Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Seeing Double!

(Warning: Long winded and full of pictures!)

Today I performed an exercise which I found to be quite enlivening!

I began with two lengths of 3/8" square stock, each 6" long. I put both of them in the forge simultaneously, and cranked my Champion 400 blower. (By the way, I am now using brand new coal compliments of my friend Matt at The Rough Country Home Studio- He gave me coal for Christmas!)

I then tapered each piece, to roughly the same dimensions. (in fact, I believe my tolerances were within 3/16" or less!) 
I scrolled the ends of the pieces, and although I was aiming at them being identical twin scrolls, I suppose they'll just be fraternal.
Using my vise-mounted bending forks, I made some nice, fluid curves. (This would be so much easier on a London pattern anvil. How I wish earnestly for the chance to forge on one! But, now I'm resourceful, since I lack many standard tools! But, I digress...)
Flattening out the screw-hole was next. I drew a line in charcoal one inch in from the edge of my anvil, and placed the hot steel against that line. The finished flat was longer than the mark and wider than the rest of the steel, but still came out fairly well. After I flattened it (to roughly 1/8"), I made a double twist. It was a sharp looking twist, and is big and beefy-the kind of twist which I like!
Some final adjustments, wire-brushing and air-cooling, and the two twin hooks are ready to be seen!
The twists were heated slightly unevenly, so they are a bit kittywampus. (If you're from the northwest, Cattywampus if you're from the southeast. Go figure! Eytemology at work, I tell you!)
The two are not completely identical, but are close enough for my happiness. Right now they, and some other recent work, are soaking in a solution of water and vinegar, 2:1. Once the scale and oxidation is removed, I will neutralize it with soap and wire-wheel it to give it a shine. I may prime and paint it, if I so feel like it, and have yet to drill screw holes in it.
Aha! Now, dear reader, you may be asking yourself: "what is that other unsightly piece of iron of a darker hue that is in the last picture? It looks rather like a coiled snake with back problems! It ruins the picture!" (you might also be asking yourself: "Is this man crazy? And why does he keep using parentheses?" [or, you could be asking, "Wait, did he just add brackets? Why am I still reading?])
Never fear, goodly reader! I am going to elaborate with pictures and words that seemingly unsightly mass of steel.
The picture is of a spiral candle holder. I didn't have the recommended 42", I had only about 24" of it. Therefore, what I made could scarcely be called true to the model. Nevertheless, I learned an important lesson on how to do it. It takes many heats and is kind of labor intensive, and I'm not very good at doing it. Nevertheless, it is a gift for a friend, and I'm sure it will be pleasing to that person when they receive it. I used beeswax finish, and had it burning for a while. It dripped some beeswax past the edge of the spiral though, I blame my stingy use of material for that one.
But, enough with the typed words, let's see some pictures, shall we?
Aha! Candlelight! So romantic! Seems so warm, yet mysterious, don't you think? Amazing what power a single flame burning can have on a room. I like those pictures. They're simply virile.
All in all, a great day at the forge! Stay tuned for a couple of exciting posts coming up: Forge construction, fire-making tutorial, perhaps more knives? Who knows! Alas, for now, I have written enough, and you, dear reader, should go to sleep. (No matter what the time! Ah! Naps, such great inventions, don't you think?)
This post was sponsored by Ridgeway Forge Co.
Please buy things from me: I'm a poor starving college kid who wants to continue my passion for art in blacksmithing!  




  1. Well, I've got to say, those two hooks look fabulous! And the pictures are pretty good, too.

  2. Replies
    1. They are indeed! These hooks are for sale together for $15, and can be had in one of several finish options: Wax finish (darker and protected from rust), Wire-wheel (will rust over time), clear coated (keeps the raw metal look but adds a slight shine reminiscent of syran wrap) and painted (Standard is black or green, other options avaliable on demand at a $3 charge)