Once again, Baltmore surprises me with its sense of awkward self-awareness, and, without waxing too fond, its charming smallness. Chris and I met up last night with Eric, one of Chris' former work-buddies (employee is too formal a word to describe their relationship), and we went to catch a beer at Max's On Broadway, a once-revered music venue on Fell's Point, but now just a bar that vaunts over eighty beers on tap (I had Resurrection Alse once again, as well as very, mysterious, very dark Belgian Ale. Both were good). As we walked towards Max's along the refurbished colonial buildings of Fell's Point, Eric described the small-town feel of Baltimore, how if you walk around long enough, you'll see people you know. Sure enough, the second we stepped in to the bar, Eric ran in to a girl he's known since elementary school. I know, I know: this coincidence doesn't suggest alignment in the celestial bodies or anything, but it was cool to witness. I also found out that night that Samuel Yellin, one of America's most famous iron-workers from the last century, did a lot of work in Baltimore. I also found out that Chris has some Samuel Yellin original drawings at his house. How cool.
Yesterday at work I spent a good chunk of time form fitting sconce arms to the alabaster bowls. The bowls will be "carried" by these arms, and since they will be seen from the front and side, the connection between the arms and the bowl must be absolutely seamless. Forged metal doesn't necessarily set you up for seamless, incremental work like this, but with the aid of the Hossfeld Bender—a leverage tool with a bending arm, not an Astro-Physics term like it sounds—I was able to form-fit the arms quite well to the bowls.
I also spent a while working with the 88, forging the bottom of the sconce racks. These little guys are pretty difficult to forge, and require a good eye, steady hammer pulse, and super-solid alignment of the metal. Another thing: in order to better see the true-ness of the hammer die, I have to be super diligent with scraping scale off of the metal the second I take it out of the forge. I'm making this a habit.
My favorite Baltimore Coffee shop. Its sufficiently socially-conscious name is Common Ground. They have good coffee regardless.
The Hossfeld bender. I love, love, love this thing. Dan and I have one, so I was fairly familiar with its use before coming to Baltimore.
The alabaster bowl sconces, and the metal arms that correspond to them.
Notice how seamless the joining of the bowl and metal must be. It's harder than it might seem to accomplish this.