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Swage block

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Title: Swage block  
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Subject: Silversmith, Aluminium alloy inclusions, Tinsmith, Metalworking cutting tools, Metalworking hand tools
Collection: Metalworking Tools
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Swage block

Top view of a swage block showing various sized holes and sections
Right side view of the above swage block

A swage block is a large, heavy block of cast iron or steel used in smithing, with variously-sized holes in its face and usually with forms on the sides.

The through-holes are of various shapes and sizes and are used to hold, support or back up a hot bar of metal for further shaping. Operations performed on a swage block include but are not limited to bending, cutting, punching and forming. The sides are scalloped to present formed shapes for wheel, which could be used to finish a wheel rim, using a suitable hammer. Other shapes, such as the half hexagon, can be used with a matching top swage to form a hexagonal cross-section on a bar. The various shapes around the edge of the swage block all have corresponding shapes in the form of top swages to shape iron bar into various sections.

The image shows a 15-inch, square swage block with various semi-circular, hexagonal, and square shapes around its perimeter along with a selection of through-holes.

There are two general types of swage block: Industrial, as described above, & Artistic. Artist Blacksmiths sometimes require a tool that will allow metal to be formed in ways that an anvil or traditional industrial swage block will not allow, a special Artists' block is then often used. As with industrial swage blocks, artistic blocks come in many shapes and sizes; common features are hemispherical and ovoid depressions, asymmetrical curves and non-standard angled planes (i.e. not 45 or 90 degrees). In addition, individual blocks may contain unique features of specific use or relevance to a particular smith or branch of the blacksmithing craft.

The example pictured below is a block ten inches square by four inches deep and allows a smith to form metal to various angles and shapes, most notably as spoons, ladles and funnels.

External links

  • http://www.swageblocks.com/what_is_swage_block.htm


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