Apprenticeship Session 31

After finishing our hinge experiments, we turned to our next interest – locks. We’re starting with a pipe lock, which is pretty ingenious for a simple lock. This is going to be like nothing we have made so far. It’s going to take a bunch of tricky cutting and filing and fitting and brazingbrazing Brazing is a metal-joining process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal into the joint, with the filler metal having a lower melting point than the adjoining metal. Brazing differs from welding in that it does not involve melting the work pieces and from soldering in using higher temperatures for a similar process, while also requiring much more closely fitted parts than when soldering. and …

What have we gotten ourselves into?!!!

So this is the example piece we are after. Ours will of course look much different, but it’s good to know where you’re headed.

the master’s samples

So we started with a pretty hefty pipe for our pipe locks and cut the end at an angle with a hacksaw (and or angle grinder) and then cut it just a bit more to leave a “beaver tail” piece that we will draw and taper for the loop at the one end. Once that was cut it was into the forge to start drawing it out. It was fun to watch the smoke come out the end of the pipe, but it was also potentially dangerous to quench the pipe as hot steam can also come out of the pipe so you need to be careful how you hold it.

smoking our pipe

With that tail drawn out to resemble a tang, we turned our attention to the angle cut. There needs to be a small notch in it to hold the plate that seals the end and that’s a bit tricky to cut. It also has to be just right in both the depth to match the thickness of the plate and the angle to not be too sloped or too abrupt. We fussed over that for quite some time with files and rotary sanders and whatever it took to get it the to something near 45-degrees and flat and smooth.

It was a bit tough to work around the tail we had drawn out and we bent it out of the way for a bit of the process.

The next step was to cut the hole in the other end of the lock so that the clasp can be inserted into the pipe. The cuts perpendicular to the length of the pipe were easy enough, but the lengthwise cuts eluded us. Doug showed us how to do an X-cut to get that opening, well, open. We were confused about how the X would actually work as we were imagining the X on the top of the pipe where it would connect the two parallel cuts we made. And while that was technically what was needed it didn’t create the X looking at the top of the cuts, but rather from the side, which allowed the unwanted metal there to be “scraped” away. We would have never come up with that.

The last bit before ending this session was to bend the tail we had drawn out and get that ready for fastening later. We talked a bit about cutting the plate to cover the end and made a couple of initial cuts, but the time had flow by once again and it was time to lay it aside until the next session.

a good day’s work