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 27, 2014

Bickerns, T-Stakes, and Stake Anvils

One of the oldest kind of anvils is the Stake or Bickern.  A T shaped anvil that fits into a hole in the bench or stump is much more economical to make than one with a massive iron base.  Wrought Iron and steel were extremely expense prior to the 19th century's innovations.  Medieval woodcuts of Blacksmith shops often showed a stake anvil along with a hornless main anvil.

Stake anvils are very useful in a traditional shop.  They are used to bend small coils, fit inside a hollow object, or finish small forgings.  They ranged in size from tiny ones used by Jewelers to 20lb. stakes used by smiths to 200lb Bickerns used as an anvil in the shop.

My small stake anvil is forged of wrought iron with a steel face.  It has the classic shape with one round horn and one square horn.  It is an old one, and has some wear from use.  It had been -34F the night before I took this picture.  It was still well below freezing in the shop, and the stake anvil is very frosty!

My large stake anvil is from the pre-modern era.  The fluted column, shield shaped boss, and combination of round and square horns may place this anvil in the 18th century or earlier.  It is wide, long, and tall and weighs around 180lbs.

It is all wrought iron with no steel face.  This style of anvil would have been used in England to supplement the shop anvil.  Pre-1800 English anvils were fairly solid and rectangular with small horns and a short heel.  They were excellent for general forging but sometimes you needs a horn or skinny heel to forge inside a bucket, set rivets, or work on tines of a fork.  The Bickern, T-Stake, or Stake Anvil was needed for those jobs.

Stake anvils are still used in the Blacksmith Shop.  At the SOFA Quad-State 2013 Conference a team of smiths used a steam hammer to make the one pictured below!

They are still a sought out and useful tool for Blacksmithing and sculptural form.  As I heard one old smith say they are, "as useful as pockets in a pair of pants!"

Friday, January 24, 2014

No Blacksmithing due to Extreme Cold!

I haven't done any actual Blacksmithing this week.  We have had 5 days with lows reaching -20 to -34F.  It was -29F this morning at 8am.  Too Cold!  

Here is my shop at -29F, and the fog behind it is ice fog from a power dam on the Black River.

It looked a lot different in August!  The Christmas Ice Storm took down most of the trees.  At least now I have a view!

I decided to check how deep the ice on the river has gotten.  It was around 8 inches on January 1, then we had 5 days of 50 degree weather that reopened the river.  Here is the river in warmer weather.

 The ice near shore never melted all the way, and then it grew a lot in the last week.  
I drilled my hole about 15 feet from shore.  I was expecting about 8-10 inches.  I measured 14 inches before even hitting water!  I think there is around 18 inches near shore.  

 I thought it would be in about 2 feet of water where I drilled.  Turns out there is just 18 inches of ice!

Turns out it was ice all the way to the bottom!  The ice has heaved up and the water in the hole doesn't even reach the top of the hole, because the ice is sitting on the bottom of the river!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rainbows and Puppies!

I have done several Blacksmithing related projects in the last week.  I visited a fellow Blacksmith that is moving out of state and came home with more raw materials for projects!  Then another fellow Blacksmith and I used some of that steel to weld up a Gas forge body!  But I forgot to get any pictures of that!

So here is a picture from my trip to Troy Ohio in 2012.  Bad weather in the Grain Belt, but a great sunset!

And here is a picture of our new Puppy!  She is very energetic and likes to romp in the snow!

Rainbows and Puppies!  Perhaps a nice change from my normal pictures of old tools and iron!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Boy's Axe - Reviving an Old Axe.

After the Ice Storm of 2013 we have a lot of branches and wood to clear.

It will be a long project.  As part of that I dug through my old tool and junk collection.  I found this neat little Boy's Axe.  It is a felling axe like a full size axe head, but is about 3/4 size, thin, and about 2.25lbs.

The handle is from a full size one that had broken.  It is bigger than a hatchet, smaller than a Hudson Bay axe, and with more cutting power!  It is a good companion for the crosscut saw and larger axes.