When a blacksmith fabricates a solid wrought iron ball or cube, several methods may be employed. Round bar is used in forging balls, as opposed to square bar for forming a cube or octagonal shape. In one of the forging techniques that is used, the blacksmith will 'draw' the metal away from the section that is to be the ball or cube. Another is for him or her to attach a collar which is welded at the end of the bar, working the collar into the form desired. Another method is to 'upset' the end of a light bar and work the form into the desired shape. The method chosen by the blacksmith depends on the size of ball wanted. If the ball is to be small, 'upsetting' (defined as the process of making metal wider in one direction, automatically resulting in the shortening of the other); is the method used, but, if the ball is to be large, a collar is welded on or forged from a solid piece. If a blacksmith only wants to fabricate a wrought iron ball, he works the metal into the round shape at the end of a bar, and cuts it off when he is finished. If a ball or cube is to be used at the end of a shovel or poker handle, it is generally forged on the end of a bar that is to be used for the handle, or instead it may be forged with a short prong and then welded to the handle. If round or octagonal head is be used at the end of a fireplace poker or at the top of an andiron, the technique used by the blacksmith is the same, varying only in size.
Round Wrought Iron CollarsWhen a blacksmith welds a round wrought iron collar onto another bar, the collar is formed and cut so that when driven onto the bar there will be an opening between the two ends of the collar. The reason for this is that in welding the collar, it will be stretched when hammering it; leaving enough room for the ends to be lengthened. In the case of a square collar there is not so much danger, as it is hammered on all four sides, giving each side a chance to upset.
Square Wrought Iron CollarsAfter a blacksmith forges a square wrought iron collar, it is welded it may be formed into an octagonal shape by hammering on the corners, and working the cube into a number of flat parts to give it interest. The design may be further enhanced by making depressions into the sides, while the metal is hot, with a chisel having a short bevel and that is rounded across the face. A large 'head' may be used as a top for a pair of wrought iron andirons, where as a small one may be used as the handle of a fireplace shovel or poker. The blacksmith may also embellish these wrought iron shapes by introducing a twist into the design of the 'shaft' of the andiron or fireplace tool.