Snakes


Picture DuckMaceFRT.
Sometime in the early 1980s there was a blacksmithing class at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, West Virginia.  Jack Brubaker was the teacher and among other projects he had the students complete was a staff of office. There is a lake at Ripley with lots of ducks and the director of the craft program liked to feed them , so I decided to make the “Mace of the Keeper of the Ducks “.
Picture DuckMaceDragF:
The dragon on one end of the Mace has a long tongue’
Picture Dragon1982SD
1982 I was setting up at flea markets and craft shows and needed something to attract attention at the table so I forged this little dragon.  It was about a foot long.
Picture SnakeBurl1
Years go by and I moved to Shepherdstown, West Virginia.  One of the things that people would occasionally ask me to make was a garden snake.  This was a throwback to the old scarecrow snakes that were made to scare birds out of people's gardens. A customer of mine saw one of those snakes in a friend's garden and wanted one as a sculpture. They had a nice wood burl to use as a stand.
Picture HairyDragon2
The wood burl snake led to a whole series.  I have a friend who once made fun of a bad haircut that I had.  They wanted a dragon so I made a dragon with bad haircut.
Picture SnakePretzlX2
This little snake was made to fit on a desktop, something to guard your papers.
Picture SnakeBrsstrpA
So people kept asking me to make these snakes. I really don't like making the same thing over again.  The problem was how to make snakes that were not like all the other snakes.  The idea I hit on us to make flexible snakes that people could wrap around things or position as they like.  This snake is made from coiled brass strip and is very flexible.
Picture SnakeWX4
The wavy washer snake is made from a stack of washers that I forged into shapes threaded onto a steel cable.  The head and tail are forge welded on to the cable and as the picture shows you can bend him as you like.
 Picture Snakebaby3
Now not all of the snakes had to be flexible to be different.  I forged this tiny snake out of copper and his eggshell is made from two reshaped copper end caps.
Picture SnakeBraid2
This tiny steel snake is made by twisted wire forge welded together.
Picture SnakeL2
Exploring the flexible idea I tried forging lead.  This was done at room temperature but using the same techniques and tools I would've used forging steel hot.  It is flexible but it takes a good deal of effort.
Picture SnakeCablX3
Steel cable was another idea I tried to make flexible snakes.  Most cable is hard tempered wire and not going to keep a shape, so this cable is annealed to allow it to be shaped.
Picture SnakeC&IronX3
I wanted to try some color.  This snake is made from soft iron wire and twisted soft copper wire. It is much more flexible than the steel cable.
Picture Snake2007X3
I kept looking for more flexible metal material.  I came across some electronic gasket, a woven tinned copper mesh.  This is wonderfully flexible.

Picture Snake2008
Not all of the snakes were flexible; I kept trying for texture in the body so this snake is different twisted iron wire forge welded together.

Picture Snake2009
This is another forge welded snake but made using heavier rods in place of wire.
Picture Magisnake1, Magisnake4
And of course there are people who just wanted traditional snakes.  This one was made for the lady who ran the local hardware store.
Picture snake2010b
I had a project that needed a number of short brass tubes.  Brass cartridge cases were the right size so I cut off the necks and heads of the cases and had these leftover.  I almost never throw anything away and after looking at these little bits of brass for months I had the idea to thread them on some heavy copper wire.
Picture Oroberous2011
Oroberous, the myth of the worldwide snake that eats his own tail or the hoop snake that escapes by biting his tail and rolling away.
Picture FrogBrktz
They aren't all snakes this leaping frog is forge from steel and helps hold up an aquarium.
Picture Snakerail
Sooner or later somebody needed to have a snake handrail for their garden steps.