Unrelated Drawing made Dec. 14, 2008

Forging a fish.

Jock Dempsey April 3, 2003

Starting with bar larger than for an equivalent sized leaf.

Point the square bar as short as possible.

Neck it down like making a leaf but not so thin. Use a fuller or heavily radiused edge on the anvil. Try not to taper the "tail"

Make as near diamond shape as possible but leave the tail as full as possible.

Flatten on edge but not a thin as a leaf. Do not thin the area going to the tail but flatten the tail also. Don not thin it all the way, you need thickness to support the work.

Taper the body to the sides like a spear point.

With the body off the edge of the anvil thin out a spine and dorsal fin.

Clamp in a vise and cut the mouth slightly below the "nose" or on center, depending on the fish. Open the cut and hammer a piece of round bar held sideways across the cut to round out the mouth. Hot rasp the lips round.

Use an eye punch to punch the eye and in the same heat use a curved chisel to cut curved gill slits below and behind the eye.

Radius the area going into the tail

Apply some scale marks if wanted. This can be done with a "U" shaped chisel or the pein end of a ball peen hammer made into a texturing tool. A few rapid taps with a special hammer is much easier than doing it with a hammer and chisel.

Take another heat and repeat on the opposite side.

Now, with either a blunt cold chisel or tightly radiused hammer peen, texture the spinal and dorsal fins working with the body off the anvil as when you thinned them.

Working over a fuller or the horn of the anvil thin and spread the edge of the tail where you are going to cut it off the bar and then cut over the hardy or with a saw.

Holding the nearly finished fish in tongs texture and finish spreading the tail. Using a small round file like a chain saw file cut half rounds between the spiny areas of the spinal and dorsal fins.

TADA! A fish. . . In this case bigger stock is easier to work than smaller once you have done the initial forging. I would use 3/4" bar or 5/8" smallest. For the first one you may want to do the basic forging and then make the special tools sized to suit. After that you have the special tools ready at the start and THAT makes things move faster.

The same techniques could be used on pipe. However, you would want to start by using a fullering tool to make the nose back from the end of the pipe and then cut of the extra. Then fuller for the tail. Working the spinal and dorsal fins would have to take into account the small amount of material available to pinch out.

With pipe when you open the mouth you could REALLY open it. Gills could also be cut through and opened.

After cutting off at the tail you may want to open it, flux and then forge weld it. Then finish thinning and shaping the tail.

After making a few you should be ready to be an iForge demonstrator!

Happy Easter,

Jock D.