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I Forge Iron

A Very Satisfying Christmas Gift

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Determined to make my kid a new tool for Christmas, I diligently forged a bolster into some spring steel, drawing out either end to make a tang and gouge blade, respectively. It was going swimmingly, until the very last possible moment when the tang broke. Or crumbled, or burnt off. Twice. Too hot? Too cold? Just not paying attention? I dunno.

Anyway, I blew off the idea of making a bolstered tool and forged a tapered tang instead, with a bent, 5/8" gouge on the opposite end. I turned a simple handle out of lignum vitae [my first experience with this stuff - what a blast!], and used a 3/4" copper pipe cap for a ferrule. Polished all the metal parts (leaving a few dimples in the gouge to indicate forging, rather than machining) and waxed the handle. Boxed it up and gave it to my son on Christmas Day, as a gift to inspire his continuing efforts in woodcarving and blacksmithing. The way his eyes lit up you'd have thought I'd just handed him Isildur's newly-remade sword.

I looked around the living room Christmas night, and the gouge was missing. It was upstairs; he'd put it on his nightstand before going to sleep.

All the best for the New Year,

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All the bolster chisels I have seen "proffesionaly" made, have the bolster wraped and welded, not upset and necked. I dont do much carving but I do make a lot of "saddled" chairs. If you have any prototypes or seconds I would be willing to take them, or I am possibly up for adoption.

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The finish was something that caught my son's eye in the Rockler store:
Sunwax? Outdoor Furniture Wax - Rockler Woodworking Tools

I wanted beeswax, but didn't want to shell out 22 bucks for a block of the stuff. This product is a blend of waxes in a petroleum solvent...and, oh boy, didn't it make that wood buff out nicely?

Edited by Leland
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