Welcome to the Kellogg & Sons Blacksmith Shop

Our traditional Blacksmith shop located in Northern New York. We do custom Blacksmithing work focused upon traditional 18th and 19th century hardware and tools.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Adirondack Blacksmiths Hammer-in at James Tiernan's Shop-Jan 2012

The Adirondack chapter of the New York State Designer Blacksmiths had a hands-on Hammer-in at James' shop Saturday.  This winter has been the warmest in the North Country in recorded history.  So of course the day for the workshop was preceded by an ice-storm, lake effect snow, and a 45 degree drop in temperature.  Thursday was 46F., and Saturday morning dawned with a nice 1F!

James was a wonderful host for the 20+ blacksmiths that showed up at his shop.  His big Quonset-hut shop was toasty warm despite the cold with two big wood-stoves roaring!

 We had a show-and-tell session about projects that various smiths have been completing.  John Scarlett showed his impressive and inspiring project to make life sized Oriental Poppies from steel for a decorative fire screen commission.

His research into the elements of the flower and discovery of ways to make all the parts from steel was inspiring.  Great work from vision to tool making to completion!

Poppy petal.

One of the many projects members worked on was one that John Scarlett brought with him.  An Amish farmer needed a new half made to repair an original set of ice tongs.  What made the ice tongs unusual is that they were made entirely of round bar!  The pivot hole was slit and drifted making a round bulge in the round bar.  The originals were very clean work with a forge welded handle loop and a nicely forged gripping spike on the end.

Four smiths tackled the project with John Scarlett leading the job.  Step one was to upset a section of the bar between 10 and 11 1/2 inches down the bar for the later forge welded handle loop.  The upset was needed to allow the handle loop weld without thinning the bar at the end of the scarf.

Then the welding scarf was make on the end of the bar.  The handle was made with 2 90 degree bends and 2 180 degree bends.  Then it was forge welded together.  Despite our precautions the very end of weld scarf made a thin spot.  They guys eliminated it by then upsetting the bar including the weld!  If the weld had not been excellent it might have reopened.  That wasn't a problem.  John Scarlet struck the end of the bar while Jon Hughes isolated the other end in the vice.

Upsetting the bar!

They found the proper point to slit and drift for the pivot rivet.  Then they traced a sketch of the original arm on a steel table and used that to match the bend profile on the new arm.

The end point was forged and bent.  Then Dan Brassaw forged the pivot pin.  John and Dan riveted it into place

Our host James Tiernan had to check out the repaired tongs and make sure they worked!

It was a fun day.  Here is the tong making team of Joshua Harley, John Scarlett, Dan Brassaw, and Jon Hughes.  Good work guys!

Many thanks to James and his family for all the work they put into getting the shop ready for the event and all the food they cooked for lunch!  It was a great hammer-in!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Anvils in the Blacksmith Shop!

A good anvil is the center of a Blacksmith shop.  I am luck to have found a number of good anvils.  I have hand forged Bickerns, Peter Wright anvils from England, a Vulcan made in the Mid-West, and a Kohlswa from Sweden.  You only need one anvil but hunting for them is something of a sport!

Here in Northern New York our towns and farms have been in use for more than 200 years.  They were settled in the golden age of Blacksmithing and before the Industrial Revolution was fully underway.  Half the settlers of my region were coming from New England or more Southern parts of New York.  The tools that they brought with them may have already been generations old.  In my travels I have seen everything from pre-1740's English anvils with no horn or hard hole to anvils made in my lifetime.  Compared to the West Coast this is an anvil rich region.

I have anvils from 250 years old to about 50 years old!  My main shop anvil is the youngest one.  The 113kg. Swedish Kowlswa is cast steel and was made in the 1960's.  I bought it from the original owner.    While it is around 280lbs. it is the London pattern.  That makes it fairly narrow faced and long horned for it's weight.  Good forge work doesn't require a large anvil.  Historically a lot of small town Blacksmith shops used a 125-150lb. anvil.  But a larger anvil is steadier when using a sledge hammer.  I like this one.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blacksmithing and Shipwreck Wrought Iron!

In the summer of 2011 I had the good fortune to luck into getting some high quality wrought iron from a sunken ship!  A pair of sunken coal barges were being removed from the St. Lawrence River as a hazard to navigation.  Local recollection says that the wooden barges were brought there in the late 1940's or early 1950's full of coal.  During a storm they sunk and settled into the mud near the shore.

St. Lawrence River Shipping Channel.

After about 60 years in the cold river and under ice over 5 months of the year the barges were breaking up.  The International Shipping channel is only a few hundred feet away.  In fact this ship went by while we were at the site.

A trucking company was using an excavator to dredge up the remains of the barges from about 12-15 feet of water.  Filled with soupy mud, the wood and iron underwater were well preserved.  Some of the beams appeared to be long leaf Southern yellow pine.  It was still surprisingly sound after decades underwater.

Here is some of the wrought iron reclaimed from the wrecks after they were removed from the river.  Iron that was above water level rusted away, but iron that was always below the water line was almost like new.

Now to plan some special projects for this old iron!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Doors on the new shop.

The little Blacksmith Shop at the end of the driveway now has the barn doors it needed.  They aren't done yet but will keep out the snow and cold.  Here they are!

It was 4 degrees F. when I took the picture!  It is good they are up, as we may get snow every day for a week!

The Black River has started to freeze up.

The -9F. low last night iced it over in only a few hours!  Hopefully it will get thick enough in a week for us to ice skate and go ice fishing.  Last year it was frozen before Thanksgiving!  What a crazy warm winter it has been!