Monday, 14 November 2011

Tool and forge making workshop

Making tools,

Tool making is empowering and is a step towards self sufficiency. I have had to make my own tools because there are none available to buy, e.g. long handle hook-knives and very small hook-knives for making salt spoons. Often, what is available is not quite right for the way we work, or is not designed for our needs so we can make copies to our own preferences or even re make existing tools.
Making tools also gives me immense satisfaction and pleasure, as I think it does for many others. The only problem is how far do we take it: will I have to dig my own ore and smelt it, and then make the tools to make the woodworking tool?. Of course I would also have to make my own files, dig my own natural sharpening stones.
These are things I would like to do one day: but back to what we can do here and now. Tool making is really simple and accessible to anyone, and for not much cost. I use a small gas forge that can be ready to work within seconds, and this is what we work with in my tool-making course. Next year I hope to have a small charcoal forge running as well. Tools can be made with a hammer, a pair of pliers, some sort of anvil which could be a sledge hammer and of course a forge.
We then make a small straight knife and then a hook knife for spoons, putting simple but functional handles on them and sharpening them to a razor edge. People often want to make other tools as well. Peter wanted some draw or dowel plates, and Jamie wanted to make a hook gouge for his bowl turning. He wanted it for a specific purpose. Aleric also wanted a very small hook knife for making salt spoons.

Not only did these guys go home with some useful tools but they also went home with the knowledge of how to make new tools or to reshape, harden and temper existing ones, which we do need to learn, especially with hook tools for the bowl lathe.
 You will have to wait until next year for my next tool making course, do check out my website for details. If you can not wait that long, then I run 1 to 1 or 2 to 1 workshops for a day or longer. If there are more of you, I can either travel to you or you can come to my workshop, I will give you a custom price for this.