.slider_post_title{ font-family: "Didact Gothic", Times, serif; font-style: italic; font-weight: bold; color: #EEE; text-align: left; font-size: 48px; }

«

»

Nov 01

A Hoop and Spurs

You can see a hoop on this old clock (I didn't work on this clock)

You can see a hoop on this old clock – (I didn’t work on this clock)

Perhaps this sounds a little like something to do with horses and cowboys or a San Antonio basketball team but, yes, really, it has to do with clocks.  Some old English clocks were attached to the wall with a hoop – essentially a hanging bracket.  The spurs were used at the bottom of the clock frame to hold it out from the wall.

This week we spent two full day sin the forge learning the old craft of wrought iron work.  Yes, we put iron in the fire and pounded it submission.  In our case, into the shape of a hoop and spurs.  One of the goals here at West Dean is to gather an appreciation, if not the skill, to build/restore clocks in a way that is “sympathetic” with the way that it was originally made.

My Station

Here’s my station in the forge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a much harder job than it seems.  We practiced with Plasticine initially but that didn’t last long and we were on to banging red hot metal with a hammer.  Day one, we made practice pieces – pointed tapers on the end of a rod, and bent over tapers, and bends in different directions.  It all seems to be possible when you are dealing with a relatively long piece of metal but when you try to manipulate a piece that is only 160 mm (that’s around 6 inches for you Americans) and try to get bends in precise places, it is definitely more of a challenge.

Here I am cutting off a spur after creating a sharp point in the end.

Here I am cutting off a spur after creating a sharp point in the end.

As soon as the rod cools enough to loose its red color, it is really easy to forget that it is still very, very hot.  Fortunately, I made it through the exercise without and serious mishaps – but I could see it happening really easily.

First we made some length calculations.

First we made some length calculations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first bend.

The first bend.

 

Cutoff only takes a couple hits from the hammer.  That's not orange paint - it is hot!

Cutoff only takes a couple hits from the hammer. That’s not orange paint – it is hot!

 

 

 

 

 

Then some more bends.

Then some more bends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's my finished hoop.

Here’s my finished hoop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next week we start the process of designing and making a clock.  I am not sure that I will have time in the year to complete it because I have a Master’s project to do and write and that make not leave enough time, but I will make some of the main parts of a clock.

P.S.  We have had the most amazingly warm and dry October for this part of the world – the last two days especially have been beautiful and warm, around 20 C (68 F). As is so often, I am absolutely taken by the fields and the sheep right out in front of the school.

A short ten minute walk back from the forge to the clock workshop.  Amazing!

A short ten minute walk back from the forge to the clock workshop. Amazing!

I’ll let you know about some of my other projects soon,

3 comments

  1. Sue

    It is so facinating what you are learning to do! And of course the sheep and fields right beside you. Glad you’ve been having some dry autumn weather.

  2. Sue Gary

    Mostyn, the iron work sounds fascinating. Before we retired, we had a client who was a Blacksmith here in Camarillo. What I really wanted to tell you and Debbie is that it actually rained here almost all night last night! Luckily for the kids, the rain did not start until well after the trick-or-treating had ended. we are hoping for much more of the same.
    Sue Gary

  3. Mike Schmidt

    Thank you for taking the time to write and sharing. I am enjoying the descriptions of the countryside along with learning something new about clocks.

    Mike

Comments have been disabled.