Archive for the Forging Category

Hammered Copper and Stainless Steel Fishing Lure

Posted in Fishing Lures, Forging, jewelry, metalwork, Raising Copper, Tool Making on August 2, 2010 by Jim

Is there such a thing as a Roycroft fishing lure?

I have been making lures like this one for a long time:

Hand carved Spinner Popper Frog fishing lure

It is really enjoyable making these. I can make cooler looking lures than I can buy and I can modify them to suit the places where I fish. My lures work great – they catch a ton of fish. It’s also a kick to open my tackle box around the guys knowing that they don’t have any of the lures that I have.

One thing that has always been annoying to me about lure-making is having to buy the metal hardware.

I usually hate buying something that I can make. Today I realized I could make make the metal parts of my lures. I could even make entire metal lures. I learned what I needed in the metalworking class I just took at the Lawrence Art Center. I guess I can be kind of slow on the uptake some days…

Anyway, here it is, for your perusing pleasure, the first ever, one of a kind, Roycroft style hammered copper fishing lure (click the image to see it larger):

Roycroft style hammered copper spoon lure

This spoon lure looks fantastic in the water. It darts and flashes like a drunk little bait fish on an underwater jet ski! I took it out in a sunny area where the water was murky and got a bite on the second cast. This is a great working lure.

I started all this, like I often do, in my buddy Dave’s steel scrap pile. He pulled out a railroad spike and I ground and polished it into a spoon shaped sheet metal forming stake:

Custom Handmade fishing lure

The copper was supple and simple to form and hammer mark. I cannot say the same about the stainless steel. I have not worked stainless before like this and it was not friendly. I will have to do some research on annealing stainless before I make the next lure. I riveted it all together with brass pins cut from 18ga wire.

All in all, this was a really happy afternoon’s work and it gave me an excuse to go fishing (you know, purely research purposes, so forth, etc…).

If you have any questions, or for goodness sakes, if you have advice about how to anneal stainless, I am all ears.

Happy Making,

Jim

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

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

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

Why I write Make Stuff With Your Hands

Posted in Blathering, Forging, knifemaking, metalwork, Tool Making, Woodworking on May 6, 2010 by Jim

An ulterior motive!

Could it be that I have a sneaky ulterior motive? Well of course. Sort of. Except, it is not sneaky, nor ulterior.

I love to teach, I really do. I want to teach classes on how to build things. I want to write books that help people learn how to build things. So many of the techniques that I use, I learned in books and I want to write one of those great books. I want to write something as amazing as The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking by James Krenov. I want to write something as useful as Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking. I want to write something as beautiful and inspiring as Sam Maloof, Woodworker. This is why I am here. I practice my writing so I can put my thoughts in words and pictures for you – even as I practice my craft. This blog will help me write a book that will be easy to learn from and full of amazing projects that you will want to build!

Amazing Teachers

I surely did not figure all this out just with books. My dad is a maker and put tools in my hands straight away. I also had an amazing apprenticeship with a master carpenter. Besides being a carpenter, he had an art degree, and was a musician. He stood next to me every day for years and he taught me how to make things. When I asked him if I could be his apprentice, he told me that I could if I promised to pass it along. Passing along making is why I write Make Stuff With Your Kid. I apprenticed under a master furniture maker for a year and he and I inspired each other – then we made a ton of wooden hand planes and patted ourselves on the back a little too much. (but anyway…)

My Future

I am going to keep writing for you. I will share my projects, and if you ask, I will help you with yours. I am making teaching and craft a part of every day of my life. It brings me great joy and I and hope that I can help you like others helped me. (John, you said I had to promise, and here I am!)

Alright, enough jawing already and on to the Craft…

I promised you some draw-knives and here are some draw-knives:

Hand made draw knife

My dad made these little beauties out of an old hand saw blade. I hope to turn some handles for them this weekend. I could not wait for handles, so since I took this picture, I sharpened them and tried them out. The are as sweet as they look. I took a few pulls at a duck decoy I have in the works and they are lovely. I can already tell that these will be my go-to tools for roughing out a new carving.

Thanks for coming by,

-Jim

Hunting Knife Filework – Vine pattern

Posted in Forging, knifemaking, metalwork on March 27, 2010 by Jim

I do not seem to be able to tie this one down and get a handle on it but here is the vine file work I put on the spine of my latest knife.

Knife back with vine file work

Six Micro carving chisels for 20 dollars

Posted in Carving, Forging, Tool Making on March 21, 2010 by Jim

While working on the Praying Machine, I ran into problems carving the wings. I just can’t get up under the edges of the small feathers with the chisels that I have. I looked at Woodcraft and saw that I was going to spend $35 apiece for good carving chisels that would do what I needed to do. Instead of buying those, I made my own.

I got w1 (water hardening) steel rod in 1/16″ and 1/8″ from Speedy Metals for just over two dollars per 3′. I heated the pieces with a torch and pounded the ends out thin. Next, I made the two bends with needle nose pliers. Nearly done, I rough shaped the chisels with files and a grinding wheel:

dog leg micro carving chisel

Here are all the chisels after heating and quenching in water:

handmade micro carving chisels

After quenching, the steel is too hard – brittle like glass really- so I put them in the oven at 450 for a couple of hours to temper the hardness some.  With the steel I used, that should bring me to a hardness that will hold an edge but not break.

Next step was to polish them on a felt wheel with a little rouge:

Polished Micro Carving Chisels

You can see that they are all dog legged.  I made a center v cutting chisel, a right cutter, and a left cutter in each size rod. That should let me get to each part of the feathers on my project.

I heated the handle end of each rod hot again and pressed them into tightly drilled holes in cherry handles:

Micro Carving Chisels cherry handles

I am really pleased with how they turned out and I saved myself quite a bit of money. Shipping included, I spent  20 dollars in total. With the small sized steel I was using, I was able to do the forging with just a hardware store propane torch and I had scraps in the bin for the handles.  All in all, it was a productive Saturday.

Happy Making,

Jim