Archive for the ‘Blacksmithing’ Category


Project 35: Finished hook and lessons learned

September 16, 2011

Finished hooks

Here are our finished hooks! Mine is the extra curvy one on the left. The instructor’s hook is on the right. I kind of love them all. Can you believe we made these?

Maybe one day I can aspire to be like this guy:

Vladimir Putin, blacksmith

… or maybe not.

Lessons learned:
– Blacksmithing is fun!
– I have kind of wimpy arm muscles.

I really enjoyed this one. Now I need to figure what to do next week. See you Monday!


Project 35: The twist

September 15, 2011

When we last left the metal project it looked like this:

Step 5

The 90 degree bend I mentioned last week looked like this:


We put our hooks in the clamp and watch!


We twisted them!


How neat is that?


Tomorrow I’ll post our finished hooks and you can finally see the one I made.


Project 35: Making a drive hook

September 14, 2011

My blacksmithing class taught the basic safety and techniques needed to make a drive hook, or one of these:

Morrell MetalsmithsHere it is in a few steps.

Step 1: Draw out and taper the end

Step 1

Step 2: Make the little decorative curl

Step 2

Step 3: Curve the hook end

Step 3

Step 4: Insert the hardy tool and cut the drive hook from the rest of the bar stock

Step 4

Step 5: Draw out and taper the cut end

Step 5

Step 6: Make the 90 degree bend (sorry, no photo)

Come back tomorrow to see how we added our own decorative twist!


Project 35: The forge

September 13, 2011

The forge

Besides gumption there really isn’t too much equipment involved in blacksmithing. We had a hammer, a pair of tongs, an anvil, a hardy tool, and some bar stock. Perhaps the most important tool was the forge, shown above.

Here is a side view:


Does it look strangely familiar? It should. It’s an upside-down mailbox. Three things differentiate this mailbox from your standard roadside box: 1) it is filled with insulation, 2) it is connected to a propane tank, and 3) it can heat metal to about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. I just looked that number up on this fancy chart of metal colors, which may come in handy¬†should you find yourself facing a glowing piece of steel.

You only get a couple of minutes to work the metal while it is still hot before it needs to go back into the forge, so this is a machine we used often.

Here is a blurry photo of the forge with our bar stock hanging out in it:

Heating bar stock

I apologize in advance for the photo quality in this week’s posts. It’s not easy to take photos while simultaneously trying to stay out of the way of glowing hot metal and staying available so as not to interrupt the workflow.

More tomorrow!


Project 35: Blacksmithing

September 12, 2011


See the photo above? That was me this weekend when I took a blacksmithing class. The sweat rolling down my nose and sizzling on the hot anvil. Flakes of iron scale flying as my hammer bent glowing iron to my will. My giant muscles rippling… well, you get the picture. I really did take a blacksmithing class and I really did bend iron to my will, but my experience was more filled with interjections about how I couldn’t hold the hammer anymore and ow my shoulders. But still! I made a thing!

Join me this week as I show you how I made an awesome iron thing.

Photo by hans s on Flickr