Sunday, May 27, 2007

More Toolmaking

Here are a few of the blades that I made in the forge this week (the marking knife was made by Josh, nice job). By the end of the week, I had made a shovel and a few of the implements that turned out to be essential to managing the fire. Once I could control the fire better, the whole process started to come into focus. As I had hoped, after my less than stellar first attempts, persistance and experimentation paid off. The gouge pictured is especially exciting to me. I started with an old coil spring and successfully straightened, shaped, annealled, hardened, tempered and sharpened it. There it is, a whole new world.
Back to purchasing tools. One thing that I've been meaning to mention is to avoid buying sets of tools such as carving or turning gouges. Normally you'll find that the "savings" is eaten up by having a tool or two in the set that is of little use to you. I prefer to slowly purchase one high quality piece at a time when the definite need arises. And don't be afraid to buy yard sale gouges (as long as they are cheap). Learning to sharpen a cheap gouge is a lot less harrowing than some $40 swiss made. Most of my gouges were bought this way, the only problem being getting unusual sweeps and sizes. As hand tool users, we are in a unique position. What many yard sellers think of as Grandpa's bucket of rusty junk, can be pure gold to us. One of my great joys has always been the time I spend bringing one of these old tools back to a useful life. These days, I'm finding satisfaction in making it in the first place!

No comments: