Northwest Blacksmith Association

Mark Aspery’s Stag Horn Hinge


Stag Horn HingeStag Horn Hinge: Mark Aspery Demo, 12 March 2016, Longview, WA. Notes by Ike Bay

Editor note: Dan Bowyer took extensive pics of this demo.  See the full gallery of images HERE.

Best Quote: “Find the difference between handmade and custom made”

General info: This style hinge can be in pairs of matched sides, unmatched sides or on pintles. Suggested referances, “Professional Smithing” by Donald Streeter which gives a detailed how-to section. Examples of original pieces can be found in “Early American Wrought Iron” by Albert Sonn and Colonial Wrought Iron, The Sorber Collection” by Don Plummer.  This demo was for a non pintle style hinge.

Stock: 1 1/4″ X 1/4″ was used, Mark would have preferred 1 1/4″ X 3/16″

Draw an even, centered taper 4 to 4.5″ long, 3.5″ is rather short. Do not put a fine point on the end, as is mass needed here when the piece is cut in half length wise.

Cutting: point bar on anvil to strong light source so shadow does not distort your vision of center line. Index end and a few other points on proposed cut line as witness marks.  Use chisel with slight radius face and walk up cut line. (1/16″ good radius on this type chisel).  Start on end of taper and walk up to end of cut point. Cut from one side and use cut plate for last part of process.  Cutting from one side like this results in a ragged edge, but forging two sides in the “S” curve in will eliminate this.  Chisel with front and side cutting edges gives you a sight reference when using the front cutting edge.  Use narrow fuller to clean up the cleft of the cut.

Spread horns: First push one side down so both sides are accessible to the hammer. Then bend the horizontal “S” shape over the horn.  Forge so both sides are equal in form that pleases your eye.  Get both sides close and then tweak, rather than getting one side right and then trying to match it.  Flip back and forth to eyeball for uniformity.

Draw out (peen and dress) humps, Do both top first and then both bottom. Keep things even with eye.  DO NOT LET GET OUT OF EVEN/UNIFORM AND PLAN TO CORRECT LATER. Through all steps keep sides even and uniform.

Prongs: can cut now or later but do not turn out. When cutting prongs, give them a tall root or will be too thing when you form them later. Use round face chisel as before. Technique- tongs between legs, chisel and hammer in hand.  Remember tool migrates to path of least resistance when cutting, punching, slitting, Etc.

In retrospect might do face and barrel first.

Face: Preform to spreading/fullering face is two half face notches with a “butcher profile” on outside. This is below the horns and before the barrel of the hinge. Work inside notches with fullers that are fir for the space. Take bar to slightly less than half thickness and move extra mass evenly to sides.

Barrel Math: how much length needed to form barrel. Bend takes place in the neutral axis of the bar (center line) not inside.  If bar tapered still the same but a different calculation.  3/8″ ID plus two half wall thickness less a little for taper = about 1.5 inches.

Bend such: bend in a bar will produce a cup on the outside of bend. This makes for loose hinges if not compensated for. Counter bend is solution. Face up to counter bend and face down to start rolling barrel. If nesting barrel with another parts of barrel must be removed.  Barrel is divided into three sections, center (major) is always larger than outer two (minor).  When cutting layout lines for major/minor determinations cut outside lines, not on them, so you have a snug fit in final hinge, not bad if parts do not fit and careful file work needed to fit.  For this demo Mark anticipated major and did a slot punch without removing tab.  This allowed him to break off major at end of process.

Spread prongs at this point. Push to one side of horn so accessible by hammer, work over horn for curve. Mark used special tongs to hold hinge by barrel while finishing up the final forms.

TOOLS ARE IMPORTANT!! THESE ARE SOME OF THE TOOLS MARK USED AT THE DEMO:

hammer  fuller side  Fuller front  hinge tongs  hinge tongs 2  Tools in rack  Tools on deck

Editor note: Dan Bowyer took extensive pics of this demo.  See the full gallery of images HERE.

 

 

 

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