Friday, August 17, 2012

Forging a Ring (2004)

In January 2004 I took a one-day blacksmithing course with some friends from UW engineering, which was great fun.  We essentially drove out to the boonies in the dead of winter, and spent our day huddled around forges in a real workshop.

We spent the morning learning the basics and forging hooks.  I'm not sure I recall the terminology, but we learned how to forge a flat tail (looks like a beaver tail), a pointy end (looks like a stabby weapon type of implement), and how to twist the rod.  This last operation was the most satisfying; you stick one end of the rod in a vise, and using a giant two-handed lever that threads around the square section of iron, you basically literally twist the metal with your bare strength after heating up the central section.  You even get to see little bits of colder metal flake of the twisting sections as you pull, which is very gratifying for the ego.

During the afternoon, we got around to forging iron rings.  (I had yet to see a true engineering iron ring at that point in my life, so my ring doesn't really look like the real thing.)  The teacher mag-welded our rings for us, and we polished them afterwards.

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