Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day Thirty Eight: How to Make a Viking Spork

Today we are closing up shop early to wander out back to the forge and watch Nash do some black-smithing. One of our good friends, Ian had his birthday over the weekend and requested a custom iron Viking spork for camping exhibitions. Nash has some custom metal pieces to do this fall for your pleasure and it's sometimes easy to forget the larger pieces he does when you only see his jewelry. A small fun piece of historical history, Viking sporks were popular in the 12th century. Nash is hammering this one out one from 1/2 inch bar stock. Ian considers it the perfect weapon to, "Go hunt squirrels or villages with." I leave it to you what you do with yours.

1. Part one, heat the forge until very hot. Forges come in many styles, shapes, and sizes. The most important thing they do is heat metal. Our model is propane driven and has a nice flame that comes off the front called dragon's breath. Put your metal in when hot til right color.

2. A spork is created in 3 parts. First you make the spoon side. This is done by alternatively heating the metal and beating a few times with various hammers while holding the metal with a pair of tongs. There are actually several molds for this. First you grab the hot iron and beat the metal flat on one side on the anvil. Then you put it in a circle mold and form a slight depression through the center. Next you place the rough piece in what for lack of a better word would be a spoon mold and alternatively heat and mold the spoon shape in alternating cycles. The metal will be bright when it comes out of the oven and rapidly cools. As it cools, it has a tendency to flake producing silver scales which are considered waste. When the spoon reaches the desired shape, you dip the piece in a large bucket of water to temper the iron which is called quenching.

3. Next you flip the piece of iron and begin heating the iron on the side away from the spoon. You again flatten the iron like you did for the spoon side in preparation for cutting. Nash cut it with hot cutting tool. You can see Nash using a foot hammer to split the fork into three pieces. This is very rough. Afterwards you have the three pieces separated. Alternatively, some people start with 3 pieces and hammer them together, but you need a REALLY hot forge to do that. Then, it's back to the anvil to hammer the three pieces into prongs. This part took the longest. Remember to quench the fork side when you have the desired shape to temper it.

4. Lastly, the twist. This part really takes about 30 seconds to do and honestly it was done so fast I didn't even have time to take a photo. Heat the middle of the spork. Put one side (Nash did the fork side) in a clamp and holding the other side tightly twist. You may need to flatten it slightly once done, but this is nearly instantaneous. Quench in water again to temper one last time. The final product will look very masculine. You can buff or polish it for a shiny finish.

Voila, one awesome Viking spork. Look for some of Nash's pieces as displays at our fall shows. Have a great day everyone.

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