Square - Octagon - Round


Square/Octagonal/Round (SOR) is a technique used by blacksmiths for drawing out metal. It also aids in changing the basic shape of square and/or near-square stock into round or near-round stock.

If you're like me you won't believe that you need to go through this process, particlarly if you are using a power hammer. I thought, "Hey I can skip that octagonal step and just use the power hammer to round up this metal. Wrong Big Time! First misconception was that I knew how to effectively use a power hammer. Second that I knew how to control metal in the power hammer (like why does it keep bouncing up and down). Third, it just doesn't work that way. Blacksmith's throughout history have developed a method that works and works well. As a beginner, you aren't likely to discover/develop a technique that's better than what all that experience has come up with.


First you need to "square-up"
a piece of stock. You can do this
by heating the metal and then
hammering it on the anvil face,
turning it every couple of strikes.

Once you have it pretty square
start hammering on each of the
corners. As in step 1 hammering
on the anvil face results in two
sides being affected with each
stroke (the top and bottom edges).

Once you have a pretty even
octagonal shape you start
hammering on each of the edges
(there are now eight of them).
This will suddenly make your sqare
stock into round stock. You may
have to take a couple of blows here
and there to "true up" the piece.



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"We all do better when we all do better."
       - Paul Wellstone, US Senator from Minnesota (1944-2002)

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