Friday, June 5, 2015

Blacksmithed Camp Cooking Gear

I, like most people hate long boring conference calls. At work on I had one of those hated adventures. To occupy my mind while trying to stay awake I doodled like many do. This is one of my doodles. I had been thinking about making a ratcheting trammel hook for a while but hadn't tried it yet. I thought it would be a good practice piece. It has moving parts, drawing, tapering and even a couple welds. So, this was my concept sketch. I had the pleasure of volunteering at an 1880s living history farm working as the blacksmith. One cooking tripod, three S-hooks and the beginning of my trammel hook. So far I am very happy with it. 

The following is an image from The Crusader Bible, also known as the Morgan Picture Bible, or the Maciejowski Bible.  The manuscript is dated to approximately 1250 and this image shows a cook with a large kettle hanging from a trammel hook. 

Trammel Hook

Trammel hook, day one.  I made the saw tooth section of the hook by simply doing half on half off strikes on the edge of the anvil.  The teeth are rather rough and will likely get a bit of filing before I take it back to the forge for further work.  The adjustable switch at the bottom was just a loop of quarter stock forge welded shut and then scrolled at the end.Once all the adjustments are made and the hook works free enough I'll add the hook to the top as well.


Cooking Tripod

This is a basic item I've been wanting to make for a while.  As I plan on going on a week long camping trip I wanted some period looking display for cooking and heating water over.  I won't have a shower so I'd like something that allows me to hang a pot or two over the fire.  I took three rods of equal length and then I pointed the ends of the tripod slightly in hopes they will bite into the ground better.

Two legs are identical and connected into one leg which has an eye that is slightly larger.  The goal was to fold easily, lay flat and yet look balanced.  Of course since it was hand made it had to have the traditional blacksmith's twist at the end.  I also made a series of small S hooks to hang from the tripod.



I really like volunteering at the living history farm. On some days it is so busy I spend more time talking to patrons that I do working. Some days are just dead because of the weather. The day I made the following projects was very dead, likely because of the heat and rain. The few people who did come out were very chatty.  I ended up spending 30 or 40 minutes talking to two different men.  Not a terribly productive day but I loved being outside banging on metal.

On days when the patrons are very chatty I like to work on things that are simple and don't take much concentration.  This piece started out as an experiment. I had seen handles like these but never did one. While I waited for the forge to get good and warm I just played with this quarter inch mild stock. It was actually very easy and fun to make. It is a good piece to do while chatting so I'll probably make more.  People seem to like to watch twists and decorative stuff rather than functional items being made.

I did a long taper for the handle portion and then bended the handle into a U shape.  I placed the U shape into my vice and then took a pair of tongs to pull the tail around while it was hot.  The twisted handle was actually pretty easy to make.  After it was done I placed the eye of the handle on a hardy tool to straighten out the shape of the eye circle.  I then added a small twist, because that's what black smiths do and then tapered the point down.  I filed down the tip to be used as my new cooking skewer.


Trammel Hook (Take 2)

Here is another take on a trammel hook. It is an adjustable hook for open fire cooking. This was really just an excuse to practice punching while I talked. The twists are ugly I know.  The farm forge has a very small hot box which makes it hard to twist large sections unless I really pile up the coal. I twisted this in four sections in four heats and it shows. It works but yuck.  I may bring it back and straighten it out a bit next time.

The construction of this trammel is much easier than the other one I tried.  The top hook just has to taper small enough to match the size of the punch used.  It works well and has a much longer range of lengths than the other option does.