Blacksmithing can be as complex as one cares to make it. It’s based on a few simple operations: stretching or drawing out, compressing otherwise known as upsetting, and then there’s widening or fullering. I’ve been spending the past few weeks on old time hardware replication, when not labouring mightily with my NSCDD display (more later). Thinking about the shapes of old handles. They are simple, stripped down to essentials and totally elegant. Harder to replicate than you might think.

After several false starts to reproduce a handle, I had about four spade heads made from half faced blows onto 1/2 round stock. What else does one do with that shape? Nice exercise in creative possibilities. So, crappy photo below showing original handle, first effort and them some folding over to make animal heads – fox/owl and maybe that elusive cat head. These are rather lame attempts in the photo, but the process will work. At far right, a better use of, I think 5/8 round bar, was to punch into the mass below the spade head and form a spathe like form that suggests a Jack in the Pulpit flower.

BTW, the handle I ended up with used 5/8 stock as the starting point. That’s it second from right. Wish me luck drilling the pin hole in the side to rivet the thumb bar in place.

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