Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Forge: the Parable of the Marshmallow Roaster

YW was a field trip to President Wadsworth's forge. All the Young Women  made marshmallow roasters out of 1/4" square key stock.

This forge is fired with propane, so there isn't any smoke, and the forge comes up to temperature quickly.  The stock was inserted into the heat and hammered to form a point, cooled and the other end was heated several times and the handle was formed. Another heat and a decorative twist was made, another heat and it was straightened and peened with a wooden mallet to soften any sharp edges...

I don't know how meany heats it took to transform the plain piece of steel into a beautiful and useful tool, but President Wadsworth made it into a parable of sorts for the girls.

He told us all that the heating and pounding couldn't have been pleasant, if the steel could feel, but it was necessary to effect the transformation from plain stock to useful tool. 

In much the same way life's fires and pounding change and purify us, and help us to be changed into something beautiful and useful as well.


This was actually in 2014....I have to clear up the old drafts:

The blackberries are getting ripe.  This is a fun and novel state of affairs for me.  I know that is it silly in a way, and that possibly in a few years that blackberries will be as exciting as oatmeal and all that I will see is a thorny invasive weed.  

I know that his is likely to happen, but in the mean time I am enjoying having a hardy and natural growing berry patch.  It is human nature for the newness to wear out, but it hasn't happened yet.

Today Annie popped out of bed like toast and put on her walking shoes and out we went into the cool morning.  We had a nice walk, and towards the end as we were walking back we passed as scroungy patch of berries.  We walked on 

Pounding Iron

     Anvil and railroad car spring 

    Air powered trip hammer 

   Multitude of tongs and tools 

These pictures are almost a year old, and I have been both busy and remiss in getting anything posted, but this was a nice experience, and it should be shared.

This is Scott Wadsworth's shop. Annie and I went up to Roseburg last June and he gave us the two dollar tour.  This collection was what was once a railroad roundhouse blacksmith shop and forge. It is super well supplied with all kinds of tools.

One of the most impressive is the trip hammer.  Normally when you think of a blacksmith working, you think of a single guy with a 3 pound single jack.  But that wasn't the norm.  Most smithy's had at least two guys, one for the hammer and anvil, and once for the bellows and blower. When you attempt to forge weld a piece of iron, you have to bring it to a white, sparking heat - almost melted, then you smack it against the anvil to know of the slag and flux, place the pieces in position and smack them with the hammer.  This has to be done in about 3 seconds - literally, or the iron cools to bright yellow and it won't weld.  So it was really handy to have an extra person there to hold the pieces in alignment while the other guy smacks them.  The trip hammer is even better as it can strike harder and longer than the strongest guy.  

The roots on the Starck side go back to a blacksmith shop in Berthoud, Colorado.  Great Grandpa
Starck was able to keep the family afloat with farming and working beets, but Dad said that the basis for their success was the blacksmith shop.  I think it was Uncle Ted that was working at one for several years and came home one day to reveal that it was for sale.  Great Grandpa bought it and several of the boys went to work in it.

I thought you might be interested in it