News and Announcements

Interested in learning about blacksmithing? Read this!

--News & Announcements--
Upcoming projects:
Building a Frame Saw
Forging a Copper Kettle
Making a pair of leather work boots
Forging and Fletching a Bodkin
Flocking a drawer interior

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


As I meet more of the outstanding craftsmen of our time and diversify the interests of my own creations, I have accumulated a great deal of information and sources for materials. Here is a list of useful links I have come across. I will continue to update this as time goes on and with any community recommendations.

***Links to the same website will be to DIFFERENT pages pertaining to the specific sections***

EDIT: Links to McMaster Carr searches automatically redirect to higher subcategories. I apologise for the less direct link to specific items on this site.

Armour Archive: Extensive database for historic armour patterns.

Bladesmith's Forum: Without doubt the best community of bladesmiths out there. Excellent information and friendly advice from practitioners of the craft both new and old.

Cartographer's Guild: Exactly what it sounds like. Filled with cartographers around the world where you can see the work of others and share your own for critique.

My Armoury: Wide database of historical arms and armour, both originals and historically inspired modern interpretation.

National Novel Writing Month: A happening place especially in November, but filled with resources for writers all year. For anyone interested in writing, this is the place to go.

Wood and Shop: A very nice forum dedicated to hand tools of all kinds, although mostly relating to woodworking.

Wood Talk Online: One of the best and largest woodworking forums around. Great people and filled with excellent knowledge of all woodworking disciplines.

-Friends in the Craft-
Robert Burns (Wilderness Ironworks)
Josh Burrell
Andy Davis (Coal Ironworks)
Dave Stephens
David DelaGardelle (Cedarlore Forge)
Eric DubĂ© 
Eli Sideris
J. Arthur Loose
Jake Powning
Jesus Hernandez
Jason Kraus (Northstar Forge)
Lee Sauder
Luke Shearer
Myles Mulkey
Nate Runals
Nathanael Brandt (Coal Ironworks)
Peter Johnsson
Petr Florianek (Gullinbursti)
Jim Austin
Owen Bush
Ric Furrer
Scott Roush (Big Rock Forge)

-General Suppliers-
3 Rivers Archery: Archery supplies for fletching, string making, and bow building in addition to a wide variety of commercial archery products.

Alpha Knife Supply: Best in the business for knife parts, tailored more towards the folding knife community but also offers other materials and hardware.

Blacksmith's Depot: Tools for the smith. All varieties and sizes, excellent quality and fast service.

Lasco Diamond Products: Rotary bits at the best quality and cheapest prices I have seen. Carbide, tungsten, felt, aluminium oxide, diamond, etc. with various shank sizes.

Luthier Mercantile International: Resource for instrument crafting from wood to tools and information.

McMaster Carr: Almost anything industrial can be found here from hardware to sheet metal to safety equipment. Reasonable prices, fast shipping, and good customer service.

New Jersey Steel Baron: The best steel out there for blades, stainless and non. Aldo is a great guy and knows the craft. There is nowhere better to turn, and if the size you need is not available, just give him a call.

RioGrande: Source of non-ferrous metals, casting tools/equipment, and jewellery making supplies.

-Tools, Materials, and Equipment-
Anvils, Stakes, and Forms
     -Refflinghaus: Where I purchased my anvil. Dick is friendly, helpful, and professional. Great customer service and outstanding anvil quality. Refflinghaus anvils are hard, flat, and have excellent rebound. They ring like a bell unless securely attached to a stand, but once they are, they are nice and quiet.
     -Old World Anvils: Smaller block and stake anvils in additional to full sized. The 4x4x4 block/stake anvils are perfect for shops with space constraints.
     -Dishing Forms: Ironmonger Armoury. Most of the other armouring forms here are not regularly stocked.
     -Stakes: Robert of Stokewood Armoury. Great tools made by a great guy who uses them for a living.
-Swage Blocks
     -Blacksmith's Depot

Abrasives, Grinding and Sanding
-Belt Sanders
     -Wilmont TAG (what I use)
     -Esteem 2x72 (Brett Matthews)
     -KMG 2x72
     -Wuertz Machine Works-Abrasive Belts
     -True Girt: Great prices and range of grits/sizes.
     -McMaster Carr
     -Phoenix Abrasives: Good customer service.
-EDM Stones: Used for polishing and sharpening.
     -Mold Shop Tools
-Water Stones: For sharpening. I mostly use them on edges that require a straight line (chisels, plane blades, etc.) and when I do not want a slightly convex edge ground by a belt sander.
      -Shapton Ceramic Water Stones: Do not require the same long soaking as other water stones and are much slower to dish.
-Files: Never buy files from the hardware store if you can avoid it. They are often of a severely lesser quality than when bought from the manufacturer.
     -MSC Direct.
-Rotary tools
     -Foredom Flexshaft Drill: Flexible shaft rotary tool with adjustable speed foot pedal. Excellent tool that I have used extensively and highly recommend.
     -Rotary Bits: Lasco Diamond Products. Long lasting quality, best prices by far I have ever seen, and great customer service and shipping time.

Bowyering Supplies
     -Feathers: Custom Feathers. Solid feathers for fletching, reliable service and one of the few sources for undyed pointers of a good quality.
     -Adhesives: 3 Rivers Archery
     -Arrow Shafting: Twig Archery. Call for current stock before ordering.
-String Making
     -String thread: 3 Rivers Archery.
     -Serving thread: 3 Rivers Archery.

     -Graphite: Legend Inc. I use the 'Budget Graphite Crucibles' and have never had any problems.
      I use these for melting steel as well as non-ferrous metals.
     -Silica/Clay: RioGrande. For non-ferrous metals only.
-Casting Investment
     -Satin Cast: RioGrande. Can also be found elsewhere.
-Silicon Mould Making: For making duplicates of wax carvings
     -OOMOO Silicon Rubber: Smooth-On. No vacuum chambers needed.
     -Other Silicon: RioGrande. Best to have a vacuum chamber for these.
-General Casting Equipment
     -RioGrande: You will need to refine the search a little more here. Everything available from casting flasks to melting furnaces and casting machines, investment, wax, etc.
-Wax: For carving models of pieces to be cast or to fill silicon moulds made from a master.
     -Primary/Master: RioGrande. Colour represents different properties (soft, hard, machining, etc.)
     -Secondary/Duplicate: The softer the better, easily fills moulds without an injector if the vent is large enough. Minimal shrinkage and aeration, although a little cleanup is needed.
     -Sprues: RioGrande.
-Sand Casting
     -Delft Clay: Oil sand, many people recommend this but I have never tried it personally.
     -Bentonite Clay: Used as a component for making greensand. It seems they do not offer it any longer, but that could be temporary.

     -New Jersey Steel Baron: The best around, no doubt about it.
     -McMaster Carr: Source of mild carbon, harder to find tool steels, and sheet metal.
     -Blacksmith Bolt & Rivet Supply: Exactly what it sounds like. Great selection of rivets and other fasteners.
-Precious Metals
     -RioGrande: Sheet and wire amongst other convenient base forms.
-Casting Grain
     -RioGrande: Bronze, brass, aluminium, pewter, nickel silver, etc. Mostly grain rather than ingots.
     -McMaster Carr: Lead, Bismuth alloys, zinc, bronze, tin. Mostly ingots rather than grain.
     -Meteorite Market: Great selection of mid size and large meteorites at the best prices I've been able to find. Eric provides great customer service and the shipping was quick.

     -Bell Forest: Great selection of smaller sized exotic and figured wood.
     -Small Chisels: Lee Valley. For the price, quality, and application to what I need them for, there is no better set of chisels out there. I have the "Detail Carving Set of 5" and has everything I need with nothing I don't.

-Tandy Leather Factory: Many physical stores across the US. Best to purchase any leather in person. Also carry a wide variety of leatherworking tools.
-Weaver Leather: Higher quality leather than Tandy, although a little more expensive.

High Temperature Equipment
     -Inswool: High temperature ceramic fibre blanket used in forge/furnace linings. Rated at different
      temperatures depending on the grade.
     -Superwool: Alternative to Inswool.
     -High Temp Tools: Variety of refractory coatings for forge and furnace construction.
     -IR Coating: High Temp Tools. Helps increase thermal efficiency of combustion chambers.
     -High Temp Tools. These can also be found locally or through ebay.
-Venturi Burners
     -T-Rex Burners: Hybrid Burners. Some of the best venturi burners out there, although expensive.
-Temperature Measurement
     -K-Type Thermocouple: Omega. There are hundreds of thermocouples offered through Omega if this one does not suit  your needs. Note the connection type.
     -Digital Thermocouple display: Amazon. Any compatible device will work for temp readout. This one needs an adaptor to work with the above thermocouple, as it is the mini K-type. Read more below in the useful information links on thermocouples.

Other Tools
     -Blacksmith's Depot: Wide selection of speciality hammers at decent prices
     -Sam Salvati Hammers: Beautiful, comfortable, and hand made hammers by Sam Salvati. Usually
      available only on request. Sam works at Baltimore Knife and Sword Co.
     -Quick and Dirty Tools: Solid tongs in a variety of styles at reasonable prices.
-Hardy Tools: Fullers, forms, dishes, forks, cutters, etc. that fit in the hardy hole of the anvil.
     -Blacksmith's Depot
          -Cutoff Hardies
          -Cones and Bickerns
          -Bending Forks
          -Forming Stakes
          -Additional Forming Stakes
     -Chasing Tools: Saign Charlstein. Also available here is pitch to secure/support the piece.
     -Chasing Hammers: Blacksmith's Depot

-Mercy Supply: Hand made leather and canvas goods, highest quality.
-Duluth Pack: Hand made packs.

-Useful Information-
EDM Stones: What they are and the differences between the many types available.
Chasing Hammers: How to choose one and what a little behind the form.
Thermocouples: What they are, how they work, and the different types.
Don Fogg style forge: How to build a simple, effective blown burner forge.
Heat Treating and Metallurgy: Information from the master smith Kevin Cashen.
Peening Rivets
Sword Typography: Different sword classifications
     -Petersen and also this
     -Geibig Viking Sword Typography
     -Wheeler (Viking Age)
     -Behmer (Anglo-Saxon Migration Age)
Hearth Steel and Aristotle Furnaces by Lee Sauder: How to construct the furnaces and detail behind the process of refining steel.
Bloomery Furnaces: Another article by Lee Sauder. Turning ore into steel. Similar reading found here.
Steel Making: Articles by Jesus Hernandez.
The Evenstad Papers: On shallow hearth steel refinement

-Recommended Reading-
The Complete Bladesmith by Jim Hrisoulas: Introduction to knifemaking.
Mastering the Fundamentals of Blacksmithing by Mark Aspery: Introduction to the skills demanded by any blacksmith presented by one of the best of our time.
The Traditional Bowyer's Bible: Set of four volumes on the art of bow making.
The $50 Knife Shop: Beginner's guide to establishing a working metalsmith's shop.

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