Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Forging a knife

The Girl and I spent last weekend taking courses in traditional crafts, she making a pizza oven out of cob -- a mixture of clay, straw and sand -- with a group of other children.

For my part, I and the others in my class took similar materials -- with some horse manure involved -- to sculpt a forge that could be used to melt and shape metal. Then -- using larger and faster forges to save time -- I melted down a spring from an old piece of machinery and in turns heated it orange and hammered it into shape, until at the end of two days I had a proper machete. The handle was a piece of hazel I cut, and I fit the handle by heating it and pressing it into the handle, as the wood steamed, shrieked and occasionally burst into flame. At the end of it, though, I have a knife I can use to work the hedgerow.

I'll write more about the details later, but for now I wanted to praise the great organisation CELT, which has organised the event, the Slieve Aughty Center that hosted it -- and my tutor, the historical blacksmith Tony Vincent. Well done, everyone.

Photo: My knife, with the book I'm reading for scale.

1 comment:

Brian Miller said...

Excellent! I'd love to try my hand at the same. Wish there were a few more (any) blacksmiths in the area of East Tennessee.
Brian