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Hello hammerfolk! I considered posting this to the tools forum, but that forum seemed to have a lot of high-tech answers, and this one less so. I am wondering what it takes to make a wire drawplate using hammer/tong/anvil tooling and wrought iron material. To me it's obvious how to do it if you have an augur with HSS/carbide tip, but wire drawing (for gold and silver, and I presume copper) went down to hair-like fineness in the Egyptian days. How would you make such a tiny hole in a hard material without sharp edges, burrs, or irregularities? If I was asked to design a process for anything down to 1/8 inch, or even 1/16, I think I could do it with just poking narrow hard pointy things through hot iron, then massaging them with a BP hammer... but litz wire goes down to 0.03mm, and I have no idea how to get there with "normal" tools and materials. Reminder: This is for the process for making the drawplate, not the process of drawing the wire. If anyone has a pointer to a process description, I'd be grateful. If anyone wants to make a Youtube video showing how to do it, I'd be thrilled. Thank you kindly, -Jeff Evarts P.S. There's some evidence (if you're generous) that gemstones may have been used as drawplates, but the question "how did they make a fine, smooth conical hole in a hard material" remains.
The Claude Moore Colonial Farm project
Christopher Price posted a topic in Bloomers and ButtonsI wanted to start a thread where I could document an ambitious project I've started on, working with the Claude Moore Colonial Farm in northern Virginia, to demonstrate iron-making in a period-appropriate fashion. The farm is the only privately operated National Park in the US, and demonstrates year-round a 1771 tobacco farm. Staff work the fields, run the farm house, and offer interpretive services year-round, there's a book store, several activities with gardening and animal husbandry, and three times a year they hold a Market Fair which has some things in common with a Ren Faire, except without any of the fantasy. Volunteers running booths dress appropriate to the time, and offer demonstrations of arts and crafts from the time in character. While they have a blacksmith who's worked the Fair for the last 5 years, the question often arises "where did the iron you're working come from?" My attempt will be to offer a visual answer to the industry preceeding the blacksmith's work in the 18th century, in the guise of an itinerant iron master. With full disclosure of the large Iron Plantations (Hopewell Furnace being a choice example) along the East Coast, smaller works were also in abundance, and so we'll show what one of those works at "farm scale" might have looked like.
Quality of Iron/Steel in Viking Age vs Later Middle Ages
Blake Davidson posted a topic in HistoryGreetings, everyone. This is my first post here. I joined because I'm a history major with a fascination with metalwork and because I plan on trying my hand at bladesmithing beginning around December/January. I'm also a little bit of a fanboy when it comes to some of the members here. I was inspired by a few of them. So I'm quite happy that I finally decided to join the forums. However, because I'm not even a beginner smith yet, I'll probably mostly be reading what the rest of you have to say and learning what I can for the time being. That said, I do have some questions on some of the historical aspects of bladesmithing. I did a number of searches on the forum to make sure this subject hasn't been covered too extensively. I only wanted to make a new thread as a last resort, but I feel it's necessary if I want my questions answered. My questions deal primarily with the quality of the iron and steel used in blades during the Viking Age as opposed to the later Middle Ages. I was considering covering this subject for senior seminar, as this is my last semester of college. But the few sources I was able to find in my university's library and online databases that mentioned the subject at all were written during a time in which the historical narrative was not quite as objective as it is today (though it's still not perfect or even consistent by any means). So I probably won't be covering that topic for my class, but it still interests me enough that I hope some of the members here who are knowledgeable on the subject might chime in with whatever information they can provide. So, something that piqued my curiosity was one of the constants I found in the aforementioned books as well as various places online that discuss older forms of weaponry. It was the idea that the iron and steel from blooms in the Viking Age, as well as construction methods, were somehow overwhelmingly inferior to those in the later Middle Ages. I think it's natural to assume that metallurgical knowledge would progress as time goes on, but I don't know if it really increased so greatly between these two time periods. As I currently understand it, smiths of the Viking Age were aware of the benefits of quench hardening and perhaps even tempering. If I'm correct, weapons in the later Viking Age also began to be made less from pattern-welded steel and more from a single type that would allow for more consistent and controllable production of weapons. This is where the whole "Superior/Inferior" thing starts to come into play. The ideas presented in those books and websites noted that a single type of steel yielded better weapons in the later Middle Ages as this type of weapon production replaced pattern-welding altogether. However, that doesn't seem to me like it would yield better weapons as much as something of a more consistent quality. I understand that swords of the Viking Age had a wide range of quality where construction and material was concerned. That makes it difficult to make any sort of generalization about them in that regard. But with one type of steel being used, it does seem that more control could be had over the production processes which could lead to a better understanding about that one type of steel. With that said, would I be somewhere MAYBE close to correct in saying that the quality of steel and iron used for weapons wasn't necessarily "better" in the later Middle Ages, but rather more consistent? I understand that what makes a quality sword or spear is more complicated than just the steel that goes into it. And I hope I don't come off as one of those people who argue that one type of sword is better than another for whatever reason. It's just something I'm very interested in. I apologize for the rather lengthy first post. This is just something I've been trying to get a better understanding of and I think many of the members here could chime in and help me understand this a little better. Especially those who have handled older weapons or have studied older methods of smelting ore and crafting weapons. I would also like to leave out too much discussion of Ulfberht blades and the Wootz that was used to create them if at all possible. I'm more concerned with the more common steels and irons used. I look forward to your posts and to a long, enjoyable experience here on the forums.
Picked up a bit of old Wrought today. (large images)
Eric Leonard posted a topic in The WaySo Today I picked up a bit of wrought in the form of an old wagon wheel hoop. Roughly 5ft diameter, almost 2 inches wide and roughly half an inch thick. All for 60 bucks. Sorry for the large pictures and my very thick cut on the metal, i dont have a thin cutting wheel as of right now. Also, may pickup an anvil for around 200 bucks pending sale of a go-kart. Its very clear im going to have to fold this over itself several times before drawing into an axe body or knife spine.