Apprenticeship Session 29

So after taking a break for the holidays, we jumped back in to making hinges. We had decided to scrap our first attempt and start over. So being blacksmiths, the first thing we needed to do was to make some tools.

The first time we had used a double-sided chisel to make our cuts and that was something we wanted to change. So we made a couple of single-sided chisels, one wider than the other, so that we could make cleaner cuts.

Using a piece of round stock that was probably 10851085 1085 steel is a hardenable steel steel, we forged the one-sided taper and then ground the edge. We still need to get better at grinding, but they were ready for use. We opted to not go through the thermocycle-quench-temper routine as it was very likely that any temper would be lost as we worked. And the 1085 steel is a much stronger steel than the 1020 that we were using for the hinge, so the hardening probably isn’t necessary.

Once the chisels were made, it was on to start the hinge. We brainstormed what we wanted to do differently this time and one change was that we were going to start at the tip end rather than the hinge end. And we wanted to try straight, but angled cuts rather than a straight, then angled cut.

the planning session

So we marked our “armpit” with a punch and set about cutting it with the new chisels keeping the flat side toward the center. These were much cleaner cuts than our first attempt and we were quite happy with them. The tapers basically made themselves!

Next up was bending and/or curling the arms we had just cut. We used the hot cutting hardy tool to widen the split of the arms from the center portion. Once they were bent away we used scrolling pliers to put the curves in them. We also pulled out the mandrel cone to get the curves just right. We chose to not completely perfect that at this point as it is likely they will get bent as we continue working on the piece. We can finish that up when we are further along.

Once the arms were cut and bent out of the way, we turned our focus to making the spade tip. This too was in a much better starting spot than our first attempt and all we needed to do was to taper it to a point and then pull the width out a bit wider.

The taper was easy enough and we mostly avoided making a fish mouth at the tip. But pulling the width out was a bit more challenging. We talked about using a rounding hammer, or the cross peen side of our regular hammers, but we wound up going with a ball peen hammer and that worked out pretty well. It did reduce the thickness of the tip in the middle and left it thicker towards the tip, but we may or may not be concerned about that.

After about four hours of work, we had a reasonable semblance of what we are going for and are ready to come back and cut the second set of arms before turning to the actual hinge.

ready for the next session