Getting a handle on things (part 1)

Getting a handle on things (part 1)

I’ve been keen to make this one of my first casting projects and decided to allow my imagination a little creative freedom to boot.

The featured image above is an Aarrow wood burning stove tool. It’s used for opening a hot fire door and pulling out the ashtray. It broke a few years ago when I was banging some mud from a log I was about to burn. I was quite dismayed how easily it fell apart. Nevertheless, I saw this as a great opportunity to flex my new-found bronze casting muscles.

My first idea was to simply cast an exact copy by using the two halves of the broken tool as a pattern. But my brain very quickly seized upon the idea of fashioning a brand new handle design from scratch. After a little consideration, I settled for a rope handle effect and started to formulate a plan as to how I might achieve this. The following photos illustrate the steps I took …

After filing the broken end flat on the head of the tool, I began by drilling a hole into the end to take a dowel.

String was then wound onto the dowel to create a contour for the handle.

The string was layered up and I wound each consecutive layer shorter than the previous one to create the contour.

Finally, I wound a single layer of hemp rope over the top of the string to give the final result.

The string and the rope were both held in place with hot glue.

The completed rope handle on the tool head alongside the old broken handle.

To finish the ends of the rope, I wrapped a little more string around the bottom end. For the ferrule, I used a cut down 22mm copper pipe coupler which conveniently fitted tightly over the rope end. To finish off, I filled all the little gaps with gripfill.

I am quite happy with the finished result but thinking ahead, can already visualise some challenges in the casting. Stay tuned for the next installment where we’ll see exactly how well this pans out.

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