.

You’ve heard the phrase “to lose your temper.”

This comes from blacksmithing.

If you lose your temper, you’ve probably gotten your piece of steel hotter than you meant to. You’ve lost control.

The same is true when we lose our tempers. We’ve lost control.

If you’ve ever been in one of my classes, you’re familiar with a couple types of tempering:

  1. The soft back draw temper which is what we do in class.
  2. The oven tempering process – something you can do at home.

8. Losing Your Heat

As blacksmiths we need the metal to be nice and hot to be able to work it effectively.

If you lose your heat that means the metal has gotten too cold – usually around cherry red in color.

When you’re first starting out this can feel kinda stressful, but it doesn’t need to be.

If you lose your heat, you just put the steel back in the forge and heat it again.

There’s never a rush in blacksmithing. If you’re rushing, there’s something wrong.

9. Quenching

Quenching is an essential part of the blacksmithing process.

Contrary to movies and TV shows, you don’t quench everything that comes out of the forge once you’re done hammering.

Quenching is a controlled, intentional cooling of the metal to get a specific result each time.

When you quench a knife, you mean to harden it so it’s nice and tough. This is the first half of the heat treating (hardening and tempering) process.

If you quench part of a hook to make a bend, you won’t necessarily want to leave it hardened. So you will heat it back up to reverse the quenching process.

What do you use to quench?

The quenching liquid that we use will vary depending on the project:

  • For fast localized quenching, we use water. This is common when you’re making hooks and other decorative items.
  • In knife making, we use oil. Motor oil is common, but I prefer vegetable oil. It’s a good, inexpensive quenching oil. It also smells a lot better than burning motor oil.

9 Common Blacksmith Terms

Common Blacksmith Terms - Brown County Forge

The world of blacksmithing is full of blacksmith terms, but there’s just a handful to get you started.

From the anvil to basic tools to quenching, there’s a lot to get into.

If you’d like to keep learning more, check back on this blog regularly for new posts!

You can also send me questions at the shop email address:

browncountyforge@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!

Decorative Brass Wall Hooks for California

Decorative Brass Wall Hooks - Brown County Forge 2

One of the orders this week was for a set of decorative brass wall hooks for a customer in California.

Most of the time I work in steel to make coat hooks and oar hooks, so taking a break with brass is a lot of fun.

The processes for working with each type of metal are very similar:

  • Softening sharp corners and edges.
  • Making decorative hook ends.
  • Bending the belly of the hook to a set size.

There’s one exception to working with brass vs. steel, though.

Steel you work hot to make it soft enough to bend.

Brass you work cold because it is already very flexible.

How Big Are the Decorative Brass Wall Hooks?

Each decorative brass wall hook is 3-1/2 inches tall, 1/2-inch wide, with a 1/2-inch wide hook bend.

They’re fairly small and make good hooks for hanging handbags, keys, and small items.

They come with matching brass screws so they’re ready mount right out of the package.

What sort of finish do the decorative brass hooks have?

Decorative Brass Wall Hooks - Brown County Forge

I give each hook a hammered finish using the back of a small, 8-ounce ball peen hammer.

I also soften the edges of the hook with the ball peen.

Each hook ends up being slightly unique, but they make a nice, bright matching set.

What Kind of Care Do The Hooks Need?

Like most brass hardware and fixtures, you may need to polish them from time to time.

Brass will tarnish if left alone and not used.

Your best way to combat that tarnishing is to hang your things on them and to use them.

The light friction and rubbing that happens when you do that will help keep them shiny and bright.

If you find you need to polish them, here are the steps to use:

  1. Unscrew them from the wall.
  2. Lightly rub them with a brass polish like Brasso or similar natural polish.
  3. Wipe clean to reveal the renewed bright finish.
  4. Remount them on the wall!

More Information On Our Brass Hooks

You can read more about the brass hooks I make in the Brown County Forge Etsy shop here:

browncountyforge.etsy.com

You’ll find all the brass hooks under the Shop Section “Brass.”

Have questions about other hooks?

Feel free to send me an email:

browncountyforge@gmail.com