Jump to content
I Forge Iron

fireplace crane

Recommended Posts

One of my clients asked me to make this crane for him based off of a crane in a book I have. It's the same design as what was in the book, but I had to guess at material size and make the entire crane to his size specifications.

The upright bar is 3/4-inch round with 5/8-inch tennons. The top part of the bar is slightly tapered from 3/4-inch to 5/8-inch round so that it fits in the top pintel without being a noticable size reduction.

The rivets are slit and drift to half inch, and I made the rivets from 1/2-inch round. The twisted bar and the horizontal bar are both 5/8-inch square. Since taking Brian Brazeal's class I'd much rather have done his style of square corners (Haberman bend is what he calls it,) but the client wanted the regular square corners. The part of the horizontal bar that goes over the upright bar was slit and drifted to 3/4-inch round. There is a blind, 3/16-inch rivet there.

The twist was done in three separate heats, and then a couple more heats were used to get things evened out. I'm pleased with the way it turned out. It is a little tighter at one end than the other, but it is not too much of a difference. The curved bar was a bit of a pain. I would have prefered the top rivet to have been about an inch farther back than it is.

Once again, I cannot claim the design, as it isn't mine. I took the overall design out of a book and customized it to my client's size specifications.

32-inches long
22-inches tall

10 hours including mistakes! :D (I messed up the first curved bar and had to start over about 30 minutes into it.)

Anyway, thoughts????







Link to comment
Share on other sites

Overall a very nice piece of work Dave. I dislike the square corners though and see no need for them. If there is a need for the clearance provided by the square corners I would suggest smooth curves instead. I am also a bit puzzled by the pot hook at the cranes end... It seems like it would not position the pot very accurately and does not seem very secure either... I think I'd redesign that... maybe a more traditional hook dipping the other way or a series of S waves that would offer varied positioning. I like the graceful lines and see the square corners as jarring and out-of-place in this design. You've done a very nice job with the rivets IMO and I like rivets! The twist and it's curves are very nice! I am especially fond of the nice upsets on the ends of the curved arm!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments. A Heritage in Iron is the book that the design was found in. My client bought me the book some time ago.

I like the way square corners look and they look better in the book than they do on my version. I don't particularly like forging square corners though. The square corners, to my knowledge, do not serve any purpose. Just a visual thing I think.

I certainly agree about the end. I'd rather have a hook or something to position a pot on, instead of the flat end. Once again, though, I'm stuck with the design in the book.

My client wants the end altered. :( He said something about a diamond shape on the end. I didn't see that shape on the end in the book, but I'll have to look again. Should be fun getting the hole thing in the forge and moving it around. I do have enough mass on the end to make that alteration though.....I think. ;)

Also, the picture makes it look like the whole horizontal arm is slanted upward. That is just positioning, as the horizontal arm is level.

Thanks for the complements as regards the work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't particularly like forging square corners though. The square corners, to my knowledge, do not serve any purpose. Just a visual thing I think.

Could say that about the twist, upset ends, etc. Might not serve a direct function but demonstrates some technique and skill.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed! Instead of technique and skill though, I was thinking of frustration and hair pulling. Comes to the same thing though, right? :D
The corners took me four or five heats a piece. I always end up fighting square corners. No inside cracks though.......they are smooth as can be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I like the look. Particularly the upset kicker on the end of the piece where it is joined to the upright stantion. it gives the piece the finished "hand forged look".

The hook needs a better termination but I am sure you are on that. As a reference, try reading "Fireplace Accessories" by Dona Z Meilach. Some fantastic oldnew examples of work in the book. You can get a lot of ideas on various traditional and modern designs. Also, the book "Decorative Antique Ironwork" has a great collection of 17-18 century ironwork depictions. The picure qulaity is poor but the ideas are endless. The book showcases the amazing detail of the period's master iron workers.

Square corners take a lot of time and they don't always look right. Welded or "glut weld corners" as they are sometimes refered to, are relatively fast and easy. You can forge or electric weld the piece into place and then dress the corner out accordingly. You can also upset the area of corner and carefully rework to get the consistent dimension. By far the hardest from my own experince is the heat, bend and dress technique. A very localized heat (yellow) is the prescribed method. Using this technique I always wind up with a loss of stock dimension (thining) at the bend when I use this method and it winds up looking a little bit off.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I assume the end is the "handle" to swing the crane---how about a basket?

One thing I noticed is that there is not much room on the horizontal bar to have multiple pots suspended. Is it supposed to be a working piece or primarily decorative? (I work with LH down hearth cooks)

There are some wild examples in "Iron and Brass Implements of the English House" J. Seymour Lindsay; but they require a very large fireplace indeed!

Finally the ring joint around the upright does not seem to be fastened. As the upright is what turns why leave it loose?

But as mentioned a fine piece already and quite saleable as is!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finally the ring joint around the upright does not seem to be fastened.

That's the point Thomas! LOL It's a "blind rivet."

Also, I would think you could hang some pots farther back around the arch. I would have moved it back some, but I was going for as proportionally similar to the book design as possible. I could have riveted the arch about an inch farther back without any problems, but hind-sight is 20-20!

@ petere76:
I think loss of stock dimension just behind the square corners is due to hammer blows placed too far back. This is easy to do when you are first getting the corner started. I end up with massive stock increase, because square corners are an upset technique. You should end up with stock increase that has to be forged back down to size.
I'm not an expert on square corners and have only done a few. (I avoid it whenver possible! LOL) I could be totally off!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well done Dave. I'd need to study on the project a while to be able to offer much critique and it's a speced piece so there isn't much purpose to "I wouldas". I'm thinking it needs some small fullered grooves across the top to secure pot hooks to be fully functional. (I guess I couldn't help myself could I? <sigh>)

The arm's finial must be a handle or it's supposed to keep folk from using that part to hang anything except maybe socks from.

I like it and I like cranes a LOT.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Very nice looking piece Dave. The long piece with the groove in the twist with the upset ends is really impressive. The customer won't have to worry about the "everyone has one" scenario. The level and amount of work involved goes well beyond the commonly found. Thanks for all the pictures. Spears.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys! This piece is shipping off today! The client has been waiting for voer a month now. (I'm keeping pretty busy these days.) The next custom job in line is two circular chair bases. One is 24-inch the other is about 18 or 20-inch round. They will have forg welded tabs with scrolls. More on all that later. I've got a show this weekend, and if I do good, I'll have plenty of work to do to get ready for the next show.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...