troutsmithery

Day 13

My day was a disrupted when my mentor, Peter Balkwill, left me in the lurch. Apparently his wife went into labour or something. Priorities. (Congratulations, Peter and Nan! So far the workshop pool has put the odds on “girl.”)

Left to my own devices, I spent the morning making hands – the process for which we are all quite familiar with, so I’ll skip the details.

In the afternoon, however, I got to try something NEW. Pityu suggested making another toy and since I’ve been wanting to work with metal, I chose to build a tin boat.

Confession: I have always wanted to be a blacksmith. Even as a kid I thought that bringing fine skill and brute strength to bear on working with fire and metal was just about the coolest thing you could do (I know. What a weird child.) Now I would finally get to perform this wondrous alchemy like Goibniu himself!

The Smith-God Goibniu looking badass

OK. I was not about to forge a tin boat out of a freshly smelted lump of ore. It was more like arts and crafts with really bad paper cuts. Here’s how it went:

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Draw it. This is the part where I stare at a blank page blankly thinking to myself “what the hell does a boat look like? What’s the shape? Have I ever actually seen a boat?”

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Build a version out of cardboard. Probably people who know what they’re doing don’t need this step. I just wanted to try it out first on something easier (and cheaper!) than tin. Note the vague resemblance to the drawings on the left.

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Viciously tear apart the mock-up and use its dismembered pieces to create a pattern.

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Use the pattern. Trace it and cut out the tin with heavy-duty scissors (I told you it was like arts and crafts).

At this point I got busy building and forgot to take pictures. It pretty much went: fold the edges to eliminate cutting hazards, drill holes for rivets and portholes, fold along lines and bend into shape, rivet/fold together.

Pretty straightforward, isn’t it?

It took me all afternoon. I did get to use a hammer and anvil, though, to shape the body and give the metal some texture. So I got to feel like a smithy god for about 5 minutes, at which point my forearms started to ache. So much for badass.

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But look! At the end there’s a vaguely boat-like object. It’s kind of blindingly shiny, though, so I think it’s going to need a coat of paint. Tomorrow.

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