I recently visited Ireland to attend the Sliabh Aughty Furnace Project. A multi-national gathering of bloomery smelting experts and enthusiasts with the purpose of smelting the first Irish bog ore in 200 years. While in Ireland I also took the opportunity to visit a few blacksmiths as well. Before all of this, however, was a visit (ok.. I went three different times) to the Dublin museum of Archaeology, which featured a spectacular exhibit on Viking ironwork from Ireland. This will be a multi-part blog post working chronologically through some of the iron-related highlights of the trip beginning with the Dublin National Archaeology Museum.
I'll let the photos do lots of the talking.
A year and a half ago I made this adze as a commission for woodworker Yoav Liberman. Yoav writes a blog for Popular Woodworking and we discussed that I would make the tool without a handle so that he could write up an article on his method attaching a secure handle. The adze is traditionally forged out of mild steel with a tool still bit inserted which gives the tool the toughness of the softer iron and the edge-holding power of the steel.
Yoav has since written a two part article on his techniques for hanging a tool handle, and specifically how he hung the handle for this adze. His writing is exceptionally easy to understand despite the depth that he goes into on the subject, and his photos are clear and equally informing.
To read the articles follow these links for click the images below:
We visited "The Art of Iron" exhibit at the Clark Institute in Williamstown, MA today. A selection of wrought ironwork loaned from The Musée Le Secq des Tournelles in France, one of the world's largest museums solely showing traditional ironwork. The exhibit was an interesting mix of intricate traditional work in the form of store front signs, practical items such as dog protective collars and candle snuffers, to key and locking mechanisms. Click the image for a larger version.
Recently I was awarded the Richard C. Wright; Ruel Wright Memorial Blacksmith Scholarship from the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, ME. This allowed me to take a class of my choice in their wonderful facilities. It is a place I've been meaning to visit for quite a while and finally was given the perfect opportunity. The class was "Tools of the Trade: The Carpenter's Tool Box", taught by Med Chandler of "Ship's Coy Forge". I couldn't have chosen a better class. I learned a ton about forging woodworking tools, but more importantly met some amazing folks had the chance to see and work in the shop. The dividers specifically peaked my interested. It is a beautiful forging that really tests the basic skills of drawing out, forging multiple symmetrical piece, isolating material, forge welding, and filing to fit. Not to mention a sweet invisible rivet! I'm exciting to continue practicing what I learned. I highly recommend taking a class there if you ever get the chance: http://www.newenglandschoolofmetalwork.com/
An amazing documentary showing the workings of the historic Samuel Yellin Metalworkers Co. blacksmith shop. Blacksmiths featured include Thomas Latané and Francis Whitaker to name a few. The documentary is split into 6 ten minute parts.
Images of the fabricated fire pot, tuyere, clinker breaker, and ash dump. The last image is a Hofi style chimney as it will be oriented with the forge.