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Daniel Wallace

Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Mon 30 Jun, 2014 9:11 am    Post subject: blacksmithing with Glenn Horr         Reply with quote

although this isn't a blade topic, it still has to do with the craft we all appreciate here.

last year I finally found a facility that teaches blacksmithing, it's practically in my back yard here in Fayette county and very few people here in the county even know about it. I found them by accident when a someone from my church left a few catalogs for touchstone center for crafts in the church office. I looked through the cataloged and was stunned at the work showed there - last year I toured the campus which included other crafts such as glass blowing and the few others, but the blacksmith shop was thee most impressive shop I think I had ever seen. 2 modern power hammer, 1 from the turn of the century, several much older. 12 coal forge stations each with leg vice and 100 lb anvils.

I've dabbled with metal working for the past few years but never got into any hot work, so this year I was going for it, my first class was with Glenn Horr, he's one of the self taught smiths in the area, been forging for 30 + years. a great guy willing to teach his trade and introduce people to it. my class had 11 students including myself, open to all ages. three were a few experienced metal workers playing with this craft as a retirement hobby, and a few college students majoring in sculpture at lager universities like Pittsburgh.

Glenn with fire and hammer - it was humbling to see him work as he could take pieces of scarp metal, and forge out things in minutes. and everything he made he could make it like an exact copy of the last one. we asked him how long it took him to learn to make a leaf - he said, "37 years and I'm still learning how to." of all the little trinkets and things we made, we got the chance to do some heat treating on tools we made at the shop. a scratch awl/scribe slitting chisel, center punch. I differed a little and made a set of inlay gravers for a future project his eyes lit up a little when he noticed me forging them out, "we're gonna have to make them especially tuff!"

his heat treating process was practically fool proof. our tools were made out of an old coil spring from a car suspension, properly annealed. then heated the working ends to non metallic partially quenched in peanut oil. we left some of the heat in the tools during the quench allowing a portion to continue to glow red, when it diminished, quickly pulled out the tool cleaned and then watched the residual heat from the tool to draw the temper before its second quench. my scribe slitting tool and center punch were all tempered to the straw yellow color, my gravers that he helped me with we did in the brown making them extra hard. I had trouble seeing the brown color in the tool so he was my eyes for the operation.

the end result, I could practically push these gravers into mild steel and shave off a ribbon of it. although none of my tools look that impressive because they are all forged, they work and work well as I used them on other projects we had through the week. (I have to resize the pics of them I'll post them up a little later.)

if you ever have the opportunity to take a beginners class - or to learn from someone, take it! to be able to have one on one discussions with a master of a trade is invaluable. everyone within the class weather they worked with metal before or for the first time, you could tell, took home a new passion.
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Shahril Dzulkifli

Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 1,265

PostPosted: Tue 08 Jul, 2014 6:38 am    Post subject: Blacksmithing with Glenn Horr         Reply with quote

In my opinion that would be an honour for people like me to learn swordmaking with Glenn Horr.... Laughing Out Loud
“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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