Monday, March 5, 2012

Object Ideas - (2)

(Day 19)

With the power of the hydraulic press still a couple of days from securing, I will be starting with some of the smaller blooms / bloom fragments. Those are small enough to work with hand power - or under the smaller die size of my air hammer.

I was thinking of something that would both serve as a warm up towards the larger scale work to come, plus would yield up an interesting object. Another advantage of a smaller scale is that I will be able to work in my existing bottom draft forge. (Later I expect I will have to convert this over to a larger scale, side draft arrangement.)

The answer I decided upon was blade work:

The overall lines of these possible pieces actually comes from Bronze Age Greece. The artifacts are small one piece general purpose knives, with blades about 4 inches long. In terms of the profile, I thought to change the proportions to create a very wide and stubby blade, but retain the sweeping curves. This is a general profile I have worked with many times before - and have had great results.

The concept is to take one of the smaller bloom fragments, perhaps one of the cut sections. That would give me a piece with one more or less flat, and relatively dense surface. This I would flatten slightly, then cut in two down the centre of the flat side. The result of this should be two pieces, each of which will have a wide flat side plus a relatively flat edge. The opposite edge should retain the irregular surface originally on the outside of the bloom.

These two slabs would then be welded on to a separate core piece of a middle carbon spring steel, a bit wider than the bloom pieces. If the correct sizes are matched, what should result is one more or less 'clean and tight' edge, and one ragged edge. The two surfaces of the block would be hard and dense along one side, but become irregular to the other side.

This I would then forge up into the finished blade profile.
On polishing, what should result is a hard and even bottom edge. When ground, the bevel shape created will expose the harder carbon steel core for the cutting blade. Along the back, the material should appear pitted and irregular - a feature from the bloom iron source of the material.

Stay tuned to see what becomes of this grand concept...

The equipment preparation part of this project is dragging on longer than I had hoped. The new dies for the hydraulic press are ready, but there is one last bit of the conversion of that piece of equipment that needs to be finished. It is powered by a gasoline engine, and with the modifications, right now the exhaust blows straight back on to the operator. Although I have run it a couple of short sessions just to ensure everything is working, I really can not work seriously with the blooms on this machine until I install some venting. I need to purchase some metal hosing for this purpose, hopefully over the next couple of days. Sometimes rural living really slows down sourcing any 'unusual' parts or supplies purchases. (Big joke around here is "What are you using it for - this time?")

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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