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I Forge Iron


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After a long absence, I got back in the forge! Work has been keeping me VERY busy- But now I've got at least 4 months off, so I plan on spending a lot of time swinging my hammer...

This is my first attempt at a feather. There are a few things that I'll do differently next time, but over all I'm pretty satisfied with it. It started life as a 1/4" x 1" piece of bar stock-



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I spent a little more time in the shop today- And tried another feather. I was a lot happier about the result this time-


I used a similar process, but did the things that I thought I should do differently...

This time, I started out with a smaller piece of stock- It was 1/4" x 1" bar. First, I tapered out the quill, Using the edge of the anvil to create a 'shoulder'. At this point, I left it square, so it would be easier to grip when I was forging the tip end later.

Next, I forged the rough shape of the 2 sides of the feather using a cross-peen hammer, on the face of the anvil. I thinned both sides of the feather, leaving plenty of material in the middle to form the rachis (Stem).

Then I used a treadle hammer to form the rachis- I have a small, rectangular, flat punch that I ran down both sides of the rachis to get a sharp, defined edge.

After this, I forged out the vanes, using the peen of a hammer. Once the feather was mostly done, I cut the end of the feather off. Then, using vice grips to hold on to the tapered quill end (sorry, traditionalists!), I forged the tip of the feather, and the vanes on the end.

I wanted a 'split' in the vanes, so I cut a v shaped notch with a chisel, the forged it a bit more to make it look a little more natural.

After letting it cool down, I did the final forming of the edge cold, again using the peen of the hammer on the face of the anvil.

Then, I flipped it all around, and finished rounding & tapering the quill. Total time was about 35 minutes- Not too bad for a second go! Hopefully, this all makes sense!!

But, Since an average songbird has 2000-4000 feathers, I've got a long way to go :)


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You must be a bird fancier to know the proper name of feather parts or a biologist.

I've got a somewhat more than normal interest in birds, for sure! I was headed into the Biology field, but I got sidetracked in college... But, I live with three pet Parrots, so I'm surrounded by birds all the time!

That owl is INCREDIBLE! As is the tree trunk he's on. Superb work!
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