Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant FY21

Ermagherd we get to do it again! The North Dakota Council on the Arts has a Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program that “is designed to honor and encourage the preservation of North Dakota’s diverse living traditions by providing grants that allow master traditional artists to pass their skills and knowledge to apprentices on a one-to-one basis …

Apprenticeship Session 36 – Bonus!

We were so close to being done, but hadn’t quite gotten it over the line. Just a few more hours work and we’d have a working pipe lock we could be proud of. And it is something that not a lot of blacksmiths have made. Our big task of the evening was to get our …

Apprenticeship Session 34 & 35

Sadly, we are coming to the end of our apprenticeship. But first, we have a pipe lock to finish. We left off with encasing the pipe lock in clay and leaving it to dry so that we could “bake” it in the forge and braze the pieces together. So the clay had a chance to …

Apprenticeship Session 33

After the disappointment at the end of the last session, we worked during the week to get the rings ready to go. They weren’t quite perfect, so we did wind up making a few adjustments (namely grinding the ends down so they connected better). But It didn’t take us long to get those finished up. …

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. …

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 …

Apprenticeship Session 30

So this is where we left off last time… … with one set of arms and the tip mostly completed. So that left the second set of arms and the hinge part left to do. I think it’s a testament to how far our skills have come that I don’t have much to write today. …

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 …

Apprenticeship Session 28

Since it had been a couple of weeks since our last session, we decided to take a step back a revisit some of the basics. We had decided to scrap our attempt at and “armed” spade hinge and start over. There were several flaws to overcome and lessons learned in what we had done so …

Apprenticeship Session 27

So with the completion of our “simple” spade hinge, we wanted to move the degree of difficulty up a notch. This time we wanted to make it a little more ornate and add a few additional skills. We used this as our model. We knew ours would look different, but we were going for the …

Apprenticeship Sessions 25 & 26

So with the strap part of the spade hinge finished it was time to move on to the pintlepintle A pintle is a pin or bolt (male component), usually inserted into a gudgeon, which is used as part of a pivot or hinge.. We were starting with the basic spike / bolt design for our …

Apprenticeship Session 24

So today we started on what we’re calling a spade hinge. Something “simple” like the ones shown in this photo, though ours will be a bit shorter. While the spade part of the hinge is something I think we could handle, the business end of the hinge where a pin of some sort is used …

Apprenticeship Session 23

We finished a project in one session! Today we started on our first door/cabinet hardware project which will be the focus of our work this year. We made a simple strap hinge similar to those on the Måstermyr chest. I had attempted to make one of these before but had not finished, so this was …

Apprenticeship Session 22

We continued work on our nail header today. Last time we had drawn out the taper on one end for the handle. It was heavy work, even on the soft steel we had chosen. It was looking pretty good, but we all agreed that it was a bit too short. So we decided to add …

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 …

Apprenticeship Sessions 18, 19, & 20

While technically we are done with the FY20 grant, we had a couple of projects that we hadn’t yet completed and we wanted to get them done before moving on to the FY21 projects. These final projects being a hammer and an axe. We wound up doing three sessions in one week (Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday) …

Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant FY20 Wrap Up

“… is designed to honor and encourage the preservation of North Dakota’s diverse living traditions by providing grants that allow master traditional artists to pass their skills and knowledge to apprentices on a one-to-one basis over an extended period of time.” North Dakota Council on the Arts, Folk and Traditional Apprenticeship grant Wow. What a …

Apprenticeship Session 17

The last of our official sessions under the FY20 NDCA Folk and Traditional Arts grant had us working on our hammer and starting an axe. Yay! We’re finally getting to the axe, which is a project I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Hammer Last week we started our hammer head and had …

Apprenticeship Session 16

This one was a doozie as it was double, maybe triple, long. Today we focused on getting one hammer made. Sounds easy enough, right? One hammer, one long day, two (or three) people, no problem. Uh, we got a long ways but we did not get it done in the 5+ hours that we spent …

Apprenticeship Session 15

The end of our grant is fast approaching and we’ve got a few projects left to finish up. So today is going to be another double session of basically finishing the projects we were working on last week. Viking-age Bellows With the beeswax/tar goop that we painted on the canvas last week now dry, it …

Folk Art in Place: Eel Spear

Because in-person classes are mostly on hold for the time being, the Vesterheim museum in Decorah, IA has been having their instructors do some virtual lessons. Here’s a video that Doug did for that series on how to make an eel spear.

Folk Art in Place: Goose Prairie Forge

Because in-person classes are mostly on hold for the time being, the Vesterheim museum in Decorah, IA has been having their instructors do some virtual lessons. Here’s a video that Doug did for that series of a tour of his smithy.

Apprenticeship Session 13

heating the working section

Since we’ve lost so much time this spring, today was an extra long session and we actually got to work on two projects: cooking utensils and our bellows. Cooking Utensils I had seen these utensils – I dunno what we should call them, maybe bread bakers? – at a couple of reenactment events we had …

Apprenticeship Session 12

So after a break of a few months due to the death of my mother and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we returned to making progress on our projects. Part of today’s session was simply regrouping after the recent events, but some of it was planning for the remainder of the projects. We’ve got …