Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Where are the artist blacksmiths who do not use a powerhammer?


Recommended Posts

  • 2 weeks later...

I just finished forging 285 3/4" bars. i would have hated to have to do that all by hand. I think about 1/2 bar is an upper limit when foging by hand. I have forged down 1 1/4 by hand, but wouldn't want to do too many of them. Biggest difference, though is in how many you can do before you are spent. Power hammer allows you to do a lot more.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the things that I find as a difference between old decorative iron work and new work is the change of cross section. In today's work it is common to see long tapers, heavily upset end and other forms that really illustrate the plasticity of hot steel.

 

Today's artistic smiths are not limited in that way if they choose to uses power hammers so not only are their gains in efficiency, but also a much wider outlet for creative expression.

 

Some points I would like to inject are firstly the range and type of materials being creatively forged/used by the "artist" blacksmiths now as opposed to the "old" decorative ironwork.

 

To Quote   "In today's work it is common to see long tapers, heavily upset end and other forms that really illustrate the plasticity of hot steel."

 

Wrought Iron was, and is a different forging medium to the more modern steels and differs in the processes we can use when forging it.

It was upset, it had long tapers,and powered hammers were used, but the wrought iron's fibrous structure also limits the way we now forge the modern materials.

 

To Quote "In old iron work you see a lot of uniform cross sections that are punched, split or welded, but the work and designs are limited to the ability to work fairly small pre-rolled stock."

 

Where does this idea come from? Designs at that time were structured and purposeful, Art was more aesthetic

 

I would suggest that the uniform cross sections you refer to were in actual fact forged sections produced by the 'smiths themselves,

 

"Small stock" would imply 1/2" or less from what I have seen referred to on this site, If you look at the larger wrought iron projects ie. Estate gates, balustrades, andirons etc, most of those are well above this size range. 

 

Materials were sourced or produced by the smiths, and then hammered into the required sections, and then worked on. The aim being to achieve smooth clean lines with no unintentional hammer marks, and finished to suit the situation.

 

This is one of the reasons for the blacksmiths scrap/stock pile, many of the larger sections being formed and reforged into usable pieces from odd left over pieces of wrought iron, particularly common in backstiles for large gates.

 

This is a total juxtaposition of the modern idea that if the material is not fully worked all over by hammer and showing hammer marks, then it is not a proper job.

 

The smiths of old would have loved to have sized stock to work, with minimum effort on their part.

 

In the old pre industrial revolution days, the wrought iron was the expensive part of the job, (ingots/bars being used as currency) labour was cheaper, so it was economical to reprocess their leftovers (avoided intentionally the word scrap there),

 

To Quote "Today's artistic smiths are not limited in that way if they choose to uses power hammers so not only are their gains in efficiency, but also a much wider outlet for creative expression"

 

Blacksmiths were, and still are artists, Artist Blacksmiths are not a seperate entity or a new concept but that debate has already been discussed at length, (and always will be), efficiency implies maximum output for minimum effort/cost, the choice of the word artist then opens up the way to charge extra for that creative expression,

 

You can be an artist blacksmith without a powerhammer, just scale things down somewhat.

 

I would also like to point out that you will get more benefit from a powerhammer if you have a good range/knowledge of the blacksmiths skills before you start to use a powerhammer.

Link to post
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.

Guest
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...