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I Forge Iron

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Most likely they started with a chunk that was big enough to flatten and spread to make the round head, and then drew down a portion to make the hook.

 

Or, another option would be to fold over and forge-weld a bit of the stock so you have a large mass on one end that could be flattened and spread to make the round part.

 

Or, you could upset one end to get the mass needed to flatten and spread.....

 

There are a lot of ways to go about it.  The clean lines and smooth taper indicate that whoever did it knew their way around an anvil!  I love looking at work from back in the day.

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If it's old enough to be real wrought iron it is more likely that they forge welded more mass on than tried to upset it. Seeing the transitions to the shaft looks like they used a set tool to make the nice sharp demarcation.

It is indeed a lovely piece to show how plastic iron can be when hot with lovely swelling and tapering sections. It also show how much work can be put into even very mundane objects; though the American counterpart---the conestoga wagon also was characterized by a high degree of workmanship in it's iron parts and often very showy tool box hinges.

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That's a very stylish 'oxwagon' hook. In Australia we call them bullock wagons or bullock drays. I like the way the blacksmiths added some style and individuality in the finish. Shows pride in their work.
I have a collection of these things - some with the maker's mark on them. I particularly like the ones that state unashamedly 'original and best' or 'genuine best'.

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I suspect that hook is not forged.  I think it might be cast.

 

nah not cast, it would be useless in that application.

it is important to remember that there was a time in the not to distant past where hammer marks in forged parts were seen as a sign of poor quality.

very nicely forged, and as stated before, very likely to have been welded up, then forged

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I think there is plenty of material/volume in the square shank dimension to spread out to that penny end without any need to upset or weld…if you mentally slice the penny sides off in line with the shank and stack them up you get the picture.

 

I think the process to make it depends whether it was made in house by the cartwrights' smith or by a drop forge supplier of wagon furniture. Any history of the wagon? 

 

Even in house, the quantity they made would justify top and bottom dies to give the crisp diamond transition/neck and probably tapered swages for the hook then finished on the anvil.

 

There are a few flats along the round tapered part of the hook so maybe they just swaged the shoulder and then drew out the taper by rotating on a wedge  block rather than tapered swages.

 

The only bit I can't fathom is the line under the diamond shoulder which makes it into a triangle. Maybe that was just decoration or maybe they tapped the square shank back to square where the shoulders had dragged, maybe a bruise from the tongs...

 

A useful photo to determine the proportion of die to free work would be of the hook on the other side of the wagon in order to make a direct comparison.

 

Alan

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Looks like it was forged under a power hammer. Look at the transition to the round boss, that was done on a swage die. I figure they forged a ball on one end, then drew out the taper. Then they forged the boss flat on the swage die, then squared the short square section to match. Then they bent the hook, and finished the end. Still a lovely hook, but not a free handed piece;-) I do like the way they finished the hook end.

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I don't think they would need to make a ball. At most they may have necked in the shank.

Just out of interest I made a bottom vee tool and tapped a bit of 12mm into it. These are the first attempts which show the possibility. Refine the length used and knock down the square shank to the apparent little taper on the original and it is very close.

Each end of the bit of 12mm was just one heat. No upset, no ball, no edge shaping.

Alan

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