Forging a Natural Looking Leaf

Ornamental ironwork requires some practice to develop the necessary skills. This project will help develop several forging skills, and provide attractive leaves.
Select a 18″ length of 3/8″ round steel. You can use a shorter piece, but you will need to hold the piece in a pair of bolt tongs.

1) The first step is to forge the end to a point. At the edge of the anvil, angle the work piece and the hammer blows to effect a tapered end on the steel.

2) Now “neck down” a portion about 3/4″ behind the end of the steel. This is accomplished by using the edge of the anvil and the edge of the hammer to “fuller” the steel.

3) Next flatten and draw to the shape you wish. By using a cross pein hammer, you will move the steel faster and in the direction you want.

4) Fold the leaf in half, to forge the center vein in the leaf. Use the step of the anvil, and a cross pein hammer to begin the fold. Finish the fold on the face of the anvil. Hammer the crease area tightly to form the center vein of the leaf.

5) Heat the folded leaf, and begin to open the fold with a flat screw driver. Once the initial opening is made forge the leaf open using the edge of the anvil. Continue to forge the curls and shape that you desire.

6) Add the cross veining with a cross pein hammer…

7) Finish the leaf with a strong wire brush. For a bronze finish use a copper or brass brush.

Leaves forged in this manner may be welded together to enhance any ornamental project (see Forge Welding Tip).