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I Forge Iron

Albert Paley Bench at the Victoria and Albert Museum

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I just returned from the UK and spent a day at the Victoria and Albert museum in London. They have one of the most outstanding collections of blacksmith work that I have ever seen. In this attachment, I am showing pictures of the Albert Paley bench that was commissioned by the museum. I took lot's of pictures of the various elements. I apologize for the picture quality, the lighting was poor for taking pictures. If ever you have the opportunity to visit London, I would recommend that you spend time in this museum.













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Wow! That looks very cool. I especially like the twists in the tapered bars. Are those octagonal? Also the wrapping with the small strips looks great. Just like leather wrappings would look like. Thanks for sharing! It sure inspired me.


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Yes, they are octagonal... not sure what they started out as...square bar or round. they are approximately 3" diameter. There were so many great elements that Mr. Paley included in this work. You can get a lot of ideas for unique work by studying this piece. Later, I am going to post other pictures I took at the museum. This museum has a lot of very classical blacksmith work. I also had the opportunity to visit John Nicholson, the importer of Anyang Power hammers and the owner of Massey in the UK. I will be posting pictures of John's operation... very interesting.

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I did get a chance to go through the science museum... that was very interesting... I also liked the steam engines they had and the aerospace and old airplane engine section was outstanding. Probably the best part of my trip was to see the B&S Massey operation in Manchester. B&S Massey started making old steam driven powerhammers in 1860 and sold them all over the world. I got to spend a couple of days with John Nicholson and his father. John's dad had worked for Massey for years and the company went out of business in the mid 1980's. John bought the rights to Massey and has made a business out of refurbishing the old power hammers. There are quite a few around the world still in operation. They showed me what today would be a blue print room, but back on the 1800's, all of the drawings were in ink. They still had the original drawings and showed me a power hammer drawing that had been manufactured in 1900... and John can still supply parts to that hammer. John also imports the Anyang hammer into the UK. When I have time, I will write a short report of my trip to see John and post some of the pictures that I took. John is one of the most knowledgeable people I have meet regarding power hammers and is a good guy...

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That trip sounds fantastic. I sure look forward to your further posts. Paley's piece is unique. The large number of manipulations stand in contrast to the elegant pieces exhited on the wall. I was able to watch Paley work on a studio visit in 1996. Fantastic showman. His success as a sculptor is huge. I sure am glad he recovered so well from his burns.

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Hey James! good to see you on your trip! (bet you diddnt recon on helping to unload 20,000lb components off a lorry from a self contained hammer did you, and it was supposed to be a vacation! :) )

Im ashamed to admit ive never been to the V&A, its going on my list now ive seen those photos! Ill try and make it over to see you guys at ABANA one year :D

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