by Jock Dempsey
Instructional videos are quickly becoming an important part of every craft.
However, many are amateurish and no better than home videos.
Those by Big BLU Productions are professionally filmed and edited.
It has smooth transitions between scenes and a pleasant score.
It is a first class piece of work with a chapter menu so you can easily find what you want to see.
This is another great Big BLU production with lots of hot metal being moved the way it should.
The video was filmed at Oak Hill Ironworks in Morganton, NC USA.
The demonstrator is Amit Har-lev a talented Israeli blacksmith working for Oak Hill Ironworks.
Amit has his own web site, www.BlacksmithPro.com
This video covers many basics of hand forging and has tricks that even professionals can learn from.
Amit starts with a very brief statement about himself and then explains the origin of the Hofi system coming from the Habberman Family in Europe.
He then explains the basics of the system, where to stand, how to use the hammer, the advantages of the hand hammer type.
He also says. "My belief is there is no one right way to do things."
The first forging is of points and the mathematics of point are explained.
Amit demonstrates how to conserve heat while forging a taper so that there is heat to forge the tip of the taper last.
Detailed use of the hardy is explained and how to create a clean square shoulder on the piece being cut off, the bar or neither.
This is an exercise that every smith should practice (see below).
Amit discusses the need for good tools and equates good tools with love of your work.
He also demonstrates some tricks for keeping your tools well maintained while using better work technique.
One trick he uses is using two similar punches to make a hole.
Rather than quenching and possibly damaging the high carbon tool steel punch he uses a second cool punch to finish the hole from the back side.
While this may seem extravagant to need two of the same punch it makes good sense.
Hot work steels work up to a low red but they may also quench crack is cooled in water OR become too hard and brittle.
So slow cooling is the rule. But the IRON is HOT and you need to keep working.
So having two punches saves them from water quench damage.
This is a very good video for the beginning blacksmith or non-professional that could use some discipline in their methods (don't we all).
This video is a good place to start forging but it is not a "how to light a forge" or "how to setup a shop" video.
It is good straight forward instruction on basics by a well schooled professional.
The lessons are more than worth the price.
See also, Forging Solutions : Power Hammer Techniques
Published by: Big BLU Manufacturing Co.
Distributed in North America by:
Big BLU Hammers
Price $39 US (two of the series for $70)