Last Weekend at the Forge.

“Grimm, missed you at Battle on the Bay. Whats up?”

I was stuck working once again. But I was able to make it into the forge for a few hours after work and before it got to late to be pounding. I was also able to steal a few hours on both Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The sad news is that this was not SCA Forging but mundane forging for the house. Having remodeled the Archers bathroom, i felt I should make all the fixtures for it. I had made a TP holder earlier, but messed up the proportions. Now it was time to make the complete set.

My goal was:

  1. Towel Bar

  2. Towel Ring

  3. TP holder

  4. Paper Towel holder

Sketching out my plans, such as they are:

Saturdays Blacksmithing:

The first thing to work on was to be the towel bar. This would not need a hook the way the paper towel and TP racks would, but instead be 2 closed loops. Because of the size of this piece, the 1/4 in round bar that I was using for the rest of the projects looked a little skimpy. Therefore I moved up to 3/8 in round stock. The 2 angle pieces were made first to make them as uniform as possible. After that the eyes were forged on the ends of the towel rod and fitted to the wall mounts. Once the piece was forged, I was faced with a question of suitability of purpose. Iron is not necessarily the best for putting wet towels on. This was not a problem for Tp and paper towel holders, but could

be a problem for a towel rack. There were several solutions to this problem, enamel or Spray paint, clear lacquer, rubber or plastic tubing, or something else. In keeping with the hand made look, i decided on something else. I was going to do a cord wrap and then varnish the cord. This was done on old ships to protect the ship from metal parts. That evening after closing down the forge, I began wrapping the rod with a french hitch. Thus ended my Saturday.

Sunday saw me taking care of chores in the morning, but having the afternoon free to get back in the shop. This would be the day for the towel ring. I was excited to get to this because i would have to forge weld the ring. Something I had never tried before. Making the rest was pretty straightforward, but the ring was a new experience for me. After several attempts, i managed to get the ring welded. Not well, but welded. I attempted a scarf weld and in retrospect, should have built up more material before welding. The ring came out a little thin at the joint. In the end, about 80% of the total length of the weld was solid. I left a bit at each end that would not weld. Having messed with it for quite a while, i decided that this was close enough and I would settle for what I had.

Monday saw me racing around to finish chores and leave myself some forging time before archery. In this I was successful. The forge was fired up once again. Three times in three days! The Gods were smiling on me. This time I was going to work on the paper towel holder and the TP holder. This would be a exercise in controlled forging as I wanted all 4 wall mounts to be as identical as possible. I was very pleased with the consistency I was able to achieve in this. They all matched quite well. Now to do the bars. Here, I am afraid, I became to cocky and forgot to thing about function over design. I made the 2 hooks and they were beautiful, long, perfectly tapered, and with a curl on the tip to show off my skills. What could be better!

Here’s where the problems came in:


A 2 1/2 inch perfectly tapered hook for a 1 1/2 inch paper towel roll. Damn it!!! Right after i figured this out, the archers started showing up for practice. Time to bank the fires and move on to something else.

Tuesday saw me back at work, but pissed off at the stupidity of the hook situation. But, could I get out in time to fire up the forge and quickly address the problem? Yes, yes I could. And so: hooks 2.0. Not as happy with the looks, but they are done.

So, on Tuesday evening, it was time to finish the wrapping of the towel bar and wrap the towel ring and be done with this project. As I sat sown in my easy chair to finish the wrapping, I looked at both the wrapping I had already done and my choice of materials and was not happy with either. I was thinking at first a synthetic cord was the way to go for waterproofing, but the aesthetics of it were just all wrong. So, time to pull out the cotton cordage and start wrapping with that. The spiral knots were also not to my liking. I decided to switch to a single cord cockscombing wrap for both items. First to do the towel ring, then undo the towel bar and redo that. So at the end of Tuesday I had the ring wrapped and the towel bar ready to go for it’s 2nd wrap.

And thus do my adventures in blacksmithing come to an end. Not to figure out what to get into next.