maandag 12 oktober 2015

And a little bit of blacksmithing

On mondays I am usually at home, and because a lot of neighbours are at work, that is the perfect time for making noise and smoke. So I did a little blacksmithing again.

I tried to make a plane stop. This is an ancient design. In the workbench you make a large hole with a movable stop which can go up and down. In the top of that block you would have an iron hook with teeth, like I made today. (nr 5 and nr 6 in this drawing from Roubo)

This is the basic shape.

I didn't take pictures of the process, so I'll try to describe it. I take a length of 10 mm round, about 50 cm long. First I make the spike, that is a simple taper . Something that is still pretty hard for me. Making a regular taper ain't easy! Then with the taper sticking out beyond the far edge of the anvil I make half on/half off hamer strikes to define the head. The head becomes about half the thickness of the 10 mm rod. This is all with the steel still attached to the long bar, so I can hold it in my left hand, much easier then holding with tongs. I make the bend. I try to make the corner as square as possible, which also is difficult. After bending I cut it off with a hacksaw. The last step is spreading out the head with the fin of the hammer.

It is a simple object, but still took me three tries!

I finish the hook with files, and then it would look a bit like this in the workbench. I still have to make the wooden stop.

I also tried some forge welding. I was very proud about my first attempt, but on trying to pry it apart in the vise it proved to be not such a succes at all!

zondag 11 oktober 2015

Antique furniture carvings

My own carvings didn't progress much. I had to work and we had a party, so now I am drained. Next weekend is equally impossible, but is going to be fun if the weather cooperates.

Anyay, I promissed some pictures of carved furniture I found while hunting around the Internet. Most of these I found on websites from antique dealers and were made in the 17th century English renaissance style. And again, it is the normal day to day stuff, nothing high brow and no intricate church art. Zoom in for more detail.

Some of it was very rough and ready. I love it!

Other stuff was way more intricate.

Or very neat, but a little dull.

Not carving but from the same time were decorative mouldings in patterns.

Or veneered. This is a Dutch example. I used the general outline of this chest as an example for my cabinet, but veneer is not (yet?) one of my skills. Especially not intricate stuff like this! I like it a lot though.

And here is the example I choose for my door. I don't have a very strict reason to choose this one It just speaks to me, and it has a rather square outline, which fitted very well with my cabinet. This is from a chest made in Devon. That's all I know about it.

zaterdag 10 oktober 2015

And back to wood

The playing with steel has to be postponed for a little while. I enlisted into a course which starts next month. I hope to learn a lot from a real blacksmith.

In the mean time this is a nice opportunity to continue with the medicine cabinet. I have finally found the courage to start on the carving for the door. And as usual, it isn't half as bad as I thought it would be. This is where I am right now.

The middle is still an open canvass. I want to put a flower shape in there, just like the pratice I did in the early summer.

maandag 28 september 2015

More tongs

Another day of hard work. I actually made two tongs. One was a quicky, just some flatbar, bend over 90 degrees with the reins from 10 mm round steel, welded on. I needed these so I could hold the left over pieces of 15 mm round bar in the fire. They were too short to handle bare handed. These are too ugly to show...

Next was my attempt to improve on the previous tong making experience. I must say, I didn't really succeed. But I did turn out another very usefull tool, all be it not a very nice one. This blacksmithing business is really difficult! Or maybe I should behave like a real beginner and start doing a bunch of practice pieces.

Picture of tongs. Maybe you shouldn't zoom in too much.

And to enhance the blog a bit, another video of the roaring fire and hot steel. This time with some fire bricks to create a deeper fire.

maandag 21 september 2015

Forging some tongs

A rite of passage for a blacksmith seems to be making your own tongs. So I looked around how to do that and found a great website from an American blacksmith organistation with a lot of educational material (scroll down to the bottom):

After a full afternoon of hard, sweaty and humiliating work, this is the result.

They don't look like much, but they work very well. I had a very hard time drawing down the reins. they should taper gradually down to the end, but they don't really do that at all. And they aren't very uniform either. Oh well, live and learn.

I also acquired a big old post vise for the princely sum of 25 euros. It has been standing on a graveyard for ages, not quite sure what they did with such a vise on a graveyard. With a bit of paint it looks like new again.

maandag 14 september 2015

A new challenge. Blacksmithing!

Don't ask me why, but I am intrueged by the art of blacksmithing. I've postponed it for a long time, but now I couldn't let it rest any longer. I bought an anvil and fabricated a simple forge. And today was the first try out.

The forge is a disc brake, set into a steel table with some plumbing underneath so I can blow air through the fire. The blower is one of these bouncy castle blower things, cheap and effective. I am using charcoal at the moment, allthough real coal is probably better.

A quick video of the roaring fire:

And now I just have to decide what the heck I am going to make. I have no clear idea to be honest. First I will probably make some forging tools, like a few punches, a hardy, maybe some tongs. We'll see where this new adventure is leading me.

The first few things I made, a square and a round punch and two nail like things.

maandag 10 augustus 2015

In the mean time, more carving

It's not that I do nothing, I'm just too much occupied with hollidays. Next week I leave the family alone and head for Switserland for some mountain climbing with a friend. But I did finish a small practice carving in cherry this time.

It's far from perfect yet, but that's what practice is for. I would like to have the flower a little larger, and the radius of the lobes of the four leaves a bit wider too. But overall, it ain't too bad. Cherry carves wonderfully, even this killn dried stuff.

It isn't ment to be perfect either. This stuff should be a bit like they made in the English renaissance, the period roughly between 1500 and 1700. And I like particularly the more vernacular pieces like they would have had on a farmstead, instead of in the best room of one of those incredibly rich nouveau riche merchants in the large cities. The things I like aren't picture perfect, they often have some naivity. I am far from an arts connaisseur, but for example, I like this from a Roman church

a lot better then this from a later Italian renaissance church.

Allthough the later is of a much higher level of craftsmanship.

This plagues me a bit when I am working. I am still striving for as perfect an execution as I can muster. Luckily in this carving business I am still very much a beginner.