Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blacksmith Tool Making: Forging a Flatter.

One of the more unusual tools used in Blacksmithing is the Flatter. It looks like a strange square hammer, but is really a tool that is held on the iron and struck with a hammer. It is used to smooth out bumps and hammer marks from the finished iron.

This is a difficult tool to forge due to the huge difference in size between the square working face and the body of the tool. They could be made by forging from one piece or by forge welding two pieces together. We made one by forging it from one piece.  Blacksmith Eric is shown in these pictures.

The starting size was a bar 1.25 inches in diameter. That was upset while hot until it reached 2.25 inches in diameter. That requires the difficult and repetitive work of upsetting.

The body of the flatter then needs shaping. The hammer hole is hot punched through the body.

The tool is hot filed to get closer to the finished shape.  After it has cooled it can be filed to the finished shize and shape.

The flatter will be cleaned up, get a wooden handle, and be put into use.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tool Making: Forging a Tobacco Spear

At the Peleg Field Blacksmith shop we get to make or repair a lot of tools. This year the Lippitt farm experimented with Tobacco, a crop once common from Conneticut through New York and the Genesee reigion.

What is a tobacco Spear? It is a removable point put on a sawn piece of lathe. It allows you to harvest the tobacco by drying it on a stick hanging from the rafters. The point is threaded through the heavy stalk the and plants are hung to dry on the lathe.

How was it made? The hollow socket is made by cutting 16 gauge sheet metal to match our template. It is folded hot into a flattened cone-shaped tube. The edges overlap and will be forge welded.

Forge welding a hollow object presents some difficulties. How can you hit it to weld without crushing it? We made a mandrel that fits inside the socket and holds it while welding. That worked fairly well.
Socket and point parts.

The socket is fluxed and forge welded. Then the point, which is forged from solid bar, is inserted into the socket and that is forge welded into place.
Welding the point

The finished Tobacco Spear was sent down to the farm and was used in our harvest.

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