As a late bloomer as a metalsmith, I’m always searching for classes to attend that will allow me to become better at my chosen craft.
This summer I was very fortunate to attend a hammer making class put on by Gary Hill at his home on Raspberry Island near McGregor Minnesota.
Our instructor was Tom Latane. http://www.latanepepin.com/
Being new to this blacksmithing world, I didn’t know that I had just hit the lottery and was going to a class taught by a Rock-Star in the blacksmith community.
I arrived the night before the class with my friend Douglas Swenson. Doug is a very accomplished smith with 50 years experience. Doug and I discussed what type of hammer we were going to make in the class. Since the hammer class was about forging a wrought iron hammer, Doug and I decided to make a Mastermyr hammer.
I patterned my wrought iron hammer after one of the hammers found in the Mastermyr Tool Chest found in Gotland Sweden. The chest contained the tools of a Viking craftsman from approximately 1100 years ago.
Tom Latane’s hammer making class was incredible. I was overwhelmed and humbled by what I didn’t know and surprised of what I was capable of accomplishing using the same techniques and processes of Viking age smiths. It took me three attempts to get the 1075 steel forge welded onto both striking faces of the hammer.
Before heat treating the hammer, you can clearly see the difference between the wrought iron and the darker 1075 steel that has been forge welded together.