October 18, 2006

2006 Saltfork Conference

Another member of our group, Tim, kindly invited me to go with him to the SCABA Annual Conference in Perry, Oklahoma. We had demonstrations by Tal Harris, and the Brazil brothers - Brian and Ed. The building was excellent, with bleachers close to the demonstrators, a separating wall to isolate sound and sand on the floor so we would not have to worry about fires. To all SCABA members - there should be a tape available early next year.

Tal showed us how to design a railing with pierced joinery, tenons and banding. He used a few specialized tools that he either made or adapted for his purposes - a 6 inch traveler, a bolster block with a slit cut, a Z shaped auto-centering scoring tool, an offset punch, an angle iron measuring stick (with small clamps to preserve a measure across several cuts), a ruler that measures length on one side and the radius on the other. He commented - if you look at an older piece and it looks impossible, there was probably a forge weld involved. His design explanations only involved simple math, using the perimeter, circumference and area formulas as he converted a slit into a circle and then a square.

Brian and Ed demonstrated tool making, animal heads, an eagle wing, and several flowers. They used both a traditional "London Pattern" anvil as well as a european anvil made more like a simplified swage block - it was a piece of 2.5 or 3 inch plate, turned on edge, with flat, 2 inch rounded fuller, 1/2 inch fuller, cutting edge, hardy hole, pritchel hole and a small horn.

Things that I learned:
An offset punch allows access to the inside of a closed shape.
Measure carefully.
Marking with a diamond punch makes it easier to spot a mark after the metal has scale.
Scale will flake off when an item has been upset some.
Quenching a piece can shrink it a tiny bit (maybe 1/16 inch over 6 inches).
You can draw out faster if you slightly lift the hot piece off of the anvil between blows, thus preserving the heat.

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