The Holy Roasting Fork of St. Kielbasa

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Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

The Holy Roasting Fork of St. Kielbasa

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:08 pm

So it started out as one of those manic brain storming sessions. Jim Ericksen and I were carpooling back from the June Guild meeting and discussing what we wanted to enter in the Madness fork contest. We knew we wanted to team up on a project and we knew we wanted to try some techniques we hadn't used it before but we still needed a theme. What occurred was that hurricane of ideas being thrown out, batted around, modified, and turned on their head. The type of creative collaboration where you loose track of who contributed what bit. I do remember that Jim first suggested the name of St. Kielbasa. From there ideas and laughter mixed 50/50 as we amused ourselves on the possibilities. Theme set we found some time in our mutually hectic schedules and started. We got together and settled on a rough design.
St Kielbasa fork sketch modified (600x800).jpg
St Kielbasa fork sketch modified (600x800).jpg (155.01 KiB) Viewed 3182 times
We tried to pick something that if we had plenty of time we could add all sorts of extra features but if we ran short it would still look okay. Then we headed out to the shop and transferred the drawing to a sheet of rusty steel with a piece of soap stone. We also made it to actual size. It wasn't intended to be a tight tolerance thing but we had to make sure we had enough material to play with in certain areas.
Chalk sketch of Fork (600x800).jpg
Chalk sketch of Fork (600x800).jpg (257.32 KiB) Viewed 3182 times
Jim and I both took a 9" long piece of 1" square mild steel. Using the gas forge and the tire hammer drawing them out was short work. We started making 2 forks for a couple reasons. First for a back up in case one had a terminal failure but also because playing with the power hammer is just fun.

Next we cut and ground the fork profile taking out some of the bumps and misshapen bits.
Fork handle filed whole fork (600x800).jpg
Fork handle filed whole fork (600x800).jpg (219.07 KiB) Viewed 3182 times
Before we started with the final file finish though as was seen in that photo we did the last bit of hot work and that was setting a half round bead border around the plaque section.
Plaque with rope edge cut in (600x800).jpg
Plaque with rope edge cut in (600x800).jpg (336.85 KiB) Viewed 3181 times
We threw together a quick chasing tool out of a bit of 4140 drop and used a chainsaw file to make the groove in the business end and then MIG welded a piece of round stock to it as a handle. We started with a light pass then went back over it a few more times to deepen it. Despite that the lines weren't as straight as I would have liked but it was the first time either of us had done this so we learned a lot. We drew in where the cuts were to be for the rope border to give us an idea of the spacing. Those cuts would be made at the end with a specially made concave chisel using the same chainsaw file as for the chasing tool. The concave chisel would be put over the chased bead and turned until the points of the chisel hit, then the tool was struck. In theory the angle of each cut should be the same doing this.

To be continued on another post but I don't want this to time out again.

Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: The Holy Roasting Fork of St. Kielbasa

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:38 pm

Part II: The Saint strikes back!

Once the hot work was done we put the fork in the pickle bath to remove the scale and started the filing work. Filing the flats of the handle was pretty easy, mostly draw filing and keeping the ridge centered.
Filing of handle complete (800x600).jpg
Filing of handle complete (800x600).jpg (263.22 KiB) Viewed 3181 times
Then Jim started doing the harder work of the decorative filing on the round shaft from the plaque to the tines.
decoratiive file work layout (600x800).jpg
decoratiive file work layout (600x800).jpg (242.29 KiB) Viewed 3181 times
decorative filing roughed out (800x600).jpg
decorative filing roughed out (800x600).jpg (214.29 KiB) Viewed 3181 times
Unfortunately we didn't have any good close ups of the decorative filing closer to the finish. Maybe you'll be able to see it in the final photo.

While Jim was wrestling the gnu... Sorry, Mutual of Omaha moment there. I mean doing the decorative filing I started in on the repousse work. Oh, did I mention we were planning a bronze repousse of the good Saint himself inlayed into the fork? Yeah, we went there.

Knowing neither of us could draw well we had enlisted the help of artists we knew. The two different artists we explained the project to came up with vastly different drawings. Knowing my limited repousse skills I lobbied for the simpler of the two. Maybe Jim has a photo of the one not chosen he can post. It was very cool in a "Smite the Cheddarwurst uprising infidels" way but out of my ability to pull off in bronze. So this is the one we went with:
St. Kielbasa drawing (451x800).jpg
St. Kielbasa drawing (451x800).jpg (126.75 KiB) Viewed 3181 times
Even with this one my crocodile mouth might have been writing checks my chipmunk butt couldn't cash. It had been years since I did repousse and had actually given my repousse struck tools away this spring to someone who would use them much more than me. I whipped out 6 basic tools and had at it.

But, it is getting late on a school night so I'll pause here and maybe finish this up tomorrow or Thursday.

Jim Ericksen
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:18 pm

Re: The Holy Roasting Fork of St. Kielbasa

Unread post by Jim Ericksen » Sat Nov 08, 2014 4:33 pm

Here's one of the rough sketches that wasn't used
image.jpg (1.62 MiB) Viewed 3138 times

Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: The Holy Roasting Fork of St. Kielbasa

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:12 pm

As Jim was filing I started on the repousse. I used my computer to resize the drawing to roughly 1 3/4" wide by 4" tall. I printed it, taped it to the bronze and then "transferred" the drawing by following the lines with a center punch giving it last taps. Basically making it connect the dots.
The Saint drawing transferred (600x800).jpg
The Saint drawing transferred (600x800).jpg (203.74 KiB) Viewed 3133 times
After that I bulged out the area of the bronze I was going to work. I used a chisel rounded off to about a 1/4 diameter clamped in the leg vise as the raising stake. The stake would be under the drawing and I would strike the bronze outside the line. Basically I just needed to push up enough bronze to work on. Unfortunately I have no photos of that. Then I heated up the pitch, pushed the bronze into it and got to work.
Repousse roughed in messy (600x800).jpg
Repousse roughed in messy (600x800).jpg (308.94 KiB) Viewed 3133 times
This was the first pass. I thought the bronze would be annealed to begin with but it wasn't. Of course I didn't realize this until I had made a really messy first pass. I annealed it with a MAPP gas torch and gave it another pass. It moved much easier after an anneal.
Repousse second pass and annealed (600x800).jpg
Repousse second pass and annealed (600x800).jpg (280.44 KiB) Viewed 3133 times
A few more passes with annealing when it got work hardened and we were getting somewhere.
Repousse mostly done next to drawing (800x600).jpg
Repousse mostly done next to drawing (800x600).jpg (261.75 KiB) Viewed 3133 times
I didn't really manage to get the detail picked out as well as I would have liked and didn't get all the varied depth I would have liked but considering I hadn't done this in 5 years or so I was mostly pleased. Time to cut it down to fit the fork and get ready to try to inlay it.
Repousse before bending edges (800x600).jpg
Repousse before bending edges (800x600).jpg (321.32 KiB) Viewed 3133 times
Next time, the adventure of trying to get the bronze and the fork to stay together.

Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: The Holy Roasting Fork of St. Kielbasa

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:47 pm

Alright, time to wrap this up. Geez, it is taking me longer to post the whole process than it took us to work on it.

The only inlaying I had done before was the wire inlaying from Tom Latane's class so I tried using those techniques. The short explanation is you use three chisels. First cuts straight down leaving a "V" in the metal. Second is a blunt chisel so it flattens out the bottom and raises the burrs on the edge a little. Third is a slim chisel you use to undercut this groove making it into a dovetail shape. It you did it right you should be able to mash the soft wire into the groove, it deforms into the undercut and is locked into place.

I bent the edges of the bronze sheet first, and used an awl to mark it out on the steel. I thought it would be easier to make the grooves match the edges versus trying to bend the edges to match the groove. After marking it out I made the three passes with the different chisels to make the appropriate grooves. I had to file the edges of the bronze down a little bit to get it to fit in the groove just right. After a little more futzing the edges were all lined up with the grooves and I was ready to set the bronze plaque. This is where things started to go pear shaped.

I first started on one long edge. I worked from one end to the other pushing it down into place with a little repouse flatter too. It seemed locked into place pretty well so I went to the other long edge. After a half dozen blows on the second long edge I managed to knock the first edge loose. Curses. I fought this battle for about an hour trying different things to get it to stay. No dice. If it wasn't the evening before the Madness I would have run a test piece or two to figure out what I was doing but I was getting tired and sloppy and needed to get this done. I cleaned up the steel and back side of the bronze, fluxed it and the grooves and put some solder in between the two. I clamped the bronze into place and heated the back of the fork with a rosebud until I was pretty sure the solder melted. Once it cooled down I pulled the clamps off and the bronze was pretty secure in place. I cleaned up the oxidation colors off the steel and off the high spots on the bronze. At that point it was 9PM the night before the Madness and I still needed to pack so I was done.

This it what it looked like when done.
Repousse set in place (600x800).jpg
Repousse set in place (600x800).jpg (270.58 KiB) Viewed 3035 times
Entire Kielbasa fork complete (600x800).jpg
Entire Kielbasa fork complete (600x800).jpg (314.98 KiB) Viewed 3035 times
It was great fun. There are a number of things we did on it that I want to try again but I wasn't completely displeased with how it came out.

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