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I Forge Iron


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    Carmarthenshire UK
  • Interests
    18th Century cooking equipment


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    UK & East Africa

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  1. Hello, I have come back to farming - but am a in Carms so not much use to you, a pity because I have all the kit and could do with the cash. I suggest that if you want to get space in someone's outbuildings you have two routes that may offer more success than others. First, try posting what you want on thefarmingforum.co.uk, do it in the agricultural matters thread, because everybody reads that. If you want, I could post on your behalf - I'm known on there so it may get a better response, if you want this PM me your contact details and I'll 'phone you. Secondly, find out where your nearest agricultural merchants / suppliers are e.g. Wynnstay and put up at least an A4 size add' on their notice boards. Make it stand out! Just turning up at the gate isn't going to please most farmers, this is (a) because we are always very busy and, (b) we have so much stuff that can 'go missing' we are always suspicious of people - no insult intended to you, but there a lot of dodgy types around. Good luck.
  2. Just been given the following link, it may be of interest to some since the subject comes up for discussion now and then... http://www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/taking-on-an-apprentice/ Although the opening page of this would seem to infer, photographically, that to apply one needs to be a prat, an unconvincing drag-queen or a seventies time-traveller, a quick scan of the text will reveal that this is not necessarily the case. Apologies if it is already known, I've not been following IFI as often as I once used to.
  3. Just seen this thread - moved and only got the net this week thanks to 'high speed' BT! Pretty much all I do is make iron cooking gear in an 18th Century style and being a lawyer I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing when I started to sell to others. The above is all right, but... although the duty of care lies with the manufacturer / supplier of any piece of work, the courts do follow the old maxims of the common law in addition to extra-national rules (usually giving priority to common law). I can only write in respect of England and Wales, but here any court will take it for granted that if an item was sold for culinary use any buyer will know that it must be kept clean and not allowed to rust. Consumer protection is all well and good, but the steps toward North American levels of 'Safety Warnings', risk averseness and over-litigation that came at the start of the century were seen by the legal establishment, well the Judiciary anyway, as leading to a slippery slope. Ditto that for the EU nanny-state proliferation of 'rules'. Currently there is a low-level conflict between the health and safety brigade (FSA included) and the more pragmatic members of the bench; the Law Commission is trying to consolidate and codify all of our law and will have a fine time trying to reconcile these two viewpoints. Final advice = just hand out a flyer stating the bleeding obvious and mentioning that until pretty recently we had used iron, steel and brass for thousands of years without trouble.
  4. I'm an amateur with about six years practice under my belt, and I guess I could make something that looks like a katana... but that's just the point, it would look like a katana - more or less - but it wouldn't be anything near one in any other way.
  5. Peter Parkinson's 'The Artist Blacksmith'; not very arty, but very practical and will take you from nothing to competence if you let it.
  6. You're welcome. I don't know if you trawled through all of the thread, the 'cast iron' issue was raised early on; I used a poorly cast block as a test piece and gave it a lot of whacking. There is a youtube video of it (search GNJC block), it is not the best quality footage but is shows the block surviving a fair bit of abuse. As with Dave's, my block only has a few dents here and there from stray hammer blows, it is otherwise fine. I should have mentioned what I use most on the block, for general smithing the large 'swoosh' is very useful; the 'step' at one corner is good for all sorts of raising; the largest ladle depressions for sinking. All the other parts are used just as planned. The larger spoon recesses are pretty good for small spoons too. Thanks for the good feedback Dave; if you come up with a good, original idea to replace the veining please let me know.
  7. Hello, as you may have gathered if you read this thread, I'm not a full time smith, just an amateur with a (just about) paying hobby. A block did go to a silversmith, but not the one who originally enquired. I've lost contact with that one too, but I believe it was her intention to get a mirror polish - I guess she would have to. Of the other blocks cast I have not had anyone come back to me with a complaint. My own block is in use and has not shown any sign of suffering. As for the foundry... still a love-hate relationship; very good work and at a good price but simply never reliable as to when. All that written, the real world has intruded on my smithing - another baby and the necessity of doing more work has meant less time at the anvil. But, with luck that will change soon and both the swage block and some other items will be back in production. It has just occurred to me that I should mention what I would do differently on the block; there is only one thing I would change, I would leave out the leaf-vein pattern and either put another recessed pattern of some sort in the space left or leave it flat for use as a local 'anvil' when using the block. On future castings this veining will be absent, I shall fill in the veins on the pattern. The veining didn't work because to allow it to be cast it needs to be of a minimum size, that size is too big for the desired purpose. Other than that I am very pleased with the design.
  8. Yves, you know me well enough by now to call me Giles! The mention by Seymour Lindsay of a rail is, I think, the answer to the reason for so few 'racks' - in the proper sense of the word - to be found here. There were often wooden rails along the front of dressers, shelves and the like. Of course these, being 'attachments' so to speak, would be the most vulnerable things to knock and general wear and tear and so don't often survive. Rob' Deeley spent a lifetime collecting domestic equipment and then recreating and reproducing the appropriate setting for it in a barn on his property. I think he did a fairish job, but there are a number of things that I think inaccurate at best. Note my use of italics and bear in mind my former profession... It is a statement of fact that some of Deeley's collection came from Europe, but I can't say whether these items included the racks shown in his book. The salamanders illustrated in S L's book could have been supported by jamb hooks or something of the sort, or just leant against the nearest wall - I have an illustration of such a thing somewhere but, typically, can't locate it now... There was no absolute need to hang implements up anyway, but don't dismiss wood! A hole set back in a shelf with a small access channel could easily accept the narrow stem of such tools but prevent the ball-end from passing. Right, off to bed before the baby realises...
  9. Hello, interesting. I've not come across many racks over here in the UK, the best I know of is in the private ownership of my chum Michael Finlay (see it here http://www.michaelfinlay.com/MF_WEBSITE_TRIAL/___UTENSILS,_HAND.html). I think it can be dated to the third quarter of the 18th Century, it is over eight feet in length and very well made; as always money talked back then as it does now and somebody paid for and got a fine piece of metal. A key thing to note is that English racks were rarely as ornate as continental ones, Michael's rack is about as twirly as they get; some Scottish racks followed the English tradition of simplicity, some were closer to the French style. I am unaware of any certifiably Welsh or Irish racks. I think that racks were never as common over here as in Europe, certainly not if the number of surviving examples is anything to go by. But, that written, they aren't really to be seen in contemporary illustrations either, wall hooks where appropriate seem to have been the first choice. Seymour Lindsay - who knew his subject and had access to a lot of stuff in the last days fire cooking - never even mentions them...
  10. John, the liability for any injuries / damage caused by the leaves and other projections would lie with whoever sold the bench to the end-user, in this case the retailing garden centre. They could try and join the maker in on any action, but as commercial people with full use of their senses they wouldn't have much luck. If the item had been something to which reg's apply, e.g. safety railings, and the distance beween said railings was more than that permitted, the retailer would have some recourse but, again, they are commercial people and even if the contract twixt them and the smith was unambiguous, they could at best only pass on a share of liability. The question asked would be ' why didn't you check that the railings were safe before accepting them?' Ignorance of reg's / law doesn't wash. For a working smith it all boils down to what is 'reasonable' and what are 'industry norm's'. Common sense and the law coincide to say don't make articles that hold unnecessary dangers; not always easy when one is dealing with lumps of hard, strong and heavy metal...
  11. Hello all, there is a craft show at Fonmon Castle in South Wales this weekend (postcode CF62 3ZN). The Guild will be represented by David Hemsley, he's a well known smith with a good set-up for the show circuit. Any Guild members who want to join him to sell their work or do some demonstrations (or get a lesson if you are a beginner) will be very welcome. Please remember to take proof of current Guild membership with you, insurance! He will also be at the Thame show on April 20th-21st, where I will join him, as before, all are welcome to attend.
  12. Wayne, there are some bad / amoral and grubbing lawyers around, no doubt about it, just as there are no-gooders in every field - when I was in the army I sometimes came across people who were a disgrace to the uniform. But... the criminal Bar over here are the same people to both defend the innocent and to ensure that some horrible individuals are put away for some pretty foul things (it's a family forum so no details). Anyway, best of luck with the security measures.
  13. Well, professionally speaking - hang on while I get on my high horse... - you can't do much to a thief in most US states, whereas you can have a good go at robbers and burglars in most of them. Here in the UK, well in England and Wales anyway, you can use reasonable force in all circumstances, the problem is that what is 'reasonable' has not yet been definitively codified; fortunately, juries generally have common sense and sympathy for someone in a difficult situation. That written, and this goes for both sides of the Atlantic, it is often a mistake to confuse the law with justice. Curly, the blank 12g firers are currently legal but, as with so many things, extreme discretion should be used in their placement. If any harm were to come to anyone due to their discharge, the responsible person would be facing a definite civil action and a probable criminal one. This would be most irritating if the injured person were a genuine burglar, but would be soul-destroying if it were a small child exploring or a police officer following up on a suspicious action. I have learnt a bit from some of the scum I've had the displeasure of defending, and the things they hate most are loud alarms, dogs and evidence catchers i.e. barbed wire and cameras.
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