jlpservicesinc

Deerfield latches rounding completion

Recommended Posts

Well the Deerfield latch (Deerfield, MA) started life as a copy of a picture a fellow smith posted to FB..  I needed Table fodder at the demos and of course not having anything to put on the table I made up other latches as well..

In the mean time I took on a new Farrier customer and they wanted a latch for their barn.. They chose the Deerfield latch and wanted 2..

Fun latches to make but it just brings me back to the reason I still don't really like blacksmithing for paying jobs..  The angst between charging a decent rate and what time things really take to make well are just so out of sync..

Anyhow, heres the pictures of some on the work so far.. Still need to modify the keeper and finish the other keeper for the other door..  Customer is always right.. :) 
 

 

20181101_125318.jpg

20181101_131616.jpg

20181101_142922.jpg

20181101_162107.jpg

20181109_133630.jpg

20180823_130657.jpg

20180823_185724.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you stamp the current date on the back of the mounting plates?  I can see unscrupulous people trying to "antique those" and sell them as colonial pieces!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice looking latches jlpservices.  I would expect that people would pay extra for quality, especially if it will last a lifetime unlike the garbage they sell at the big hardware stores. I would love to see one of your demos. Let me know when you plan to have your next one. I would love to stop by.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful work Jen, and they definitely look like originals, you captured so many details. I’m alwys impressed with your work!

As far as pricing, I think one of the few ways to get close to getting fair money for your time is to use as many mechanical expediencies as possible: dies, preforms, fly and hydraulic presses, power hammer. Of course if you had to buy all that equipment  brand new your shop would almost need to run 24/7 to get ROI and then start cashing in. If a smith can inheret, scrou g, build or buy cheaply second hand then the payoff would be sooner. However some customers won’t be happy if all the work isn’t hand worked at the anvil, I don’t know how you balance that. I guess find a wealthy patron!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Do you stamp the current date on the back of the mounting plates?  I can see unscrupulous people trying to "antique those" and sell them as colonial pieces!

Thomas, I"m as honest and straight forwards that it never occurred to me to put the date on the hardware with the thought of forgeriers..  I do put my makers mark on the back group but it's a more traditional marking.. The latches have my makers mark of the moderan Anvil with my initials in it..   Something to take into consideration though.. 

10 hours ago, OcHavac said:

Nice looking latches jlpservices.  I would expect that people would pay extra for quality, especially if it will last a lifetime unlike the garbage they sell at the big hardware stores. I would love to see one of your demos. Let me know when you plan to have your next one. I would love to stop by.

There are some who really appreciate good hand made items.. these people are a pleasure to work for.. the Lady I made these for is like that.. While money doesn't come easy to them, they get it.. Which is refreshing..   Next demo is coming up next weekend at the Hardwick winery.. My plan is to make an Ax.. Maybe 3lbs.. 

9 hours ago, 1forgeur said:

Those look great. Really show the skills you have. What was the size stock you started with?

Thanks.. the amount of peening and knowing where to make the offset/fullers helps,  I'll have to look at my notes for the starting dimensions.. I believe it was 1/4X2.5X8"

7 hours ago, stevomiller said:

Beautiful work Jen, and they definitely look like originals, you captured so many details. I’m alwys impressed with your work!

As far as pricing, I think one of the few ways to get close to getting fair money for your time is to use as many mechanical expediencies as possible: dies, preforms, fly and hydraulic presses, power hammer. Of course if you had to buy all that equipment  brand new your shop would almost need to run 24/7 to get ROI and then start cashing in. If a smith can inheret, scrou g, build or buy cheaply second hand then the payoff would be sooner. However some customers won’t be happy if all the work isn’t hand worked at the anvil, I don’t know how you balance that. I guess find a wealthy patron!

Thank you kindly..  Boy you said a lot to automation or machinerary which I totally agree with (IF).. :)     Its one of the things I have always regarded as a crutch of sorts and used to innovate with learning to work better/more efficient..   While technology has always been received well with a Modern smith (all the periodicals talk about it) I am a purist and really just prefer hammer, anvil, forge, tongs and vise..  ( I can not be competitive with anyone but myself).. It's weird.. 

I only use the barest of tools..  The handles portions are forged by hand.. Which even in the earliest days they used swages to get them nearly finished..  We have a tendency to look back and think they minimized everything they did..   Far from it.. Innovation, innovation, innovation..  The great expansion so to speak..  New shear, new power hammer, etc, etc.. 

It's funny because the first latch took me 4.5hrs to make with no anything but a picture on FB with a dollar bill next to it for reference..  The 2nd one with figuring out fullering, offsets, shoulders for forging took me 6.5hrs.. Mind you they are well matched.. 

I really like to forge metal to shape.. It was the main quest when I finally realized I knew very little about true forging.. 

Anyhow.. I don't ever see me moving up to be competitive  with modern pricing..   Thank fully I have a lack luster care for what others charge and it is a struggle all from within.. :) 


this is the latch that started it all.. 

Thanks again to all for the kind words.. 

FB_IMG_1541858322965.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can’t argue with your reasoning, and agree your method is the heart and soul of the art and craft of smithing. Your results speak volumes to your skill and dedication! My comment was really just about how one can still stay true to “forged to shape” and charge hopefully a living wage on a custom piece, not really that you personally should do it. I hope that came across, sometimes I don’t communicate as clearly as I’d hope to. Ultimately you are doing what is right for your soul and your artistic well being :-) To that I say “carry on in good spirit and good health!”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, ho.. You were good..   I'm just tired as it's been a long day.. Really.. The subject matter you brought up is key to several different areas over the last 30+ years.. 

Donald Streeter had put out a book on making hardware and while lots of it was forging.. 50% or more was bout using machines, shears, punches to expedite the work.. I dismissed the book immediately.. 

I often take with long time smiths who I respect or have come to know in passing since I came out of retirement and its pretty funny when you start talking about time to make a latch,  vs the correct time..   Bean pattern Suffolk latches are about the easiest for anybody to forge.. For a lot of smiths this was a bread and butter job and since it was made from 1/4X3/4" X 6" one could forge out a complete latch in 20minutes pretty easy.. 

Most the guys I know who are into old hardware can wittle this down to about 10minutes and change..  Way back in the day.. I could do a latch like that in 3 heats if they could be miss matched some.. 

These guys who are doing them by the dozens almost don't have to look at the anvil or metal while working and they come out nearly identical.. 

In some ways I was lucky that I specialized in custom hardware..  I have never had a standard stock list..  This makes most latches a 1 off product which means each new latch has some engineering involved  vs the known measurements of where to fuller to start with etc, etc.. 

Reason I brought this up is this is where you start to get into production smithing and every short cut leads to more production and money per hour.. 

I wanted you to know that what your wrote is true and implemented or supplemented with equipment is the smart way to go and one of the good smiths I know told me about the trials and jokes about making a living doing hardware.. 

Hardware to me is some of the best forgings you will ever see..     Anyhow, if it was about as clear as mud.. You are right about getting more modern.. Luckliy, it's not something i have to worry about though once a year I pretty much give away the items on the demo table as I need more room.. :) 

Thanks again.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, jlpservicesinc said:

Fun latches to make but it just brings me back to the reason I still don't really like blacksmithing for paying jobs..  The angst between charging a decent rate and what time things really take to make well are just so out of sync..

So true and the reason much of the artistic work has disappeared or relegated to niche markets. 

Reminds me of a carpenter I knew who specialised in furniture and carvings. He was commissioned once a large studio complete with desk table and bookshelves all with intricate carvings and heavy in detail. he worked on this for years and covered each section as he progressed with canvass. When he finally finished he was unable to price it and got paid only a fraction of it's real value. 

I grew up in a period where we had a transition between the old style of work with no welding and all rivets and cutting hot, to electric welding, rivets only where you can see it and cut with guillotine. The angle grinder was not in use yet however the master blacksmith in the shop, used a flexible shaft with a grinding wheel (no guard) when it was needed.

My mentor and master blacksmith started not as a blacksmith but as a draftsman working for the most prestigious decorative iron merchant of my time and a feared competitor of my father's art shop. He then learned the craft and begun "modernising" the methods of production in order to become competitive. What we made back in the sixties, would still be classified as top work today in Europe, but you would be able to tell the difference when comparing to a century old gate or bed. 

In those days it was a job to put food on the table, not a debate about purism of methods. We had pride in what we did, and we did better than others, sure. But shortcuts to be able to sell something rather than pricing ourselves out of the market was a consideration every time. 

Today, with a shrinking market and an aging body, the choice is simple, make something you like, the way you know best to do it. Price it accordingly or ... may be give it away if you can afford that.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marc1 well said..    In the way back I would quote every job or piece of hardware with a 30% rider +/- and have the person sign it..  I would explain to each customer the intricacies of hand forging anything..   I  was striven to come in on quote. again appreciating the fact of money and what it means to others.. 

This really meant having to become more efficient at moving the metal..  I know  you understand this..     It was a choice I made and still make vs using modern methods though modern tech used properly you almost can't see it being used.. 

The point being great quality work can be made on par with any given century if the money is there to do so..   And like you posted making a living forging is different than playing at it.. 

I today really like to teach more than anything else but with this said I will now take on commissioned jobs as well as a bunch of random items which I want to forge..  Taking off the time I did made my skill set rusty and being a "Doer"  means teaching at a competent level..    I"m a show'er and doer vs just a tell'er.. 

Not just the usta do, but do..  I"ll never be a professional smith like I was as this has no interest..  But there are facets which I find attractive now and this is where I am heading to.. 

Thanks for taking the time to respond...  

There were a couple of Guys still making 2 piece hand forged Axes up in Maine, USA in the mid 60's...  Not sure when they finally closed up shop..  they used Oil fired forges, water powered trip hammers with other water powered gear..  

Here we are all this time later and I still marvel at what used to be done vs what is done today.. Not that the work today isn't good or even great..  But that common sense, everyday plain old work where none of it was really special just another day at the office kind of thing..  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of the decorative blacksmith or architectural like they are referred to sometimes here, use prefabricated parts to put together large work like balustrades, fences and the likes. The main supplier is a factory in Venice, and the quality is not bad. I bought some of their stuff in the past and it blended with my work OK. It's a compromise that saves some time and if you chose the parts correctly you can do a decent job. One could call it "outsourcing", laziness or cutting corners depending from where you stand. It is just another option if you have access to decent suppliers. The Hebo machine, particularly the one that operates hot,  is another consideration that can produce decent quality work and keep a larger operation viable. 

Having said that, the days of the small blacksmith workshop making utility items is long gone and in my mind the only two avenues seem to be sculptures or blades. 

Time will tell. We live in interesting times. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree totally..   Hammers, tongs, teaching. is where the money is at locally.. Well within 300 miles.. 

We have a few companies here that supply the same items you mention..  It then becomes a fabrication/welding shop vs blacksmithing and combining the 2 can be lucrative for some.. 

I really have no interest forseeable future..   

This coming year the shop will be up for sure so at that point there will be many options..  The farrier business is booming with just more and more expansion all the time.. Doesn't leave much time for anything else..  I certainly don't have the drive I did 20 years ago.. 

I still like to make  "Trade" smith items  and well the knives and swords as well as other neat items might be another anvenue.. But whos to say.. 

In the USA there are still a few upper classmen doing exactly the small shop thing and doing ok..  The potential for that kind of thing is gone for me now.. 

Had I stuck with it back in 2004 as my business was expanding with works in Boston and other major cities in art type things could have paid off..  It wasn't meant to be and the here and now is all there is.. 

Have a great day.. Getting cold here.. 28F right now..  Last demo of the year this coming weekend.. Hope for warmer weather.. 

Share this post


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.