Apprenticeship Session 8

So we continued our work with forge welding, or at least prepping for it. We didn’t actually do any forge welding today. We are working on replicating a chain found as part of an archeological find in Sweden called the Måstermyr find. It’s a rare case of an entire toolbox full of blacksmithing and other tools. Doug showed us a book that documents the entire find and we may need to acquire a copy of it.

So we had practiced forge welding last time. This time we started to make the links that we’ll be forge welding into a chain. So since chains are made up of lots of links (26 in the Måstermyr chain) we started to take our square stock and forge it into links.

The first step was to make a mandrel out of a piece of round stock that would fit in the Pritchard hole of the anvil. We’re going to be using that to form the curves of the links.

So most of the day was spent bending the square stock into the u-shaped pieces that are going to be the basis of the links of the chain. It’s surprising how long it can take. Our skills are getting better as we learn to look with a critical eye and correct mistakes and just generally prevent them in the first place. Getting uniform curves and parallel, equal-length reins while not twisting or crimping them.

The most interesting technique of the day was using two tongs to pull on both reins to set the curve and pull them even. It was also a test of skill to get the kinks and bumps out and make sure the curve was symmetrical. We only got four links done between the two of us over four hours. I have to imagine this gets much faster with practice.