Saturday, January 14, 2012

Apprenticeship Day 5 (Paring Chisel and Intro to Engraving)

Bill had an old thick cold chisel that had mushroomed on the tool head.  I grinded off the mushroomed metal and then heated the head of the chisel in the propane forge.  I squared the stock and drew out the taper keeping the piece as straight as possible.  After each round of drawing I would check the straightness of the piece by looking down the shaft of the chisel then straighten it on the anvil and throw it back in the forge.  Once the right draw was achieved I made the stock octagonal, flipped around the piece and heated the blade of the tool.  I used the cross pein of the hammer to draw out the other half of the tool and then hammered it flat into a square stock.  At all times I was being conscious of the straightness of the tool.  I made the piece octagonal once again and allowed it to air cool.  Since the piece will be used to cut hot metal (it is called a "hot chisel") it does not need to be hardened. I finished the tool and we took a walk down to the bakery for some baked goods and hot tottis.  I still have to clean it up on the grinder and belt sander, but a transformer box blew while I was there and that's all we could do. 

This was the first day in the smithy that I felt comfortable with my tong and hammer control.  Although I have only worked a few days with a forge (coal or propane), the extended breaks in between practice has allowed many techniques to sink in.  In conversation with M a week ago I realized that sometimes when you feel as though you are at a standstill, you later recognize you were making your greatest strides.  

On our walk back from the bakery it started hailing, so we hastened our pace.  Upon arrival at Bill's house I was admiring a silver bracelet he made.  It had an engraved crow flying and a mountain/tree landscape scene.  There was also a very interesting signature stamp that had BD engraved in a tiny anvil that was stamped on the underside of the bracelet.  I asked about how the stamp was made and  Bill encouraged a lesson on engraving.  The introduction to engraving was fascinating.  Seeing all the pieces that Bill had made was truly inspirational.  Although I will focus more on larger smithing projects, engraving and detailed metal work seems to be an inevitable future endeavor.

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