Saturday, March 16, 2013

Striking with Nick!

    A thought, as we begin this post. If spinach is so high in iron, why can't I forge with it? I should be able to, all things considered...

On March 13th, I invited my good friend Nick up from West Virginia. He goes to school with me and is a close family friend. Because we were both on spring break, he wanted to come up and blacksmith with me for a bit. (I am afraid I may have ignited that irresistible spark in his heart. You know, the blacksmith spark that is unquenchable?) It was great to have him up for two days, and he helped me a lot with one of my projects. He struck for me, which was my first time working with a striker. I must say, I really do like it. The metal moves incredibly fast. (It makes me wonder about what a power hammer will feel like. However, my Little Giant is many many years down the road...)

Anyways, I did not get any pictures of us striking, but when we weren't doing that, he was steadily improving in the basic techniques of tapering, bending, punching and scrolling.

Nick, hammering away at hot metal while I looked on: 
 He has a great propensity for this art, and has a good eye for proportions.
 We decided to both work on a project at the same time, so we traded off heating and beating our stock.
 Here I am taking a turn with some 3/16" square.
 Nick on the blower, cranking out some heat!
We moved on to the striking soon after, but returned to working on individual projects afterwards.
Giving Nick some pointers on how to properly taper steel.
Heating and beating some good glowing steel:
 Nick began to make some mighty fine tapers! I am proud to call him my student!
 On to bending the hook! He made it out of 3/8" square. I really like the composition of this shot:
 He's got his own unique style, that's for sure. I like it, personally.
 Wire brushing the piece is as important as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice daily.
 I helped him punch the hole (Which was the first for me, as a matter of fact), and then he applied some hot wax. Here is his first hook:
 The punched hole:
I didn't snap a picture of the second hook that he made, but it was nice. (A little pitted from the heat, but Nick learned all about white sparking heat from that.) All in all, a great learning experience for both myself and for Nick. I learned a lot about how to teach people blacksmithing, and he learned blacksmithing.
The last thing that we did was make a knife. I made a knife out of a short section of 5/8" 1018 steel (railroad spike with the head and point cut off) All the while we talked of girls and school and things of those natures. What else is there to talk about? We ran over the usual guy topics, too, spelunking, rafting etc.
I enjoyed our conversation quite considerably, and here was the product of the labors!

Nothing fancy, I daresay, but I thought I'd leave him with a touch of my handiwork.
Let me tell you, that was some great fun, blacksmithing together. Then, our two day whirlwind spring break got even better. I went down to West Virginny with Nick, to his house, and then over to a nearby hamlet where we went to a tea shop. This was a fantastic revelation to me, because I had never been in a tea shop before. We eat our scones and drank our tea, then went wandering around town. We stopped in a general store called O'Hurley's, where we met Mr. O'Hurley himself. He invited us to come back that night for a St. Patty's day pot luck concert in his store. We came back, and I ate better than I have in months! Irish Soda Bread, Lamb Stew and so much more filled me up as the evening went on. We toasted ourselves by the fire as we listened to traditional Irish folk tunes from the ~20 musicians that were playing. All in all, a great evening!
I was extremely glad to have Nick over to my house, and the way our trip down to West Virginia went was fantastic! 

More adventures from Spring Break 2013 to come, have no fear of that!

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