Blacksmithing at Wurruk’an
In our efforts to reduce our impact upon the planet, we use a lot of hand-tools at Wurruk’an- chisels, knives, handsaws, hoes. As some of you might know, we also practice many of the crafts (spoon-making has been our latest craze), including basket-making and baking, spoon carving and wood-working. The wonderful thing about blacksmithing is that, with a bit of creativity, you can produce almost all of the tools needed for these crafts.
Because spoon making and willow basket making are two things that I plan to do a lot of this winter, I made a collection of all of the tools for both of these crafts, including bodkins, awls, rapping irons, shop knives, carving knives, crook knives, several froes, a fid and a carving gouge.
I also made some fun mug-hooks, a toilet-roll holder and a dinner bell. All of these tools and ornaments were made using discarded reinforcing bar, railroad spikes, leaf spring and coiled suspension springs from cars and trucks, almost all sourced from the local tip-shop!
In order to create a good cutting edge, some of the tools needed to be hardened by heating to around 800 degrees C (the point at which steel is no longer magnetic), then being plunged into a tin of vegetable oil. Due to their relatively high carbon content, coil springs and leaf springs are perfect for this.