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!
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!