Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Recommended Posts

These small letter openers are good for quick demos. Just a few minutes to make and they involve a range of skills - drawing out, scrolling, twisting etc.

I did a couple for a pre-school demo recently and one of the little kids asked what it was. I said that it's a letter opener and he asked "What does it do?". I said that it's for opening letters and his reply was "What's a letter?" A sign of the times. Email and text has all but done away with the humble letter.

I haven't made many of these before and will hone the skills a little more to achieve more consistency in the future. The blades want to bend backwards away from the sharp edge, but I found if I curved the stock inwards first they straighten up nicely.  Woud like to see your designs. I'll get better, but for now ...

 

letter openers.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Forbidden...again....

 

I've made a similar item out of round stock, similar design.  I took some to my craft show last year and as you mentioned, limited appeal because no one under 50 seemed to know what to do with one!  I confess to having one chairside in my den and I seldom use it either, it's easier to just rip the envelope open - though my grandmother would flip in her grave because it isn't "proper" to do so.  

I also made some out of old silver knives, again very attractive if you're over 50.  Otherwise I get the same "what's it for?"   Sigh... face it Aus, we're just gettin' old!  :(

Link to post
Share on other sites

Adjust the blade design a little and you have a butter knife. I've demo'd similar ones from coil spring for smaller one's, and have done some butter knifes from mild for kids. Did not think of doing a mild drawn and twisted handle for a butter knife though. I may have to act on this thought and get some stainless to make butter knives now with a modified version of this.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Nice letter openers/butter knives. I might steal the design for a couple of a couple of Christmas presents.

I have a telephone connected to the copper grid. The burglar alarm still needs that. One of my grandchildren (who owns a cell phone) saw the phone and asked "what is this?"

Have a nice weekend

Göte

PS I use snail mail letters when I want to call attention. Just as I use hand sign when needing to get into a file of cars. It is surprising that people who would ignore blinkers let you in if you get the window down and use a hand sign 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a butter knife (you could make a letter opener version, or as I plan on doing sooner or later some steak knives), so I wanted the back to be straight for scraping the sides of jars. As for curvature very little counter curve and addressing it mainly as I go as needed. I use either the hammer at hand (mostly the hammer) or a wood bopper if I let it start curving too far.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As mentioned when you stretch the edge edge out hammering in the bevel it will curve away from it.

3 main methods of dealing with it.

1: pre curve it the other way so you straighten the blade as you bevel it.

2: with the blade nicely heated place it on it's back on the anvil and *tap* it down flat, gently with a hammer or with a chunk of wood.  This method actually works even with pretty thin edges though it helps to not let it go to far between correctons

3: make a double edged blade

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thomas answered that better then me. Hazards of not being the best at wording things and running out the door. Remembering when tapping down to get a high spot or a curve out of something, three points of contact. Two on the anvil being the low, the third up which is hit with the hammer or bopper, or even a handy 2x4, heehee.  over Sometimes one of the two is the tongs or however you are holding the material such as when straightening out a overbend in a hook. By placing the hook over the horn, pulling back with the tong hand and tapping on the near side of the piece.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have made a few straight edges by straightening at the same time as I make the bevel. Meaning that I put the edge on the anvil and hammer on the back. It is the usual ”bang bang bang turn ninety degrees bang bang turn back”. The edge hardly deforms at all since the contact surface is fairly large especially in the beginning when the edge is still very blunt.

Easier than it sounds

Göte

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...
  • 3 years later...

I hired myself for a letter opener job. Well our family accounting firm did, anyway. I met with our local village magazine publisher last week because it was time to renew our ad and, of course, her opportunity to pitch us on an upgrade. A few times a year the publishing company sends out gift baskets to new residents of the community; in the baskets are little gifts from local businesses advertising their services or products. She says, 

"We have clients who order little things like cork screws and key chains, but for you guys I was thinking we could order some letter openers!"

The fire sparks in my eye and, without hesitation, I agree that it's a "wonderful idea and to do it one better... I'll even make the letter openers!" 

Anyway, that's how I remember it. To the point: Our firm hired our marketing firm to hire me to provide our welcome gifts. B) I forged 2 tonight, 3 yesterday, hopefully done with     ALL 25 BY MONDAY     

.... it will be fine. Here's what I got so far.  I will keep mixing it up; it has been great hammer control practice and allows me to explore different styles. Need to focus on refining and speed most of all. Too many many hammer marks. They are finished with Trewax, but I think I put it on at too high a temp for a couple of them.

20201113_201534.jpg

20201113_201657.jpg

20201113_201627.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you tested them on some junk mail yet? They look good, I agree with you about the hammer marks, but they look good. However, it's nice to know they work well too.

Even if you're working for your family's co, it's a good practice not to over-promise and under deliver (I'm not saying you're under delivering, I'm just speaking to my approach to large tasks in a professional - semi-professional setting). Better to have 10-15 clean ones than 25 rushed ones. In the same breath, having committed to 25, if you find yourself short on time pick the one (or 2) style(s) you like the most and stick to those. It's easier to make 2-4 at a time if you're doing the same thing on all of them rather than switching it up constantly. Or at least it is for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You may find the ones with the handles at 90 degree to the opener "blade" awkward to use.

While using these as a practising too, The use of a flatter on the opener blade would also help in removing the hammer marks to inmprove the finish,

and , if the scrolled ends were more tapered to a point, they would IMHO look somewhat better.,

Look forward to seeing them  all completed and the progress you will no doubtedly make as you get through them.

Enjoy.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, guys. 

Frazer, you are absolutely right. I did over-promise for the time frame. I actually had to prioritize a fence repair in my backyard; not only was weather demanding I fix it very soon, but other factors like my 2 dogs escaping and privacy in general influenced the decision. I have 15 done so far, but I spoke with the marketing company and they had no problem giving me til Wednesday this week to finish them up. I did continue to make a few in different style, but you're right, sticking with one style will help with speed. And yes, I did test them on junk mail and have not seen any issues. Although, I'm sure they would open more smoothly with a better bevel and dull edge. 

John B, I had not thought of the 90* handles being an issue, but I can see what you mean. And yes, I need to add a flatter to my artillery soon. I also agree with your opinion on my scrolls... Not the first time I have received that critique, either. This is a great opportunity to hone that skill and I need to take better advantage of it. 

IDFCW, penny scroll would look nice, for sure. Another style to practice. 

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...