Sunday, May 26, 2013

Blacksmith Days

Well, it has been a good semester.

Yet that is no excuse for me slacking off on my blog. I appologize to you, my dear readers.
But, I have something exciting to share with y'all!

Last Sunday my sister and I attended the 2013 Blacksmith Days at the Carroll County Farm Museum, hosted by the Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland.

Demonstrating was Ken Schwarz and Randy McDaniel. Although I did not get to see Randy McDaniel's demonstrations of the hydraulic forging press, I did get to see some fantastic and mezmorizing colonial ironwork from Ken Schwarz, Master Blacksmith at Colonial Williamsburg.

The event began on Saturday, but, being busy butching hens and selling random items at a yardsale, we were unable to get to the Farm Musuem until Sunday afternoon. The event was winding down, but I still got to see some fantastic forging demonstrations by Ken.

The first item that I saw being demonstrated was a strap hinge, as seen on colonial houses in the Chesapeake and East Coast area.

The strap hinge was traditionally forged and firewelded, being made from real wrought iron. He used Borax as the welding flux, and boy O boy was that thing cool! The edges were chamfered, several holes were punched, and the spade shape was demonstrated right in front of us. For the spade he flattened the end to make a three sided taper, which was a revelation to me. That's how to make perfect spade-leaves! I always went with a four sided taper, which made for the long, willow leaves as seen in other posts. 

The next item he showed us was a colonial nail header. He first passed around an example of his previous work as he began to forge a new one. 
Nicely welded and forged beautifully! 

Ken began by straightening out a length of coil spring for the head of the header. 

He then got ready to weld the coil spring onto some upset mild steel square bar. His striker (presumably his daugher) worked with marvelous efficency, and the weld stuck on the first hit. 

Perfectly formed, ready for the hole to be punched! 
His striker worked wordlessly as he directed in a well rehearsed, fast paced dance. 
After a few more refinements, Ken quenched the well made tool and passed it around for all to see. 
Ken hammered out multiple nails, demonstrating the effectiveness of the nail header. 
The four-clout head of the nail, hammered with precision:

A look at the tools of the trade: 

And Ken had some displays of his work, which is in the true colonial fashion. The demonstration ended after the nails were made, and people were allowed to mill around and ask Ken questions. My sister and I snapped some photos of the exceptional work. 
A fire dog
Traditional joinery, as well as a square corner adorned the fantastic work. 
A trivet, rivetted in place and welded together.
A detailed rivet joint. I am going to make one of these! 
Not real sure what this is.... Anyone know?
Here is showing the process for a shutter hook, strap hinge, and regular hinge hook. 

Well, that's that! 

Happy Hammering! 

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