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What tips or tricks can you give to help make better scrolls

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I'm pretty new to blacksmithing (about 7 months) and I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to make decent looking, semi-consistent scrolls for a while.  If I'm trying to make 3 scrolls, one might look ok but, the other two look like they were made by a one armed blind person.  Nothing has been harder for me to grasp so far.  I have watched a bunch of videos and they all make it look really easy.  Clearly, I am missing some fundamental step or steps.  If any of you could pass on some wisdom regarding scroll work I would be very appreciative.  

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Scrolling wrench and a pattern drawn in chalk on a table to measure against. Make the bends in small sections..

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Need 3 matching make 5 and choose the ones that match best...Making a tally stick helps too.

(after a major project Using scrolls you may find that your eye-hand-hammer coordination gets way better. )

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Depends upon how large your scrolls are. Small scrolls are made on the anvil and large ones with a jig. When matching parts, I make one that I like and then match the rest to it. If I match the third or later ones to the last one I made they always won't match the first. How about a picture of the ones you have made.

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The scrolls I'm working on currently are only 1/4" square bar.  I'm making some plant hangers for a friend.  I don't have pictures of the scrolls at the moment.  

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You tube might be hurting more than helping you, lots of garbage.

If you don't know how to-do it right, how will you know if the you tuber knows?

Anyhow, this is how I do free hand scrolls. Forget the horn, work over the far edge.

Stick your iron over the side and hold the bar flat on the face. Cold. Hammer off the anvil. This will cause a bend to occur. As the iron bends slide it out and keep hammering off the anvil. Soon the curve will reach the side of the anvil.

Now flip the bar over 180 degrees.  Hit the end of the bar in mid air to tighten your curve if desired or not. This is where a drawing or sample is helpful. 

The rest of the scroll is then bent in the same manner, holding the straight 

Section flat on the anvil face and hammering where ever needed to bend the curve. 

 

If this is not clear let me know and I will try to explain it better. 

The scroll is defined as "an ever increasing spiral".

As long as your spiral is ever increasing, the only mistake you can make is having flat spots. 

Flat spots are best fixed with a scrolling wrench, fork and or tongs.

Some folks bend then with wrenches but that is monotonous to me. 

Thick metal scrolls must be worked hot.

When more than a few scrolls are needed one may make a scroll mold for good accurate and repeatable scrolls. Different subject though.

Clear as mud?

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Stay off the horn and Youtube!

I turn small scrolls on the face. I start them as Arftist does but once the bend is started I turn it over and work on the face. The stock is pinched between the face and hammer giving precise control of where it bends. Striking into the arc, say the cut end when you first start turning it will result in a sharp or tight scroll, the center. When you strike parallel with the anvil face on the radius of the scroll it lifts straight steel off the face into the scroll. You alternate between lifting blows and tightening blows to make the desired scroll.

When scrolling large stock I lay it flat on the face and lift the close side and depending on where I strike the stock determines the radius and size of the scroll. For example if you have 12" between your hand and the end and strike it 1" from the end the scroll will be small or tight. However if you strike 6" back the curve will be more gradual for an open or large scroll.

This takes practice but once you have a handle on it it's pretty quick.

Scroll tongs are THE thing t fine tune scrolls.

If you wish to do 4 matching scrolls, do them all at the same time. Snub end x 4, then initial turn x 4, next section x4, and so on. It's much easier to make corrections if you catch them immediately and you get to use the previous scroll as a "semi" jig to match to.

Make sense?

Frosty The Lucky.

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My pleasure, I read yours a couple times before I started. :ph34r:

For you beginners out there, it only sounds like Arftist and I turn scrolls differently, the differences are really minor and I'm sure we could interchange techniques seamlessly. 

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Thanks Frosty and arftist. I have been trying to bend the 1/4” pieces hot and I have been using the horn about 50% of the time.  With my “technique”, flat spots and inconsistent spirals are the norm.   

I cant wait to try y’all’s way.   Hopefully I can get this figured out.   

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I do mine pretty much the same. However, I do them hot, and over the edge of the anvil as well. Lol, I do all my finials hot. After i get rolling I move to my post vice, bending forks and scrolling wrench. Much of my scrolling with my forks is done cold. Lol, unlike arftist, ive never found free hand wrestling 10 or 15 feet of iron into matching scrolls boring.  :)   

If you have tapered ends, always use the same amount of material for all your tapers.

Then, always draw them out to the same length.   IE: mark all say 2" with a light center punch mark and then draw all out to 3". 

If you do this, then all your tapers will have the same cross section along the length.

Next, on each section, always hang the same length over the edge, do the same on all. Then hang a longer length for the next go around.

So,, first go, hang say an inch over and scroll all pieces. Then hang 2" of non scrolled stock over the edge, and add to your first scroll,, match all others to your first one. 

Basically the reasoning is if  the cross sections match, and you use the same amount of material (length) for each phase, you almost cant go wrong. If these arent the same, you cant hardly be right.

And like was said above, always match to your first one. This prevents accumulative error.

This is not different than arftist and Frosty, just an added detail.

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Maybe I didn't mention it but I turn scrolls hot as well. Fine tuning them cold if it's a close correction works well. It saves on clean up and minimizes the chance of over corrections and getting stuck on THAT yo yo.

Frosty The Lucky. 

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It does indeed, as it's easier to make long pieces to be rolled up. Vellum or parchment, on the other hand, while acceptable for scrolls, is more suited to making codices.

Worth noting that both papyrus and vellum scrolls are best turned COLD.

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First I would start by drawing them.. I would find a proper form and see what actually makes a great scroll great.. (home work).. (The Golden Means spiral)


Then I would draw them till my eye can see the shape I want to have in the scroll..   It doesn't have to be very large but one has got to see the way the scroll opens from the center smoothly and in a controlled fashion.. 

I did a few half penny snub end scrolls for a "Video How to".. But the footage was corrupt on one of the cameras..   Never got made.. 


There are some great suggestions  Frosty, Anvil, Arftist..  

This spiral can be adjust some some what..    

If you are merely looking to put a finial on the end of a pointed bar that can be different because the finial is the center piece and the rest of the spiral moves around this .. 




 

maxresdefault.jpg

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A cardinal rule on making scrolls is to never strike the same place twice in a row when forming the curves...tends to form flat spots.

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Here's a really cool video that shows an interesting method for constructing pleasing scrolls:

 

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BP0026 Principles of Design is a good review on scrolls.

Phi is 1.61803398874989484820458683436563811772030917980576286213544862270526046281890 which is close enough for blacksmiths. (grin)

Phi turns up in some unexpected places. In ancient times, Leonardo of Pisa (now called Fibonacci) was working with a series of numbers. Starting with 1, 1, he added the two numbers to get the next number, so 1 + 1 = 2. the next one became 1 + 2 = 3 and then came 2 + 3 = 5 , and so on to get the series 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc. Obviously, the next number will be 21 + 34 = 55. The higher you go the closer it gets to 1.618033 . . . . 

 

 

 

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Glenn ,the Fibonacci sequence is fascinating. It's related to so many different things you could study for ever and still keep making connections. I read your post about the pyramids and Pi,Phi,and phi yesterday. Interesting stuff even though I needed a piece of scratch paper to keep it straight. ;-)

Pnut (Mike)

The Fibonacci sequence shows up in theseeds of sunflowers, pine cones ,shells of sea life, spider webs of certain spiders, and countless other things and that's just the natural world.

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the greatest boost to me for being able to match scrolls was, as I stated above, to hang the same amount of material over the edge of the anvil, and scroll it, for each step.

how much for each phase?

I use Glen's Fibonacci ratio above.

1;2;3;5;8 etc.

The golden mean is a good start to undertanding scrolls and the concept of ratios is critical.

However, the fun part begins when you consciously change the ratio

When you can do this, the shape of a scroll in any given space becomes infinite.

Thus the space between pickets, defined by code, can be filled with an infinite # of shapes.

This is also the primary reason I don't use jigs to turn my scrolls vs freehand matched scrolls.

jigs enhance economics the more you use them,, freehand enhances  creativity from rail to rail.

Both have their place.

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Yes, they do, anvil. Very well said, and knowing which to emphasize when is an important part of developing as a blacksmith. Frankly, knowing that one cannot settle that question forever is an important part of developing as a human being. 

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Anvil..     Nice info..           


In my travels I have talked with many older tradesmen...  What always shines through is the tradesmen who knows the equipment (tools, skills, etc, etc) can take an article or item and end up with a perfect piece where a person who relies on the tools (jigs, rip fences, etc, etc)  may miss the mark time and time again when the machine is out of alignment..  (Skill vs equipment)..


a scroll turned by hand can once the skill set is acquired be faster than a jig..  an there is also an organic  aspect to it that a jig does not impart.. 

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Ah, there's a time and place for everything, nothing wrong with: jigs, guides, fences, etc. If a person can't tell a fence, jig, whatever is out of adjustment they wouldn't be able to do it by hand either.

For example. Cut two accurate 21 13/16" circles from (pick a material). Going to do it by eye & hand or use a circle jig? 

Time and place for it all.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty, never said that a jig can not be used appropriately or have a time or place.. 

   What I did say though is working to perfect a skill is well worth it..  Practice is the only way to get good at something and once you have that skill set it can be nearly as fast or faster depending..  



Sorry, if it struck you sensibilities..  There is certainly nothing wrong with doing anything anybody wants to do... But there is also a reason why long timers in any given trade where it's more than just the machine that plays into the finished or end product..  

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