INSIDE: Take a look at what is a blacksmith hot cut hardy and how to use this blacksmiths tool. Also compare a Brian Brazeal hot cut hardy from a traditional blacksmith hot cut hardy.
What is a blacksmith hot cut? Which answer are you looking for? Are we talking about the hot cut hardy tool, or the process of cutting the metal while it is hot. Here I will describe both the tool and the process. I remember the first time I saw someone use a hot cut, it seemed like magic. I had never really thought about how would I cut a piece of metal if it was hot. This process practically blew my mind with its simplicity and practicality. The idea of using the property of heated steel and forcing that steel over a wedge/blade, had never occurred to me. Obviously, as I later found out, I had very little knowledge of many metal working processes. So here I am continuing to learn.
The hot cut hardy is the first tool that I made once I had made my purchase for an anvil. The hot cut hardy in its simplest description is a wedge that sits on top of a square stem. The square stem is sized so that it will fit snug in the hardy hole, to prevent the blade/wedge from moving. There are a couple of different designs that I have seen, although I have only had experience with one type. This type has a rounded blade on top. It is some times referred to a the the Brian Brazeal style hot cut. I think there are two main benefits to this style. One being that the stem has a slight taper to it so that it can obtain a snug fit in multiple anvils. I found this helpful especially when I started teaching and we had multiple anvils in the shop. The second being that the curved blade reduces even further the surface area of contact which helps magnify the force being applied. The other design that I have seen in some books or in videos online, I think is a more traditional design. It still has the stem to fit into the hardy hole, but the wedge on top has more of an A-frame shape. A good book to read showing how to make this style is The Backyard Blacksmith by Loreli Sims, if you haven’t got a copy yet you can purchase it here.
When using the hot cut, the phrase, cut to the center is still ringing in my ears. Score the metal all the way around in a nice neat line, reheat if needed. Then in the words of Gary Huston, “Give it some beans” This of course should be done evenly as you continue to rotate it around. Once it is weakened to the center, grab the piece with a pair of tongs if needed and bend it off.
I hope you enjoyed a look at this blacksmith hot cut hardy and forging process. Check out my other article “Essential Blacksmith Tools for Beginners”.