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Excerpt from
Issue #171 April 2005


Stamping material on the edge of a piece of stock pinches and draws out a portion of it laterally. This tool allows the user to register the stock against a set of pins for consistent results. The depth of the “pinch” can be adjusted by loosening two bolts and sliding the tool to and fro on a fixed base. Adjustments for stock thickness can be made by placing shims under the hinge plate. A hardy stem welded to the base allows use on a treadle hammer (shown here) or on an anvil. Some of the “Snow Crystals” in this issue were made using this tool.

The examples in this feature are not necessarily exact representations of snow crystals, but interpretations based on the the endless patterns found within them. They all start as hexagons (as do all snow crystals), and by grinding, forging and grooving become decorative elements on their own, or used as rosettes on a variety of work. The three examples here were made using only a pinch tool and chisels.

To blacksmiths, the phrase “on the diamond” means to turn square stock 45° thus revealing two facets instead of just one. When stock is forged on the diamond it is commonly bent or split on the edges rather than on the flats. This feature illustrates some techniques and applications for working on the diamond.