Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Visit from an Itinerant Blacksmith

On one of my trips to the Tool Barn a while back I picked up a little hand wrought pry bar. If cut in half, it looked perfect to convert into two metal-toothed planing stops. I took it home and it’s sat on my shelf for a few months now. It wasn’t until I ran into my buddy, Drew, the other day that I made a plan to do something about it. Drew (besides being a third generation horse-powered farmer) is an accomplished farrier. He travels around to the peninsula’s horse farms trimming hooves and “shoeing”. I think of him as a rural equine podiatrist/blacksmith. When I was talking with him about this project, he mentioned that he had an appointment just down the road from my studio this Friday and offered to stop by.

Sure enough, Friday afternoon, that forge-on-wheels rolled up the driveway ready to go to work. Drew setup his gear and within minutes, the forge was already getting up to temperature. He cut the bar in half, tapered the shafts, and bent them to 90°. It was, of course, a relatively simple project but it was fun to watch him work out of the back of his van in my driveway.

After Drew left, I set out to install one in my bench. I got it most of the way driven into the block but ran out of time. It’s not quite flush to the top of the stop block yet. Sticks up a bit like the Felebien and Moxon benches. It works great but looks a little goofy. The teeth were cut with a saw sharpening file. It may be in my head but I think it holds a little better than my former saw plate version. I think the thinness of the saw plate doesn’t get quite enough purchase on the stock. Besides, hand wrought fixtures look legit.

Felebien's planing stop

1 comment:

  1. A good farrier must be an equine podiatrist.
    We have a farrier school here in Belgium. In the curricumum, there are 200hours hypology, 600h making correcting "shoes" in addition to 600h making French style normal "shoes" , 600h making English style normal "shoes" and 340 h working with an established farrier.
    This is spread on 3 years.