Thursday 14 February 2008

This is what I've been making lately

Here she is, the toughest bit of wood in Africa, I'm sure. It took quite a lot of effort to chisel the top and bottom reasonably level but this seems to work nicely now. The stake is formed from a cast steel panel beating tool which was welded to a 25mm square section length of mild steel. I did a lot of pre-shaping with an angle grinder and finished off with a hand file. As I'll be raising mild steel on this there was no need to polish the face of the tool.

The form resting alongside the stake is going to be a stone. It's 1mm thick mild steel sheet. At this stage I've only had one round of raising on this new stake and the shape is still a bit distorted from the hopelessly inadequate ones I was trying to use before I made this. It'll probably take a few more rounds to pull the metal back into the shape I want. Then the job of tucking it under begins...with a bit of a tail wind I might be able to show you a bit more tomorrow.


Fred Zweig said...


It is a treat to see your stump and stake set-up. I have many stumps with several types of anvils and vices set into them.

I look forward to seeing the completed piece.


Anonymous said...

Thats pretty cool. I've been getting into raising a bit myself lately. Couple of questions, how in the world do you go about raising mild steel? Is it done while red hot or maybe at a black heat or do you do that while its cold, annealing between courses?
Also a comment, to me right now that looks an awful lot like a turtle shell. I know after reading your post that its not but when I first saw the picture I thought, Oh Fords making a turtle. just thought I'd mention it.


Ford Hallam said...

Hi Fred,
this piece is actually quite ambitious and will incorporate some dragonflies which I've been experimenting with. You'll see it here first.

Hello Dustin,

Yes, you've guessed correctly that raising steel is nuts! I work it cold and normalise between courses. The principle is exactly the same as with non-ferrous metal you just need to be all the more carefully about working the metal into itself so that it doesn't distort too much and get away from you. As I explained, I was trying to raise this present piece on a very small stake that didn't really allow me to keep control of where the metal was going with the result that the sides working in far more easily than the ends. This bigger stake is allowing me to correct that now. Raising an irregular shape is also a bit tricky because you need to constantly readjust the angle you are working at to maintain the correct form.