Been quite a day in the forge today. I finished up the anvils stands for my students, finished the handles and polished two knives I had for a custom order, and worked on a fabulous order of 19 bar tap handles made from railroad spikes. An Irish pub in Quebec ordered them for their bar.
I’ve made these for years and don’t normally cause me a problem. They wanted them personalized, which I happily do, each with 9 letters, I twisted each one, and drilled an inch into the ends of each one. Then the trouble began.
I tap threads into those holes so that the handle screws onto the bar tap. I hand thread them with an Irwin brand tap. Normally, Irwin taps are good quality and work well, not this time. I have one old one that has dulled over time, so I bought 3 new ones today. I figured that these would keep me going for quite a while. NOPE
I proceeded to break all 3 of them! (Insert prolific Marine swearing) Once they break, buried in the hole of course, you can’t drill them back out because of the hardness of the steel in the tap. So, those three handles that I made with 9 letters stamped in each were junk. For the remaining ones I went back to the old thread tap and fought through. I gave up for the evening knowing that I have to remake three of these. It’s the nature of metal work, some times things just break. I hope that Irwin hasn’t changed the way they make taps and this was only a fluke.
The knives came out great though, so at least it wasn’t a totally crappy day.
First Blacksmithing class is fast approaching! December 9 will be the first, remember, if you are ever near Wilmington North Carolina and would be interested in a 4 hour basic class, let us know!
All the best,