Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Apprenticeship Day 4 (Hooks, Hinges and Upsetting)

This was the first day that we used Bill's roommate's sheet metal propane forge. As I am in the midst of building a propane forge, it was quite useful to get used to heating with gas. I didn't snap a pic of the forge, as it is a very interesting contraption, but I will photograph it soon and have it available for yall to view.

We started the day finishing a project we started a few weeks ago. Bill and I made a set of hinges for a tool box for my shop. These pieces are lessons for me, they show the process of my development. The hinges are the first project I started and they are a bit rough, but there is something about those early projects that I know will resonate with appreciation someday.

I made a bunch of hooks that allowed me to practice, tapering, scrolling and bending. Also, you can never have enough hooks in your shop.

The last lesson of the day was upsetting. This has to do with driving the metal down on top of itself to thicken stock. After thickening a piece of round stock I used a ball peen hammer and a big wooden mallet (that Bill has affectionately named the Wile E Coyote Hammer) to pound this Rosetta design into the stock I had thickened.

Here is a side view of the stock. After thickening it I mushroomed out the top to make a bolt design. I'm interested in making hardware for construction and this project gave me ideas about how to make bolts.

Bill also gave me a quick lesson on making nails. He informed me that old timers used to spend the winters in front of hot coals making as many nails as they could from scrap steel. They would sell the nails by the pound in the spring when other people started building projects. I went home and got to day dreaming about making all the hardware for a house. If I have enough scrap steel hanging around, which right now I do, I think it would be radical to forge every nail used to construct my own home. While some view this as tedious work that is unnecessary due to the efficiency of industrial processes, I view it as an incalculable connection with structure that sheaths my family.

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