Design Diaries – Cthulu Hat Rack

It’s been too long since I had a video to post, but this week, I finally filmed my hitting of things again.

This is my first attempt at combining blacksmithing techniques into my work. This may seem confusing as most of my previous videos included hitting steel with a hammer, but allow me to clarify.

Blacksmithing really does involve a burly man swinging a hammer at glowing hot metal on an anvil. There are other components of the trade, but that’s pretty core. Armorsmithing, what I typically do, is more closely related to copper or silversmithing. The techniques used for shaping sheet metal are very different from those used on thicker materials. The biggest difference, is the application of heat.

For a big block of steel, you need to have it at temperatures in excess of 900°C (1600°F for you imperialists) if you are going to get much shaping done at all, and at anything less than 500°C, your work will more likely crack than anything else if you hit it with forging force. With sheet metal, you typically work it at room temperature. This is mostly because the metal is too thin to hold any heat. By the time you pull it out of your forge and put it on your work surface (which is often flammable) it will have cooled past the forging range. You really just use heat to anneal the material.

Below is a video of the process. I want to thank Jim Tigwell for doing the cover of “Hey There Cthulu” for my backing track.


Ryan is a professional nerd, teaching engineering in the frozen north. Somewhat less professionally, he is a costumer, author, blacksmith, juggler, gamer, serial enthusiast, and supporter of the Oxford comma. He can be found on twitter and instagram @studentofwhim. If you like what I do here, feel free to leave a tip in my tipjar.

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