Archive for July, 2010

Be forewarned, I am not a master Japanese blacksmith

Posted in Blacksmithing, Forging, Hammers, metalwork, Raising Copper, Tool Making on July 19, 2010 by Jim

If you have not seen a Japanese hammer (genno or shinzan) made my a master blacksmith, then you are missing out on one of the most beautiful tools ever made. I am particularly taken with a style called a ‘Shinzan’ hammer. Take a look at one here.

I have long wanted one  but cannot afford a hundred dollar hammer, regardless of how beautiful they are. So it was off to the forge for me.

My hammer…

I am obviously still on the hammer making kick and I was able to get two things I wanted at once. I needed a raising hammer for the copper work I am doing and I wanted a hammer head that looked like the Shinzan hammer I had seen.

Hand forged hammer head

This picture has three interesting things in it. There is the piece of rusted metal exactly like the one I dug out of a scrap pile to make my head. There is the drift that I made to punch and shape the handle hole. And lastly, the head itself.  I am really happy with how this all turned out. The silver look of the drift is due to the anti-seize compound I put on the drift before I drove it through. The grease burned off and it plated the drift with this silver metal. I learned this trick from a very kind local blacksmith. It kept the drift from sticking in the head when I drove it through.

The stock that I started the head from had some numbers stamped into it and I thought they were pretty cool. I was able to save them on the bottom of the head.

This is obviously not a Shinzan shaped hammer as it has an arching body, but I like how the one I had seen used hammer blows for a decorative effect. That was part of what I was going for.

I used two different sized wedges to hold the head in. the hammer has a 1/4″ face and a 3/8″ face. I put the smaller wedge on the smaller face side so I could tell which way the hammer was turned while I was raising.

I made the handle longish and straight to make it look even more like a Japanese style hammer.

I was not sure at first if I would like a straight handle and I initially carved the handle in a western style. It just didn’t look right so I grabbed the spoke shave and ended with this. It feels great in my hand. I raised one course on a 6″ copper bowl tonight and this is a fantastic hammer.

None of this would have been possible without the use of my friend Dave’s forge. Thanks Dave!

Happy making,

Jim

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Blacksmithing hammer solves copper raising problem

Posted in Blacksmithing, Hammers, metalwork, Raising Copper on July 12, 2010 by Jim

This is a thank you post. I was given the most beautiful hammer as a gift today. (Yep, I said ‘beautiful hammer’, I say stuff like that) Thank you Dave. And thank you Brad for giving the hammer to Dave!

I was explaining how I was raising this copper vessel and couldn’t get the ‘umpfh!’ onto it to turn it back onto itself  and get the egg shape I wanted. I whined about not having just the right raising hammer. My good friend and blacksmithing mentor wanders off for a second and comes back with this Peddinghaus hammer and gives it to me! I could hardly believe it. I have always wanted a Peddinghaus hammer. As far as hammers go, this is some sexy stuff…

I rounded the sharp edges, polished it up, and voila, I got my egg shape!

Blacksmithing Hammer used to raise copper vessel

Raising Hammers and Stake

Posted in Blacksmithing, Forging, Hammers, metalwork, Raising Copper, Tool Making on July 9, 2010 by Jim

If you haven’t seen David Huang’s website and work, then click here.

He has me all inspired and I finished a new tiny steel raising hammer and went to town on another poor circle of copper.

Raising hammers, stake, and hand hammered copper bowl

Happy Thursday night, happy making,

Jim

Leather Faced Cherry Carving Mallets

Posted in Carving, Hammers, Leather working, Tool Making, Woodworking on July 6, 2010 by Jim

Hammerpalooza 2010!

I cannot quit. I just can’t. I am unable to stop making hammers and mallets lately.

A friend salvaged some cherry runners off a pallet where he works and gave me one of the pieces.

Two Leather Faced Cherry Carving Mallets

I felt pretty good about these. In a couple of hours, I was able to make something useful with this wood instead of it going into the trash.

Happy Making,

Jim

Making a leather sandbag for metal forming

Posted in Blacksmithing, Forging, Leather working, metalwork, Raising Copper, Tool Making with tags , , on July 5, 2010 by Jim

First, a little leather work – making a sandbag

I wanted a 12″ sandbag, but was not willing to spend the $50 or $60 to buy one. I had some good scrap leather in the shop and made my own.

I started by taking 6″ into my dividers.

Taking six inches into a divider

I drew two twelve inch circles on the back of my leather.

Drawing a circle on leather with dividers

And cut them out with some kitchen shears. I find that good kitchen shears do a great job cutting leather.

Cutting circles in leather

I ran a line of Barge Cement around each piece, skipping 1″ to allow for filling. I let the cement dry and stuck the two pieces of leather together. Next, I punched holes  around the edge with an awl. I used a saddle stitch and some strong waxed twine to sew the edges. All that was left was adding about  six cups of sand.

Filling leather sandbag

After pouring in the sand, I glued and stitched the last bit shut. Here is the bag with a sheet metal forming stake that I have been working up in the forge. It started from a circus tent stake. One end is mostly done and the rough end will be a ball shape when I am done.

Sandbag and sheet metal forming stake

I had looked for some forming stakes to buy and was astounded at how much a simple T stake could cost. I found several that were three hundred dollars or more. Per normal, I went to the forge and shop and made one.

Happy Fourth of July and happy making,

Jim

UHMW Plastic Hammer Head

Posted in metalwork, Raising Copper, Tool Making on July 2, 2010 by Jim

Hammers! Hammers! Hammers!

I cannot stop making hammers. This is a hammer head made of UHMW plastic. That is ‘Ultra High Molecular Weight’ plastic. It is incredibly abrasion resistant, and pretty cool to boot… The handle is cherry. It should be a good non-marring hammer for me to use in raising this copper vessel.

UHMW Plastic Hammer

Making a hammer is  the most primal amazing feat of tool making. Hammers are a magical thing. Once you have a hammer, you can make all the other tools. In the past, blacksmiths would break off a piece of their hammer and forge it into their sons first hammer when he began his apprenticeship. As for me, a tiny brass hammer that my grandfather made is one of my prize possessions – a rosebud if you will.

I made this hammer as a copy of one that my metals instructor, Bryan Park, had made.

Happy Making,

Jim

Raising Copper!

Posted in metalwork, Raising Copper on July 1, 2010 by Jim

I am taking a metalsmithing class at the Lawrence Art Center and it is a real eye opener for me! I should have done this years ago.

We have a great teacher, Bryan Park, a great facility, and all the students seem really glad to be there.

Raising A Copper Bowl

This week, I started raising my first  vessel from a flat sheet of copper. Here it is after two preliminary rounds of sinking (beating the copper into a depression to start the right shape).

Hand raised copper bowl