Fireplace Shovel

Part I of a series of three blacksmith articles

© Chris Axelsson
Viking Forge, Carmel, California

published in ANVIL Magazine, August 1997

Chris Axelsson offers individual and limited-edition works in iron, bronze and steel. Commissions include sculpture, architectural adornment and original furnishings.

Axelsson maintains gallery and studio representation at The Barnyard center in Carmel. His work has been honored and awarded by national associations.

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Chris with the completed project, a Ram’s Head Fire Shovel
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3/4” square bar stock is brought to a forging
heat at oneend and hammered to half the
thickness for approximatelytwo inches
stepped down off the edge of the anvil.
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A splitter is used to split the horns for the
ram’s head.Chris uses his legs to hold the
other end of the stock.
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The horns are split apart, cleaning up
any rough edges in the vise.
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The horns are hammered apart, using the
anvil horn.
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Each horn is forged out to a 3”-long point
with square edges.
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The portion to become the head is forged
back upon itself utilizing the shortest fold
back possible.
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Then, the upper portion of the head is forged
back onto the shaft, and the end slightly tapered.
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The neck is formed behind the jowl.
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With a new heat, the jowl is formed over the edge
of the anvil.
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The nostrils are formed with a punch;
the mouth is then formed using a thin, flat chisel.
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The cheeks are further refined using the corner
of the anvil face pulling glancing blows with a
ball- peen hammer.
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The jaw is carefully worked over the anvil horn
to trueup or straighten.
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The neck is bent over the horn.
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A cross-peen hammer is used to create the
last little bend for the neck and to straighten
up the horns.
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Bending forks are used to bring back the lower
portion of the neck in proper alignment with
the shaft.
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A slitting tool is used to start the hole which
will be used to hang the fireplace implement
on its rack, or fire tool stand.
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The piece is turned over and the slitter used
on the other side to insure a symmetrical hole.
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A drift is used to form an oval. The piece is
moved to one side of the anvil horn and then
the other as the drift is punched through,
to minimize distortion.
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A larger drift is used to complete the hole,
making it a perfect circle.
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A crease is chiseled into each side of the
shaft 1/2” below the newly formed hole.
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The heated piece is then put into the leg vise
and twisted to form a split-rope pattern.
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A spring fullering tool is used to form a
crease at the bottom of the twist for an
aesthetically pleasing space between the
twist and the rest of the shaft.

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