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>1) Aside from neglecting safety, what's the largest mistake beginners make when crafting?
you cant raise a helmet in 3 passes. trying means using far too much force, heavy hitting, and deforming the metal. it instead ends up with what's called the "bag full of marbles" effect - lumpy, uneven, really scrappy.
Take your time, take lots of passes to slowly build the shape.
>2) For most of us posting, since this is a hobby that can yield profit, do you have any guidelines for selling your work? What kind of scale do you use to grade your work when determining its value?
It'll never be very profitable. if you work by hours, for what most will pay, you're better off in a burger joint flipping meat.
Charge what is acceptable to you, for the effort you put in.
also, for doing it to a good quality, it costs a huge amount in equipment. Remember, that list was the basics...
>3)I've gathered that a lot of people use old car springs and just car parts, in general to use as raw material. Is this just a simple way for people to get 'fun' metal for costume-quality arms/armor, or is their quality of the metal good enough to make battle-ready product?
Technically, a leaf spring is good enough material. there's little difference in the actual alloy, or the heat-treat used.
in reality, a leaf spring's been curved to a shape, so re-tempering it will often make it twist back into its old shape. it also tends to result in SLOs that are overweight and badly balanced, just as the leaf springs tend to be over-thick, and people dont understand the details of swordmaking.... more on that in a bit.