Apprenticeship Session 32

So the tasks for the day were to get the bands in place and ready for 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 to begin work on the locking mechanism.

We started by adjusting the loop and tail on the pipe itself just a bit to make the tail just a bit longer as we’re going to be wrapping two bands over it. That went pretty well.

Then we moved on to making the bands themselves. We need three total: two to go over the loop’s tail and one at the bottom end of the pipe. The two that go over the tail need to have a small “bump” in them to accommodate the tail and that’s where our work began.

We used a fullering swage in a vise and a piece of round stock as the upper fuller to hammer in the bump. Then we put that over the tail on the pipe and started shaping the band to wrap around it.

Once again, sounds easy enough, right? Hammering that square stock to fit around the pipe was much fussier than expected and took a fair bit of time. Then, of course, the challenge was to get two of them to look the same.

Then we needed to somewhat guess where to cut the stock so that the ring would either just meet or fall just short of meeting; this is one place where we didn’t want it to overlap. You can see from that photo that where we initially put the bump in the stock became a pivot point when we started to bend it and it got a bit of a crease in it. As it turned out, that was an important development that would bite us a bit later.

After a bit of fussing, some of which involved hitting the ring simultaneously with two hammers while it was on the pipe, the first ring was looking pretty good.

So we worked on doing the same thing for the second ring and had it nearly complete. We were working on the last finishing touches to shape it around the pipe when that stress point where the bump had creased finally gave up and broke in two. Ugh, but this stuff happens in blacksmithing. We quickly then shaped the much easier third ring, the one without a bump, in the last few minutes of our session.

In the meantime, while all the work on the rings was going on, we were also starting the much harder work of getting the locking insert started. Beginning with something like a 2-inch long, 2-inch diameter piece of round stock the first task was to fuller a neck around it. Once again, simple enough, but this time it’s just plain work. A chunk of steel that size takes a bit of effort to get it moving.

By the end of the day we had one of the bump rings finished, the circle ring ready for cutting, and the lock insert with a decent looking neck fullered into it. The time went quickly!

Next time we should be able to finish up the rings and get the top plate on and perhaps get the brazing done. Then it will be more work on the lock insert and finally the key for it all. I think we’re going to be lucky to finish this before our time under the Folk Arts grant is finished.