October 19th, 2013

Bigger hammer

Grounding Tool

I forged a carving chisel today: a small grounding chisel. These chisels made by Ashley Iles were my inspiration, but for the work I'm doing I thought it would be better to have a flat edge with a slight skew. They are used for flattening the bottom of a shallow cavity for relief carving or inlay work. I need a couple of really narrow ones for inlaying the twiddly sheet metal decorations on my new concertina ends. You use a scalpel to make a stop cut around the edge of the cavity, then use the grounding chisel to carve out the waste between the stop cuts. My plan had been to make a 3mm wide one first, then try to do a 1.5mm one.[1] Turns out it is extremely difficult to forge tiny tools.

My first attempt took all morning. The edge turned out about 6mm wide and a less than ideal shape. I must have got something wrong with the heat treatment too[2], because it refused to take a decent edge. After pondering the problem over lunch, I decided to cut off the tip and re-forge it as narrow as I could. About an hour and a half later I had produced a new tip that was about 4mm wide and a better shape. I think I solved the heat treatment problem too. Still not as narrow as hoped, but it is a useful width, so I decided to make a handle for it as it was rather than cutting the tip off again and trying to make it even narrower. Collapse )