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Give your e-z poker a decorative twist.

Okay, you have now had time to make the poker featured in the March/April 2004 issue, so now let's put a nice decorative twist in it.

A twist, and how decorative it is, is really just limited by the base stock, your tools and your imagination. Photo 1 Shows a variety of sample twists. The one we will use just happens to be my favorite of the lot.

For this twist you will need to make a sharp chisel and V-block.

While a blacksmith handled hot cut is preferable, a hand-held chisel will work. Just be sure to wear a good leather glove while using it. (You can also make a suitable hot cut chisel by forging out the bulb end of an old ball peen hammer.) Photo 2.

For the V-block you will need a length of one-half inch angle iron and two lengths of one-half inch square stock. Six inches is a nice length for this block. Start by putting the angle iron with the opening down on a plate and then clamp the square stock to each side. Now spot weld about every inch or so to lock the angle iron to the square lengths. Photo 3.

On your poker use a center punch to mark all four sides of the shaft a couple of inches below the bulb handle. Now come down four inches and put four more marks. This will be the start and stop points for your groove. (A rough rule of thumb on twist length is eight times your stock thickness. Since you are working with one-half inch, this gives four inches.)

Heat the stock and start with your sharp chisel putting in a groove about one-third of the way through the stock. More than one heat may be required as the anvil top draws out the heat from the stock. Reheat and do the opposite side. Then the other two sides in a similar manner. Now close the grooves without deforming the edges.

Here is where your V-block comes into use. Place it on your anvil top, heat the stock, put one point into the block groove and chisel in teeth from the top to the bottom of the cut. Reheat and do the opposite corner. The purpose of the V-block is to keep the first teeth you put in from flattening out on the anvil surface. When you are done, you should have the stock grooved and notched as shown in Photo 4.

If you happen to have an old automobile or mechanic's wrench handy, take the time to make a twisting hammer like those shown in Photo 5. The T-handle concept gives you more control as you twist. The anvil holdfast was made from an old automobile lug wrench. When the bulb is placed on stock and the bend over the pritchel (round) hole struck, it locks it in place. A tape on the backside of this bend frees it. The bulb has been fullered (grooved) on the bottom to allow it to better hold clown round stock.

Now heat consistently through the groove area, clamp in the vise, grip above the twist and turn one full turn. Direction doesn't matter, but most use clockwise. If the twist became skewed, just use your vise jaws to straighten it out. Your final product should look like Photo 6 after the twist area has been wire brushed.

An aesthetic trick: Use your hammer to slightly knock off the edges between the bulb and twist and between the twist and claw without heating the stock. This gives a nice "worked" look.

Now redo the vegetable oil finish as you did with the poker initially.

(To find new or used blacksmithing tools just go to and do a search on blacksmith. You will find several hundred listings. If you don't see what you are looking for check back from time to time.)
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:The blacksmith shop
Author:Scharabok, Ken
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:May 1, 2004
Previous Article:It's easy to make your own yogurt.
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