Apprenticeship Session 21

Apprenticeship session 21 marked the beginning of our work on the FY21 grant projects. We are focusing on door and cabinet hardware this year including hinges, locks, latches, and handles. So to begin with, as all good blacksmiths do, we didn’t begin by working on our projects, we began by making a tool.

Since nails are required to fasten hinges, latches, and other hardware, we wanted to make a nail header to be used for making nails. The Måstermyr find included one that we want to emulate. It had five holes, most of which were for nails and but one was for rivets (tapered vs. straight holes). Ours may not have that many holes, but we do want to be able to make both nails and rivets.

So we started with a BIG piece of 1020 bar stock (this won’t be hardened). The measurements from the Måstermyr find were actually larger than I expected. It was 22.9 x 1.9-3.8 x 2.1 cm. (approx. 9 x .75-1.5 x .83 in.). So we were in for swinging big hammers today.

We spent the entire day working on tapering out the handle. We often were working as a 3-person team with one holding the bar, one being the blacksmith, and one being the striker. That’s a lot of fun actually. You have to watch yourself from getting wrapped up in it and not paying attention to what is happening with the piece.

One trick we did because the bar was so long and heavy was to place a brick on it when it was in the fire to keep it in place. Without that, we’d either have to had to hold it the entire time or else it would flip out and send hot coal and metal flying.

brick holding the bar stock in the fire

Before we arrived, I actually thought we might get the nail header finished today and even have a chance to make nails. Nope. It will be another full session, at least, to finish shaping the handle (including upsetting the end), cutting the piece, and punching the holes through.

I guess we know what we’re doing next time.