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I Forge Iron

miners candle spike part 1

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While cruising the net yesterday, I came across this project on one of the other state assoc, sites, I believe it gave credit to Tom Latane for this one, you can find it if you google "Miners Candle spike" I think. In any event this took about 2 hours, which is what Tom said his first one took, and that made me feel great, cause he is wayyyyy better than me, but none the less, I had a lot of fun. I recommend it for beginner smiths, it has several techniques that can give you experience.

1. 10 inches of 1/4" X 3/4" cut up the middle 4.5 inches on one end.
2. Shoulder at 2" from end and 1/2" from split.
3. Draw out in between shoulders to aprox 1/4".
4. Flatten candle cup portion, keep bottom flush, (I blew it here)

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So keeping the bottom of the candle cup flush is important.
5. Bend up 1 arm to make leaf handle, make it as close to a 90 as you can.
6. Point and shape to desire, this project is a leaf like shape.
7. Curl handle with a small scroll on the tip.
8. Twist and point spike, notice my anvil saddle for protecting the twist, this was something I came up with 2 years ago, for quick access to straighten twists without damaging them. A 2X6 inset with metal handles which horseback over the anvil, Quick and easy peasy!
9. Bend candle cup arm around after curling cup.
10. Finished project.

this was a really fun little project, I may do it for a demo!!

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I'ts actually designed to either sit on its own, or to be driven into a beam or post, but the old miners I grew up with would never have actually driven them into the posts, as you never really know how secure things are, I suppose you could drive it into a crack in the rock as well. As a hobbyist, I really enjoyed this one!!

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Divermike - what a coincidence - I just finished one a couple of days ago. Used 1/4 x 3/4 flat. From a Bill Epps demo on anvilefire. About the same except the hook on his is sharpened to a point so it can be hung over/into something ( chair back, etc ) or into top top of a beam. He said the candle would hang out at an angle ( didn't say why ). Was somewhat of a challenge at my skill level ( or lack of skill level ) but I enjoyed it. Got to do another.

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Nice demo Mike, thanks.

Quite a few years ago while visiting my folks in northern N California sierras they set me up to meet some local smiths at a historic mine smithy. As it turned out none of us were "qualified" to work in period as mine blacksmiths but we sure had a good time. Heck, they opened the park and there were tourists gawking and telling us their grandfathers were smiths.

Anyway, the other guys were telling me about candle holders similar to yours but they were hoping I knew how to make them. Unfortunately No, I'd never even seen one but they had some pictures though and we spent some time and wasted some steel trying.

The one I came sort of close in a useless sort of tool way I modified a bit. Supposedly they could be driven into a timber, a crack or hung over a timber. It had an element that was a spring that held the candle against the shaft rather than a socket. The modification I made was to alter the hook curve by folding the shaft, then forging that arm into shape and position. My thought was to provide a solid, straight shaft to hit with a hammer rather than a curved hook. I just figured it would be more solid and with the arm coming off nearly at 90* it provided a solid spot to use something to pry it out of a crack or timber. Unfortunately it was a clumsy failure as a candle holder and the local guys accepted it as a decent attempt. They were kind souls.

I like your wood saddle Mike. I have a birch log close to the anvil in my shop but your saddle would be very handy for demos away from home. It'd certainly be better than trying to use the wood block like I usually do, I usually have too many things in the way I have to move first.


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... As it turned out none of us were "qualified" to work in period as mine blacksmiths ..Frosty

Frosty, I don't understand the "qualified" part. Does that mean that you didn't have the appropriate "period" clothing or was there some other way you were disqualified? :confused:

Wishing to add to my understanding of historic smithy presentations,
Thank you in advance for the information,
Dave M.E.
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the straight back block idea for hammerin also came to me during the process, and I think a square corner would probably do it, I was raised in Ca. and there was a place nearby called Columbia where they have a working gold mine you can tour and a functioning smithy, last time I was there. I daydream about going back there and asking if I can get in the mix with em!! in any event, it's so good to have you back, the universe is in order again!! huzzah!!

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Thanks for posting that! Francis Whitaker had a miners candle holder in one of his books,Beautiful Iron, he has the steps in it cold. He uses 1/4"x1-1/4"x10" and says final forging before bending is 20" long and shop time 1.5 hours. But going by the date he did it , he already been smithing over 40 years, so 2 hours I would say is very good!

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