Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tool Time

I don't remember where I saw it on PaleoPlanet but someone recently made a post about converting a shingle hatchet to a bowmaking hatchet by trimming the head and making it into a bearded hatchet.
That sounded like a pretty neat project so while we were in Quartzsite a few weeks ago I kept an eye out for old shingle hatchets in all the piles of rusty tools and "antiques." I picked up these three.

Today we spent some time at David Brunetta's studio in Laguna Beach, CA and he helped me do the conversion. Actually, all I did was use his metal cutting bandsaw to trim the "beard" out of the two bigger heads and take care of rough shaping. David did the final shaping, polishing, and heat treating.
David had an idea for the smaller hatchet and did some trimming, forging, and welding to make it into a small adze. It's too small for building a dugout canoe but I'm hoping it will work well for bowl making.
As soon as I figure out handles for these three I'll be able to see if the concept has merit.
All in all, I think things turned out pretty well.

David also gave me forging lessons and I really learned a lot:
Hammer control is everything.
Playing with red hot steel gets pretty warm.
It's not as easy as a master like David makes it look.

While the two little knives I pounded out aren't worth public exhibition, I have hopes that future pieces will be better.
David is getting ready to offer forging lessons on a one-on-one basis. If you get the chance to take lessons from him, you won't regret it. He is an absolute artist with hot steel, and a number of other mediums.

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