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Thursday, December 09, 2010

This means a lot to me 

When Rae and I started our garden here at the school my father gave me some of his fathers old tools to use so we wouldn't have to buy new ones. All sound environmental stuff to of re-using old things instead of throwing them away though he wasn't thinking like that at the time. I think he thought that we would never really do anything with the garden and it wouldn't matter anyway. He was a bit wrong there. Take a look at the story of the garden so far.

Using my grandfathers tools means a lot to me though. I wrote about it a while ago and took some pics. My grandfather was a great gardener. When I was young between my father and grandfather we had 2 big gardens, 2 allotments and another small patch of land we rented. We were almost self sufficient in terms of veg at least and sold on surplus cabbage etc. Not because it was a trendy thing to do but because that is the way it was always done.

Anyway, back to the point. A while ago Rae decided that she wanted to move a forsythia bush that was one of the first things we planted. It had grown massively and was crowding out the flowerbed. Rae being Rae tried to shift it on her own when I was at work one day and somehow managed it but snapped the handle of the big fork in the process. Damn and blast.

Then I had a word with my Blacksmithing tutor and he said I could fix it as part of a lesson.

You can see the results on flickr here I had to put the fork in the fire to burn out the end of the wood still inside it then punch out the rivets that were left. We then heated the fork up again before putting the new handle, that way the metal would contract down onto the handle as it cooled. We didn't have a drill handy on the course as the pillar drill was broken so I made the rivets to secure the handle from some scrap steel and had to take everything home half finished.

Today I took the fork round to my parents and drilled out the holes for the rivets and then cold forged the rivets into place and finally tapped down the edges of the steel really tightly to the wooden handle to make sure no rust can form behind them.

We found a makers name stamped into the steel and the tutor could look it up in a book with all the tool patterns. It turns out that the fork is at least 80 years old and was made by one of the best companies of the day. Its really high quality steel that has been tempered in the forge to give it enormous strength. Its quite unusual anyway as its got five tines instead of four.

Leaving aside the important environmental stuff about reusing and recycling it means a huge amount to me to be able to use my grandfathers tools and even more to be able to repair them just like he would have done in his day. I hope some of his skill and experience is in them and rubs off to me.

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