Friday, August 30, 2013

California? - Course Suggestion

Ok - Most of those reading are not likely to be close enough to take this one in! 

Jim Austin  is well known for his excellent work replicating Viking Age axes. Especially in matching forging process to that indicated on artifact samples. I had attended his workshop at Ashokin NY last fall, and can tell you he is an excellent demonstrator. 

(Weekend Class)
Greetings to all medieval metalworking enthusiasts!
Would you like to learn the process by which early European metalworkers crafted the fine and costly steel for their storied weapons and beautiful hand tools?
This fall will see the continuation of Medieval Metalworking Classes at my blacksmithing studio at 2440 Adeline Street in Oakland, CA.  In this collection of classes I will be conducting an exploration of early metal working techniques and materials designed to immerse students in the craft of the early European metal worker.  Students who take up this challenge will increase their skills in evocative and unexpected ways, and will make some cool, historical objects in the process.  More classes will be announced soon.
In November I am offering a new weekend class that will focus on the alchemy of the ancient material known as“Shear Steel” (see below):
Saturday, November 23rd:                   Shear Steel from Wrought Iron
Sunday, November 2th:                        Forging and using a Fire Steel  
The maximum number of students in each class is 5 and the class will run if at least 3 students are enrolled one week in advance.  Classes will run from 10am to 6pm with a working lunch.  Pizza can be ordered in from nearby Arizmendi
Shear Steel was a major source of high-quality, high-carbon tool steel used by early European craftsmen in demanding applications such as sword and knife blades, tool bits, fire steels etc.  It was produced by a two-step process that began with infusing carbon into common, soft iron at high temperature.  The resulting, brittle product, known as Blister Steel, was refined by lamination in the smithy.  Due to its high cost this material was usually reserved for only that portion of a weapon or tool (such as an axe bit) that took the brunt of wear or impact in use.
Class description:
Making Medieval Shear SteelIn this class we will convert antique wrought iron into a high-carbon, brittle intermediate product called blister steel.  During this several-hour conversion process we will forge weld previously prepared blister steel into bars of refined shear steel which the students can use for such forging projects as knives (also pattern-welded!), firesteels, hand tools, etc.
Forging and using a Fire Steel:  In this class we will forge and harden fire steels from high carbon shear steel based on original Viking artifacts.  We will produce  "char cloth" which is used to catch and propagate the sparks that are struck from firesteels with flints and also learn how to start fires using our own tools.  Each student will finish the class with a firesteel made from historically correct material as well as a flint and supply of charcloth.
Please come and learn about the origins and use of shear steel – one of the truly elemental and pivotal materials in early European technology . Class space is somewhat limited so I encourage you to register by emailing a response to this message.   You can pay by Paypal using this LINK  (Add to Cart button is at bottom), or by sending a check to:
James Austin
2440 Adeline Street
Oakland  CA  94607

1 comment:

Denton said...

If you don't mind answering, when did the technigue of shear steel start? I had, for reasons of limited experience, thought it later than this but really don't know. I can see where it could be applied to the lower carbon pieces of a bloom? Maybe a post on when they think it developed? Thanks


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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