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Patterson Forge

How does one make a maple leaf?

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Canada is celebrating 150 years and I have been asked to make some maple leaves.

I would like some help and ideas on how to forge out of iron some maple leaves. They need to be about six inches square down to two inches square. I am open to any ideas and examples.

Thanks in advance.

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have the blanks waterjet or laser cut and then forge them for texture and "life".

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Forging maple leaves is tricky: they tend to burn up before they get to forging temperature.

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And...be sure to soak it in water before forging to prevent burning....

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I've been pondering the same project as a challenge for a while and haven't figured out a way to do it from bar stock.  I was thinking I could forge weld five small bars together half way up their lengths and the hammer out each end as a section of the leaf but it would be near impossible to forge each one separately without burning up the finished ones.  Then there would be too much material left over for the base of the leaf.

I think Thomas, as usual, is right and it is best accomplished by shaping it out of plate stock.  It would be fun to get some IFI people to all go to their forges and try their own method and share results on projects like this.

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Now if I had to make one from bar stock I would like something like 2 or 3 inch broad by 1/8 to 1/4 thick and would point the end bluntly keeping the thickness even, (or hot cut it to the blunt point). then go down the sides of the point and chisel in where the leaf "branches out" and then work the other protrusions in and finally hot cut in from both sides to leave the material to forge the stem *last*.

I expect it would take a number to get good and even more to get fast and could not compete with texturing laser or waterjet cut stock.

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Might be cheating but why not pluck a few different size leaves from a tree. Trace them on paper. Then take paper templates and trace them on sheet steel. Cut out cold with aviation snips. Heat then make veins with hammer and chisel, then gently shape with pliers to suit taste.

George

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Greetings George/ Patterson, 

     I learned a trick for tracing patterns on sheet metal years ago from George Dixon. Buy some 3M spray glue and stick your paper pattern to the metal. I use special cut out chisels and my treadle hammer for that job. Works great.. 

Forge on and make beautiful things 

Jim

IMG_0535.JPG

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Here are are some I did  a while ago, laser cut for me then used in  project .Looking at them now I see that I might have put a little more in to forming them to look more alive . Sheet was just under 1/8" 

IMG_3390.JPG

IMG_3391.JPG

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A Retired industrial blacksmith I know used to make maple leaf candle sticks.  He used about 3/16 plate chisel cut it out under the steam hammer. Later on he had someone torch the blanks out and he would file the edges.  These days laser or waterjet makes more sense. .

However Chisel cut does give a nice texture to the top edge and you end up with slight variety to the leaves which can be a good thing.

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Thanks for some ideas.

I think this is an excellent project we can all experiment with. Let's see some results!

Good thing the local high school has a CNC plasma cutter, and that the shop teacher owes me a favor...

 

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Not much call for maple leaves down here a couple of miles from the US border with Mexico; of course I am within 10 miles of several Wineries and they like grape leaves...

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I think the real challenge is to get " life" into botanical forms . Getting just the right twist or bend can make a lot of difference . 

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At a New Mexico Blacksmith's meeting we once got to see a major work by a professional smith---part of a US$90000 commission. It used a lot of "water leaves"/acanthus? in it, all repoussed.  He was telling us than an expert repousse artist once told him that each leaf like that needed at least 2000 hammer blows to look alive.  The Smith was using pneumatic impact tools to give them their hammered life with cleanup by hand hammering.

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On 5/19/2017 at 3:33 PM, Patterson Forge said:

I would like some help and ideas on how to forge out of iron some maple leaves.

I want to try forging the maple leaf from angle iron at our next club meeting.

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Thomas, you are only a few miles and 2,000 feet lower in elevation to see lots of Maple trees.  Guadalupe Mountains National Park, between El Paso and Carlsbad Caverns. I hiked there for a week one time and the vegetation was more like New England than Southern New Mexico.  It about rained us out too.  Rained heavily all but the first day.

Wayne 

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I think the first question that needs to be answered is what is their end use.

He actually asked how to forge them. My immediate thought went to do just that.

If they are tourist gedunks, then the answer is water jet or plasma cut via cnc or whatever that is called. And the least expensive method is the choice. In essence you would be the middleman between the high tech tooling and the buyer. 

However if the client wanted some forged maple leaves for whatever, then,, well,, now you have my attention!

This leaves us two basic choices. Repousse using sheet or the northern European way of forging from solid bar stock.

Forging  them from angle iron first actually works with either way.

There are plenty of examples out there for both and actually far too much to post as a quickie answer here.

For the southern Europe sheet repousse there is a great old ABANA publication showing many repousse patterns.

As for forging from solid stock check out those great books by the German Blacksmiths. Kuhn and Schmerler come to mind.

My preference is to make them from solid stock.

Once you decide, and if the job warrants it or just how much fun and learning do you want,, come on back and you will most likely get answers on tooling, setup, and other details.

Also, depending on the job, both of these styles can be done from the simple to the sublime. Lol, just because you can put thousands of hammer blows into this type of work doesn't mean you have to.  ;)

And without a doubt the fun and learning are critical. Isn't that the reason we are here?

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If you polish the edges and carefully heat them they turn blue and brass hilliate, wire brush and grinder all change the colour for a dramatic look. And for those without Plasma cutters can use grinders with sheet steel, different size cut off wheels thicknesses leaving the ragged edges.

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