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In time for the Halloween season, I forged the key to Hell from the Sandman series, written by Neil Gaiman.  If you haven't read the works of Neil Gaiman, it is a real treat.  Anyhow, the key is forged traditionally, I started with wrought iron, but ran into trouble, so this attempt is made with mild steel.  

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jacobd, look at picture #7. There is a textured block that fits in the hardy hole with random blobs of weld bead that he hammers it into.

 Lines of weld bead give you a bark or grapevine texture. They sell clapper dies for use under a power hammer in many more varieties.

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Nice job! and pics!

 

 

jacobd, look at picture #7. There is a textured block that fits in the hardy hole with random blobs of weld bead that he hammers it into.

 Lines of weld bead give you a bark or grapevine texture. They sell clapper dies for use under a power hammer in many more varieties.

 

Its these little tidbits if info, tips and techniques others use I really enjoy.

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Great presentation.  The finished product looks fantastic and I'll definitely have to look into making some of those textured dies.  The key looks like it's been rusting for centuries and only got wire- brushed for the photo shoot.

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Thanks everyone!  Yes, I love the technique and thought this project would be a great excuse to try it out.  The real benefit is that the piece doesn't have to cycle thru a dozen welding heats or sit there and soak, possibly causing cracks.  The other issue I found when trying to oxidize a project in the coal forge is it tends to round/smooth over areas as its being eaten away.  Not so with this approach.  The block in the photo I use as the anvil and have 4 hammers of different shapes with random welds on them.  Here is another project using this technique.  The client wanted an oxen log holder similar to the one in the British Museum from 800 AD but also be functional. 

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Query:  How did you attach the horns to the beast heads?  I have looked at this and similar projects and that has always stumped me.

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It stumped me too.  I looked at the original over there and it was pretty corroded.  I tried forge-welding it together, drilling a hole etc..  but it would only forge weld two sides, making an oval with gaps.  I ended up arc welding them in place and hammering to blend in.  I think if this had to be traditional, then make the antennae with enough mass to butt weld them in place.  In any event, it would be a bear to replicate.

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Dear John,

 

I have wondered about this for 25 years since I saw an Anglo-Saxon fire dog (similar to the one in Meduseld in the Lord of the Rings Two Towers movie) in a museum in Cambridge.  Since the originals were wrought iron maybe the antennae forge welded on easier but they are still a wonderful example of the skills of the smiths at the time.

 

Admiringly,

George M.

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