- Level of Instruction
- This is not a beginning forging class, but a woodworker, competent with hand tools, should be able to handle the work. More experienced students can challenge themselves by increasing the decorative detail. For the woodworking portion of the class, experience with hand tools is a benefit, but a novice should be able to accomplish all the tasks required.
The inspiration for the class project will be a small chest in the Vesterheim collection. You will spend two days in the blacksmith studio and two days in the woodshop, with the fifth day devoted to assembly and installation of the hardware. Evening studio time with the instructors is available and those wishing to accomplish as much of the project as possible are encouraged to take advantage of evenings to work. In the forging studio, you will forge a pair of hinges, a single handle, and swivels for the lid, straps, and reinforcing pieces and a hasp (rather than a lock) for the front. Decorative cutting of the straps will be done with chisels and files. In the woodworking studio, you will focus on several hand-tool woodworking skills in the construction, including measuring, sawing, planing, and fitting joinery. The main case of the chest will be constructed with hand-cut dovetail joints. The arched lid will use a coopering technique and a clamping jig based on one found in an eighteenth-century treatise in woodwork. Derek will have the jigs for the class, but will supply plans and instructions to create your own. There is a materials fee of $75-$100, payable to the instructors.
Registration for this class has closed.
About the Instructors
Tom Latané started forging reproduction colonial and early American ironwork in Maryland in the early 1970s. After moving to the Midwest in 1981, he was introduced to the creative whimsy of Norwegian folk iron. Tom and his wife, Catherine, have a shop in Pepin, Wisconsin, where Tom repairs antiques and creates original pieces using a traditional design vocabulary and historic hand techniques. Tom has demonstrated for blacksmith groups and has taught at folk schools around the country. Some of Tom’s ironwork can be seen in Vesterheim’s Westby-Torgerson Education Center.
Learn more: Check out two beautiful and informative photo essays by Tom: Ring Handle and Making Repairs to Trunk Hardware. Each photo includes full instructions to complete the project.
Or watch these videos:
Collections Connection: Blacksmithing Trunk Locks, where Tom and Vesterheim Collections Manager Jennifer Kovarik highlight the museum's collection of forged chest locks and the different mechanisms locksmiths employed to secure belongings.
Collections Connection: Entry Door Lock, where Tom looks at a specific door lock in the Vesterheim collection.
Derek Olson runs the Oldwolf Workshop Studio in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He is first a husband and father and makes his living as a healthcare professional, but deep down he is obsessed with historical woodworking, tools, and furniture. He has a condition known as ABAD (Acute Book Acquisition Disorder) and supports that habit through freelance illustration, photography, writing, and the occasional furniture commission. Other distractions include medieval reenactment, experimental archeology, replica prop and model making, tabletop gaming, hiking, and comic books. He is currently working on both a book on medieval furniture and writing and illustrating a comic book. He has published articles in Popular Woodworking Magazine and Mortise & Tenon Magazine and has maintained a blog following his creative adventures at www.blog.oldwolfworkshop.com for the last decade. He tracks the day-to-day in his shop on Instagram @oldwolf_workshop.