At last, a blacksmithing day with an assistant! I am happy to report that, on Blacksmithing Day 7, Mike was able to be there for the first time since Day 1, and actually the day began in much the same fashion as Day 1 – with welding.
This time, I did not weld. Mike had decided that another forge modification was in order, and since I had a birthday while he was out of town in January, part of my present was some forge modifications. Mike wanted me to be able to contain my fire better without relying on brick bats, so he acquired an old break rotor, used the plasma cutter from work to cut a hole in the bottom of my forge box, and welded the rotor into it. With some pipe fittings from Lowe’s, he made a conduit for the air supply and a trap for ash. As if this wasn’t exciting enough, the air compressor hose just snaps right in now.
While Mike was busy making improvements to the forge, I prepped dinner. Because we knew we would be spending most of the day outdoors and right by the fire pit, dinner prepped over the fire seemed a good fit. At some point in the relatively near future, I’ll post my recipe for what I’ll dub Blacksmith Stew, but as you can see, there are lots of potatoes, onions, and carrots.
After both fires were started (considerably challenging for the cooking fire considering the snow we had in Charlotte last Saturday), the first order of business was securing my anvil. I had known since I got my stand that the anvil really needed to be anchored. Not only had everything I read before I started hammering told me that it had to be done, but I experienced the need first hand as the anvil has moved around each day I’ve worked. It makes scrolling particularly challenging, and forging anything of substantial size would be impossible. My anvil is quite old. It doesn’t have a pritchel hole, so it definitely doesn’t have holes in the feet to bolt it down. To secure it, I took 1/8th inch flat stock and formed it into loops that form fit tightly around the anvil feet. Mike drilled the pieces, and we screwed them down to the stump. Now the stump will move before the anvil will.
The new and improved forge is indeed new and improved. The fire, with air blowing through all of it, burned super hot, and the time it took to heat the metal was considerably less. As it was growing late, I did not complete a project but did do another taper since it is a skill that needs practice. I am indeed getting better, as you can see. Mike tried his hand as well, and he did his first taper and scroll.
About this time, the stew started smelling really good, making it hard to concentrate, and the sun was setting. While Mike put some of our tools away, I toasted some crusty bread and gathered bowls and Adam.
So Blacksmithing Day 7 ended warm next to a big fire with hearty food and good friends. It’s good thing too because it was cold as Niflheim in my backyard.