December 3, 2013

Iron Sharpens Iron

Author: Dan Rieple

My most recent creation, a commission actually, is a valet chair, complete with hangers, hat stand, belt hook and junk tray.   The part of the chair where the hangers hang on which also form the two center rungs of the chair, are made of forged bronze.  The top ends are forged into a taper and the lower part is forged into a randomly hammered round rod.

Two things I have never done are, forge bronze and weld bronze.  The TIG welding of bronze is almost a no brainer but it helps to ask a bit of advice from someone who has done it which is what I did.  Forging is also pretty simple, but again it helps to have experienced resources to call on if you’ve never done it.  When it comes to blacksmithing kind of stuff, my resource is Glenn Gilmore.  When it comes to blacksmithing, Glenn is definitely in the major leagues.  My little metal pounding exercise was nothing compared to what this guy does but being the kind hearted guy he is, he was more that happy to give me some pointers which helped me get to the finish line much easier and better.  When I say easier, I can tell you, that even though my job was relatively simple, my arm was nearly dead from swinging a 4 pound hammer for a couple hours.  The invention of the trip hammer must have revolutionized the blacksmithing business.  It makes me think of the old days when the blacksmith was the strongest and toughest guy around.  Don’t get me wrong, I think most still are.


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