Medieval ironwork techniques.

This grille was made by repeating a process over and over and then joining all the elements together to make a pattern called quadtrafoil.

The image above shows the process where each bar was joggled,punched,split,joggled and punched again to precise measurements
The final process is to rivet the 12 components together, this is where you find out how precise you were.
The end result is this beautiful and interesting pattern.

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Graveyard ironwork.

An excellent place to search for historic blacksmith made ironworks are old graveyards, one can be lucky enough to stumble over a handmade grave surround amongst the broken factory produced victorian cast iron examples,
This particular piece below is interesting because of unique design and the wrought iron forged horseshoes are tooled and fullered ,this means the iron section was actually forged by the blacksmith, so probably predates the invention of concave fullered steel around the turn of the century.
This example is in kilbride churchyard near oban, you can find more information at the Friends of kilbride

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Metal doors

Sheet iron doors were very popular in the glan valley of carinthia southern Austria, they were made from recycled plowshares which were flattened out and riveted together to make these patch work doors, iron was a very expensive commodity in medieval times, due to the very labour intensive process of making it.

This door was made from a recyled coal bunker, the bottom had rusted out, so i decided put rest of it to good use, about 300 rivets were used in the making , the finish was achieved by polishing the door with a heavy wire wheel and coating with owatrol anti rusting oil.

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Decorative door hinges-medieval style.

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The C hinge with the split curl orginated in the roman empire and was very popular in the twelfth century,this design formed a strong fixing to the wooden door, the examples above have
about 18 clenched nails attaching the hinge to the woodwork, which also helps to reinforce the door.
Historically the C hinge is found mainly on church doors and comes in a variety of forms, for example the terminals of the curls can be scrolls, flowers or animal heads, the strap can be decorated with surface chasing
patterns and the nail heads too, limited only by the imagination and skill of the smith.

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Kitchen handles

Handmade kitchens are a big investment, if the budget wont stretch to an oak crafted kitchen then one way to personalise your off the shelf units is to add some handforged handles to them.

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Ironwork for wheelwrights

Ive had the pleasure of making some ironwork for a beautifull unique baby carriage that is being restored by a wheelwright in somerset.
This buggy dates from 1780 and the workmanship is very detailed and skillfully made, it is very inspiring to see such attention to detail both in the woodwork and the blacksmithing, a far cry from what is generally produced in these modern times.

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Church work.

Churches are usually a good place to find handforged ironwork, the medieval ones can quite often have original hinges, door hardware and sometimes an oak chest covered with elaborate metalwork, some of the work is very inspiring and some not quite so, especially the modern work which is almost always welded and of poor design.
In such prestigious place surrounded by other craftsmanship one should do their best to execute the work in the best manner.

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cut out hinges.

Cut out hinges came in to fashion around 1300 Ad, this technique uses sheet iron on which the required pattern is drawn and then cut out using a variety of shaped chisels and punches while the metal was hot, the hinge was then hammered and filed to produce a smooth flowing outline, the surface of the hinge was sometimes patterned to create a more three dimensional effect.
This process succeeded the stamped ornament era where the hot metal was beaten into shaped dies then the elements were fire welded together to complete the hinge.

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Typical rural blacksmiths work.

Years ago when the blacksmiths forge was the hub of the community a huge variety of work would have been brought to the door, there was horses to shoe, farm equipment to make and mend, tools to sharpen and replace for local craftsmen, household items to repair and the occasional commission for artistic work from local gentry if your were lucky.
Its always nice to see old blacksmith made farm implements and their simple design can often be educational and inspiring in the way everything seamlessly fits together, the mastery off the material and skills shines through.
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Decorative handrails.

Handrails can quite often be dull and municipal looking, but with a little consideration and experimentation a handrail can become a feature to the architecture of the building and not just a safety rail.
A well made set of stone steps finished off with beautifully forged metalwork,
neatly leaded in, looks like its actually grow out of the stonework.

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