Thursday, December 10, 2020

Archiving the IronArt Journal

  Archiving the IronArt Journal  of  Dr. David Edwards 

Primary Artist Blacksmith of Persimmon Forge

Friends and Visitors, 

   As you may have noticed, activity on the blog tapered out around 2017 when a combination of health problems caught up to David to the point where he had to retire from active forge work.  (Concentrated oxygen doesn't pair nicely with open flames.) 

He continued some design work and mentoring while gradually winding down the shop and distributing tools to where they could continue to be used well by the next generation of blacksmiths.  (One of his mentees even went on to win “Forged in Fire.”)  That process, and moving to be closer to family took quite a bit of time over the next couple of years. 

Fortunately he never had to slow down entirely; he always had a very active mind and he turned his attention to finishing some long term writing and archiving projects for the family.  He resumed a bit of gardening and nature study which he'd always loved and always continued lots of reading and study. 

You may be happy to know that he had a couple more very good years in him, and he was highly productive even to his last day.  David passed away on October 19, 2020 with impressive grace and dignity and the nearby family gathering to support each other.  He even managed to avoid the famous COVID craziness this year, but as he would likely say, "something will always get you eventually anyway." 

He put a lot of preparation work into making sure everyone was psychologically prepared for the inevitable, and I think he'd be glad to know that he left us feeling very happy for the time we all had with him. 

- = - = - 

He also really wanted to help other creative people by sharing things he learned and invented over the years.  So, although the old shop website no longer exists, and this journal will not have new entries and will not be monitored very actively, we will try to check on this site periodically to make sure that this content stays readable and searchable for as many years as possible.  (If there are any major problems with the site, you can contact his son to check on it, by email to "keithdke at gmail dot com".) 

There is a lot of content here (over 500 posts) but blogspot does not always make it easy to determine or highlight which posts people find the most useful, so do use the search feature, and when you find something helpful or interesting we encourage you to share it further -- link to it or even copy or repurpose some of the content, just so long as you remember to credit David and provide a link to his original posts. 

Specifically, the family has responded to a request from BAM, the Blacksmith Association of Missouri, to reuse/reprint David's writings.  BAM was one of the places where David met a lot of nice people, learned, and got inspiration. 

We hope you continue to find his explanations and observations to be useful and enjoyable reading. 

- The Family of David Edwards 


(Alternate cover from a local magazine)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Golden Ratio Caliper

Sometime in the distant past of my school years I learned about the Greek mathematicians who obsessed over the golden ratio.  About 40 years later I crossed the path of that strange number again when I attended a blacksmith demonstration and was shown a proportional divider which was being used to scale a larger element in relationship to a smaller element.  This was another refutation of my childhood pronouncement that there wasn’t any point to learning math because it didn’t apply to anything in my life.

I long ago rejected that original proposition and now embrace the usefulness of math.  On the other hand, this is a tool which I have used a few times but never really discovered how to integrate much  of that into my design work.

The first Pair I made.

Two Larger Versions

Below is a collection of some links relating to this tool.  It seems to me the elegance of the tool itself sometimes exceeds the elegance of what the tool can do.

I didn’t invest much time in the three versions I made at different scales.  I include a measured drawing I found in the SketchUp library.  The ratio is only a rule-of-thumb type aid so exact measurements shouldn’t matter much.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Using TinEye

When I can’t find an image I’ve made myself I’ll go to the web and look for something appropriate.  Sometime I find I’ve captured something and can’t remember the source.  I don’t like to post an image without being able to give credit to the person who created it so I’ll try TinEye.

I’ve found this reverse search tool helpful quite a few times and it is easy to use.  I open the search window  and click on the left hand up arrow beside the bar which says “Upload or enter image URL”

That opens the list of files on my desktop and I select the one to upload.  If a match is found it shows the source.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bullet Worms & Corkscrews

When I was thinking about the pig tail I recalled the tapered curl we are familiar with in the corkscrew but perhaps not a bullet worm or a gun worm.  I’ve done a fair amount of long gun shooting but never muzzleloading so I’ve never come across one first hand.

These were most commonly tapered helix devices attached to cleaning rods and were used to dislodge rifle and musket balls when a charge failed to fire.  I found a few images of a some that looked like what I call an easy out.

Here are some links for those who want to see more.  A lot of them are American Civil War relics.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Keen Kutter Tool Solution

Last night I received a phone call from The Amazing Scott Miller.  He had found the solution to most of my puzzle of 2/17/17.  After a lot of image searching he discovered the tool is a slide-hammer type of nail or staple puller.  I only have part of the tool.  Searching for Keen Kutter nail puller will lead to a number of images and there are similar tools made by other manufacturers.

Item 554 in this auction picture is one example.
And another:

That still leaves the swastika stamp undecided.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

What is a Pigtail?

Sometimes when I don’t have much to think about I don’t think about much.  Here’s an example.

I was looking through some images and saw a tapering spiral finial labeled a pigtail.  That didn’t strike me as quite right.  I thought more about it and recalled that I’ve seen a number of curly things called pigtails that also didn’t s trike me as quite right.

I haven’t known many pigs - never owned one.  But as I recall their tail usually makes a simple loop-de-loop like a roller coaster.  

I found this example here.

Sometimes there are slight variations like this droopy one.

For anyone who doesn’t connect with Loop-de-loop - look at these examples:

So, I will stick with the simple loop-the-loop curl as the bona fide pigtail finial.

This mental wandering has inspired me to write something soon about bullet worms (gun worms) and corkscrews.  There blacksmith meets gunsmith.

 On and On