Forging the drawer handle

Today I learned a new skill from someone.  I have frequently visited the blacksmith over the road and he (Richard) and his friend (John) have always been amazing at helping me, making me tools, inspiring me to do my own craft and believe in my own work.  A few weeks ago when I visited we talked about a number of different things that can be read here When things just fit into place…

Basically the drawer was left outside the blacksmiths shop, I needed a drawer, I used the drawer, John offered to teach me how to forge and make a handle for it.  As the PhD is all about passing on stories and knowledge, this was a great opportunity to learn and talk (my two favourite things).

Lighting the forge at 9am the smoke was beautiful, like an early morning mist.  Story telling of jobs and experiences past flowed freely and so did the cups of tea!  I learned how to lengthen a piece of steel, the rhythm needed for the hammer to get it even, straighten it out and mark the middle.  I learned when to take it out of the fire, how to use the bellows and how to brush off the oxidised muck before hammering.  How to hold the hammer, work the anvil and then how to put it back in again.  The next part (and with a very achy arm) I twisted the hot metal in a vice with a pair of pliers to create the twist on both ends.  Then hammer into right angles to create the handle shape.  Fitting it into the drawer was easy, just a little bit of a drill and it pushed in like it had been made for it (it was made for it so I suppose that’s why it fit!).  It was cleaned up with a wire brush to get rid of the muck and tada!   The experience was exciting, interesting and exhausting.  It made me feel a real part of a team and learned something that I would like to know more about.  Again this project has built friendships and told stories along the way.

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