Riddle of Steel
In this course, we will explore the history and practice of metalworking from a hands-on, practical perspective. Working with the experts at Dragon’s Breath Forge, the students will build their repertoire of metalworking skills over the first week, and will individually complete a number of simple, practical household items. During that same week, the students will see a working forge at Old Sturbridge Village to gain a connection to the historical place of metalworking in day-to-day life.
During the second week, students will focus on the more specialized skill of bladesmithing. The students will see examples of larger blades being forged and will complete a small, practical cutting tool of their own. During this week the students will also travel to see the Higgins Armory collection to see examples of the evolution of the arts of blade-smithing and armoring. Students will need to complete a daily journal of their experience including photographs, drawings and/or other media describing their experience and techniques learned. Students will be expected to produce a variety of items demonstrating mastery of metalworking techniques.
Knife Making: Day 2 (Filing!)
Today a few students were finishing their blade shaping, but most of us started the day filing our knives. Whenever you forge steel, "scale" forms on the outside edges due to oxidization. Scale is FeO3, which is the same chemical composition as hematite and we need to take it off the outside before the blade can be shaped and hardened.
Our instructors did some initial grinding to knock the scale off the outside, and after that it was up to us to file the blade down. Filing gives the blade it's final profile and also is a way to deal with any small inconsistencies in the blade (such as pitting due to inconsistent hammer blows).
When we file we use a technique called draw filing. When you draw file you hold the file 90 degrees to the piece and slide the file in the direction of the blade to remove material.
You don't have to be a perfectionist, but it helps!
When we return on Thursday it will be time to heat treat our knives and do the last bits of finishing work on them.
Choose groups to clone to: