Wolfs Tooth, Fire Steel and Charred Cloth (Forge Diaries: Ep 1)


This is a different kind of video than usual.
Forge diaries are meant to provide a rough and unpolished view of some of things I am
experimenting with at the forge. Expect many mistakes and failures and no complete story. Safety is important in the shop. I never work
without face and ear protection as well as a leather apron and gloves. Here is one example
of what can go wrong. The lubricating oil for the rams collected
on the anvil and exploded underneath the billet. Quite a surprise. The next sequence shows a knife that I made
to experiment with the Wolf’s Tooth Pattern. This pattern involves forging teeth into two
bars so that they intermesh and can be forge welded. Historically this pattern has been
used for seaxes as well as spears. It can look quite impressive. This knife however
exhibits a flaw. Since I always wonted to experiment with filling
welding flows with low temperature silver solder that’s what I am trying here. It worked
quite alright and the temperatures were well below my tempering values. The final result
will appear in the next episode. During Jim Austin’s Koftgari class in Oakland,
he showed a beautiful fire steel in which he had inlayed viking-age motifes. Since I
had always wanted to make a fire steel myself. That’s what I am trying here. The basic idea behind starting a fire traditionally,
is it to strike sparks from steel using a hard stone such as flint or obsidian. The sparks are hot pieces of steel that got
shaved off by the the sharp stone. The harder the steel the hotter the sparks because it
takes more energy to remove them. Before one can start a fire, the spark needs
to be captured. This can be achieved by cutting thin slices from special mushrooms or using
charred cloth. One problem you can see in the video is that
the tongs have become too large to hold the steel comfortably. Things get slightly better
once I realized that I should switch to smaller tongs. To create the hard steel face that strikes
the stone, I quench the steel in water. We will see how well that worked next time. As I mentioned earlier the spark needs to
be captured. Since I don’t have any charred cloth I make some from an old cotton tshirt. I cut it up into 3 inch square pieces. They
will shrink significantly after they have been charred. To char them I place them into a sealed container
that has a small hole in its lid to allow smoke to escape but is not large enough for
a lot of air to enter the container. Next I place the container on the forge fire
and wait for the charring process to start. This generates a lot of smoke and needs to
be done either outside or like here where the smoke is captured by the forge hood. Once the process is complete I want to see
if the charred cloth works as expected. To do that I light it then non-traditional
way and try to start a fire with some paper strips. That seems to work and concludes epsiode 1.
If there is anything you would like to see in the future episodes, let me know. In the
mean time, I am also still purusing larger projects. The serpent in the sword has not
been forgotten either. If you liked this video, subscribe to my channel
and explore how to forge swords or how to make crucible steel.

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