Sue Murray



I forge bracelets out of different sizes and shapes of mild steel bar stock. The ends are tapered, rounded, and/or flattened first. I may also flatten round stock or square stock on the diamond. If I am going to file or fuller the edges, I do it after working the ends. Then, I do my twisting, securing the piece in the vice and spot heating in small increments with a torch and working my way up with a twisting wrench. After the twists are done, I shape the bracelet over the horn of the anvil, using a wooden mallet, so as not to damage the twist. Of course, if I decide to flatten the twist, I use my forging hammer. The final step is any scrolling done to the ends, which I do using scrolling pliers. I normally just apply Johnson's Paste Wax or Renaissance Wax to the heated bracelet after going over it with a wire wheel.

Napkin Rings 

The napkin rings I make are for use with large, cloth napkins. I like to use 1/4" round or 3/16" square bar. I begin by heating the stock in the forge and tapering the ends. If I'm using square stock, I also flatten the ends on the diamond into a spear point. I use a torch to spot heat and create whatever twist I'm using at this point. Then, I heat the whole piece in the forge and wrap it around a jig made from a piece of pipe. When all of the rings are made, I clamp each one onto the jig and use scrolling pliers to scroll the ends. Finally, they are wire-wheeled and sprayed with Krylon Clear Satin Acrylic coating.



Earring Tree

I made the earring tree because I had a dresser top full of earrings to organize. I used 1/4" square bar for this project. I cut a starting length that would allow me to have two separate places to hang earrings on, each supported on a different height vertical section coming up from an "S"-shaped base. I used the propane forge to heat each end and then tapered them to a square point. The earring-hanger sections were then flattened on the diamond so that the earrings would fit over them. Each end was then bent straight up, leaving material in the middle to be bent into a stand. A twist was put in each vertical piece starting one inch from the bottom and ending one inch from the top. Then, the base was curved into a stand. Finally, the sections for the earrings were bent into organic forms. The tree was wire wheeled, heated and waxed with Renaissance Wax. Turns out that my sister needed an earring tree worse than I did, so she got this one and I made another one for myself.



Detail of Earring Tree



The BBQ fork was made using flat bar, although I can't recall exactly which size I used. The stock was heated in a propane forge. The section that necks down near the tines was fullered using the Smithin' Magician. The tines were split using a chisel under the treadle hammer. They were drawn out and shaped using the flat and curved surfaces of that cool Brazeal brothers' anvil I was lucky enough to acquire a few years ago. The curly-que at the top, for hanging the fork, was also formed using that anvil and scrolling pliers. A ball-peen hammer was used to dimple the entire fork for texture. It was sanded to remove the scale on the surface, leaving the scale in the dimples for contrast. The fork was finally heated and coated with cooking oil. (For those who are not familiar with the Brazeal brothers' anvil, it is a large hunk of steel (almost 3" thick) mounted on a tripod base. The surface is broken into a 45° angle, a flat section and wide and narrow rounded sections.)

 Gate Handles

 The gate handles are made from 1/4" x 3/4" flat bar. Material was heated in a propane forge and the ends shaped first. Splitting was done using a chisel under the treadle hammer, then the piece was placed in a vice and the split cleaned up using a very thin chisel and a file. Long, pointed tapers were formed using the Brazeal brothers' anvil. Rounded ends were formed on a regular anvil by rounding the end of the material and flattening it prior to splitting it. The handles were then placed in a vice and spot heated to form the twists. After twisting was complete, the handles were heated in the forge and shaped over the horn of the anvil using a wooden mallet, so as not to damage the twists. The cusps were shaped using a forging hammer and any scrolling of the ends was done with scrolling pliers. Holes were drilled for 1/4" screws. The handles were finally cleaned up with a wire wheel, torch heated and coated with Renaissance Wax.



Trellis 1

 This trellis was made from 1/4" x 3/4" flat stock. Because I wanted it to be fairly tall, and I didn't want to have to try to prop up the ends while forging the top sections, I forged the two-foot top sections separately and riveted them to the vertical pieces. The tops were tapered first, and then fullered along one side of the taper using round bar under the treadle hammer. Then they were heated again in the propane forge and bent around the horn of the anvil to varying degrees. The bottom sections of two of the vertical pieces were also tapered and fullered to match the top and were bent flat for support, leaving only one piece to be sunken into the ground. The tops were riveted to their vertical pieces using large (5/16"), handmade rivets, which were then decorated using various bird-eye and ball nose punches, as well as my touchmark. Three short horizontal pieces were riveted across the vertical sections to hold them in place. The trellis was wire-wheeled and then heated for applying Johnson's Paste Wax. Although I intend for the trellis to rust in the garden, I used the wax to allow the customer to transport it and set it up without getting rust everywhere. It was made to hold lightweight vines, such as morning glories, snapdragon vine, or cardinal vine.



Trellis 2

This trellis was made from 1/4" x 1/2" and 1/4" x 3/4" flat stock. The large piece was sandwiched between the two smaller pieces. The top section of the larger bar was forged and scrolled before being riveted to the vertical piece. The longer of the two narrow pieces was also made in two parts, with the top end being formed and then riveted to its base. The shorter of the two narrow pieces was easy enough to handle as one piece. The decorative element tying the three pieces together was dimpling, made using a ball peen hammer, but it is not visible in the photo. The pieces of this trellis were riveted one on top of the other toward the bottom using handmade (1/4") rivets. Then, the longer of the narrow pieces was bent around the larger center section. The shorter of the two narrow pieces was then bent around the other two pieces. A twist was put in the center of the wide vertical pieces because it "needed something". This trellis was just lightly sanded with emery cloth and then heated and waxed. It will easily support a lightweight vine in the garden.





 Our trade item for the February, 2007 meeting was "something riveted". Being February, I decided to make a two-part heart. I used 3/8" round bar. I drew out my idea on a steel work surface for a pattern. Using the propane forge, I heated and tapered the ends of the material. I used a torch to shape the two halves of the heart according to my pattern. Curved areas were flared, using the hammer and anvil, for interest. The point of the arrow coming out of the heart was carefully cut with a chisel and scrolled out with tiny round-nosed spring pliers. The two sections were intertwined and then riveted at the top and bottom using handmade rivets.




I start by scrolling flat stock for the sun.  Then, I make eight rays, splitting one end for riveting to the center section.  I may split the outer end of the rays for extra movement and character or I may make them two different lengths for something different.  Depending on the size of material I'm using for the rays, I will use the v-notch in a full-size or a mini-swage block for shaping them.  Once the rays are done, I rivet them onto the sun's center with homemade rivets (detail below).





The turtle is made the same way as the sun (above), except that I make the legs and head separately, texture them and then rivet them on. The bottom side of the center scroll becomes the tail.