Thursday, December 22, 2011

My First Blacksmith Souvenir

One of our sons lived in the Chicago area for several years so we would make a couple of trips a year or more for short visits. Each time we took a couple of days for the 10 hour drive and stopped along the way to explore small towns. We did some family history research, visited museums and ate our lunches in small local cafes.

I was mostly interested in wood working at the time but in flea markets, antique stores and living history demonstrations we bumped into blacksmithing. We stopped for a meal in the Amana Colonies and to walk around and see the shops. Roger Quaintance was working at his forge when we arrived in the blacksmith shop. He had a nice display of forged work set up and I bought a small dinner bell set with hanger and striker hung with a leather strap.

The 3/8” round triangle is only approximately 8” on each limb so it is for inside the house use. I use it in the studio as a demonstration of simple elegance. The crook hangers are attractively shaped with long graceful tapers ending with delicate scrolls. Two ends have rivet head shaped upsets which are nicely symmetrical. The round stock striker was slightly flattened as long as the hammer face is wide then twisted and trued back to the original 5/16” diameter and straightness.

It is a simple souvenir but it’s the expert execution of the forging processes which make it information rich.

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