Thursday, October 24, 2013

forging: pachamama's face

Today was my first time forging.
Super fun, but a lot of physical work.

I started by cutting a 1'x1.5' sheet of 18g steel for the head

Using gloves and tongs, the sheet is set in the furnace (which is at about 2000 degrees)
getting the steel red hot to be formed.

Holding the steel in place with tongs over a wood stump, begin to hammer 
(using a ball pein hammer) the metal into the dip previously carved out of the stump.

Continue to do so while reheating periodically. The more times you reheat, the less
 time is needed in the furnace to achieve the same temperature. Above is the result
from forging, the rest of the face is worked on cold.

First I flattened all the large bumps by hammering over a steel ball for forming. 
After achieving a smoother shape, I used a variety of tools including
chisels and various metal forms to hammer over for shaping.

Working from both sides of the piece will give you greater control over the resulting form.
(i.e. pushing in the eye sockets from the front and popping the eyes out from the back)

And that's as far as I got today! A radical exploration of this new medium
and a solid reminder of how weak my arms are!
next time: should probably spot heat with a torch so I don't break my wrists off

 and that's what giant dirty man-hands are good for.

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