Monday, 9 April 2012

Harder, but not that hard

Had a smashing time at the Cornwall RV. I gave a couple of talks on Shelter and Wild Food and as I had no kids with me this year, decided to take on a bit of a blacksmithing project. Tristan Kessell helped me produce this traditional fire steel from a straightened section of an old spring. I am rather pleased with it.

There are a couple of nerdy features about it, of course. The first is the the handle section, like many traditional iron and steel items, is lightly coated with bees wax when warm, which seeps into the metal and helps prevent rust.  It's not on the striking edge as it has an adverse effect on the sparks.

The second is that the striking section is hardened. In experiments, it was shown that the harder it was, the better quality sparks it produced. Too hard, however, and it breaks when you hit it against the flint. It was taken to a light orange before quenching in water. 

We even made some char cloth with bits and bobs around around the forge. It worked rather well.

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