Tuesday, June 05, 2018

making the monster claw

In blacksmithing, I wanted to try my hand at making a garden tool. This would be the kind of thing in an earlier time one might have asked their local village blacksmith to make. A person might walk into the blacksmith's shop and make a sketch of the size and shape of the thing to be made and return in the afternoon to pick it up. If it wasn't quite right, the blacksmith could put it back in the fire and make adjustments to a tool that would fit your hand and last your whole life.

Yesterday I added a handle that cracked as I was hammering it in place. The copper ferrule I had made held it tight. Even with the flawed handle (which I could replace) it is ready to work.

In any case, the tool is frightfully larger than necessary, which reminds me of an excellent paper by Rudolph J. Drillis called "Folk Norms and Biomechanics." It can be found here: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/001872086300500502 At one time, tools were made to fit the hand and the body of the user.

Now tools are made to fit the shelves of the big box store, they eye of the consumer and the economies of production. Drillis, in "Folk Norms and Biomechanics" explored the relationship between the tool and the body and the customizing to fit.

To make the monster claw, I took two pieces of 3/8 in. bar stock and drew out tapers both ends. Sound easy? Perhaps it is if you practice first. I bent the ends while held red hot in the vise, and cut the side tines to length. Back in the fire, I again heated the parts red hot and malleable. Returning to the vise with the red hot stock, I bent them to align with the central tine.

All this was under the guidance of master teacher Bert Jones. Bert helped me then by arc welding the parts together. After grinding to make flush, I returned the whole thing to the forge to bring the steel to an even tone.

Have I made a useful tool? Perhaps for digging rocks. It is robust and not the gentle tool for gardening that I had in mind in the first place. But is it evidence of learning? I'll say yes on that.

Make, fix, create and learn to help others learn likewise.

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