Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Making a Spaulder part two

Here is the magic tool itself, the English wheel. The top wheel is flat, and the bottom wheel, easily replaceable on its cradle, has various diameters across its width depending on the profile of the metal you are working on. The first thing I do is use the "flat" wheel, to crisp up the rolled edges we made over the anvil.

Below you see some edge work happening. It takes a fair amount of time, but very little effort to clean up those rolled edges.

And below you can see the two inch wide mark the flat wheel made on the metal. You can also see how nice and clean the rolls became. At least, from the outside. Inside, they still show evidence of the hammer.

At this point, I grab my slightly round steel hammer and push the steel down into the shallow depression in the wooden anvil. This is a process called "dishing", because, well, it makes a dish. I use expressions like "increasing the dish" or "decreasing the dish" in ways which seem obvious to me, but I am not sure these terms are in universal use. This dish is about a six foot radius dish. You would increase the dish by using a more rounded hammer, perhaps bringing the dish down to say, two foot diameter. A two foot diameter ball would fit neatly in the two foot dish. Just so we are clear on this...grin!

From the other side, you can see the hammer marks, and a nice grouping of the tools, including a number six wheel. The six means it has a profile equivalent to a six foot radius.

You might be able to see the radius better in the pic below.

Drop the six foot wheel into the cradle, and roll, by hand. The hammer marks all blend together to match the six foot wheel. A side effect is that the metal gets polished by the upper wheel.

And you can see that operation really well in the below picture.

The closeup shows the polish which is starting to happen on the workpiece.

This piece is nearly done. All that has to be done now is to fold it gently to fit over the shoulder. Two ways of doing way is do it on the wheel above, the other way is to simply bend it over the anvil. As you bend the piece, the "dish" made by the hammer and English wheel gets less. Sometimes you have to keep the piece opened up so that the English Wheel can do its job, in which case, it becomes a judgement call. How much deeper do you have to make the dish to get the meal to end up in the correct amound when you are all done? That takes a fair amount of experience. Fortunately, it isn't really critical on the shoulder harness. But I have been known to bend the piece into place, decide it isn't really fitting tightly enough, and rehammer it. This doesn't take as long as you might think...about the same time as it took to say it just now....but it takes time just the same.

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