Makevember 3rd Chain hold down tool

Today I made a chain hold down tool.

Chain Hold Down tool

This chain hold down tool is a piece of chain attached to one side of the anvil base. The other end of the chain has a stirrup, used to tension the chain and hold things down on the anvil. Again, the idea from this came from Nicholas Wick’s book.

This is necessary when you want to use a tool such as a punch. You hold the punch in one hand, the hammer in the other hand. Often you’ll put the end of the bit of steel between your legs, or hold the item to be punched in a pair of tongs and use your legs to hold them together.

This often doesn’t go well. I’m very keen for things involving hot steel to go well at all times. So now I can place an item under the chain and use pressure on the stirrup to hold things down.

The first step was to forge a hook – thick enough to be sturdy, but thin enough to fit neatly through the links of the motorcycle chain. It’s a fine line to walk and I think my hook might be a bit on the weedy side. The holes were punched, not drilled. And it was screwed onto the side of my anvil base.

The hook with the chain through it.

The next step was to construct the stirrup. This was bent cold from round mild steel bar (same stuff as I made the hook from). I bent it by eye, there was no specific design intent.

Bending the stirrup

This was then welded onto one end of the chain.

Big blob of weld.

It dangled rather too close to the anvil base and was difficult to use, so I bent the stirrup at a jaunty angle which makes it easy to provide toe pressure. It’s very effective at holding things down on the anvil. It will come in useful. I’m planning on making a few hooks this month, I’ll need this in order to punch holes.

Stirrup set at jaunty angle.

So, what did I learn from this…

Well, again it felt a bit strange to pop straight into the Barn and light the forge almost as soon as I’d got home from work. This is only a quickie project, but I’d had the bits for a week or two and hadn’t bothered to do it. It shows me that I ought to JFDI a bit more.

I’m also getting measurably better at forging things down to a size and making them smooth and fairly neat. It’s coming along but still needs a bit of work. I also need to raise the anvil a couple of inches and round off the edges of my hammer a little more.

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