Hand forging a new hacksaw frame

By Daniel Ravizza

Having only a 50 lb weight limit on my suitcase, it was a major dilemma for me to decide what to bring on my flight from the USA to West Dean. Should I bring clothes or tools? It's a difficult choice to make.

In the end I decided it would be best to leave my heavier tools at home. So, my lathe and anvil had to stay. Sadly I had to leave my favorite hacksaw frame at home as well. I built the hacksaw frame in question several years ago. It is one of my most used tools for metalworking. Shown below is a photo of it.

A few weeks ago the entire metalwork department spent several days in the forge. This was great fun as it's a wonderful, well equipped shop. The photo below shows the forge and anvil I used. This particular anvil was very nice to work on. After using it I had no regret leaving my anvil at home. Plus it would not have been fun to drag it through Heathrow airport and London Underground.

I looked around and found a few scraps of steel with which to forge a new hacksaw frame. It's made from two pieces of steel. The longer section was forged and bent to shape. The handle portion was also forged and bent to shape. The tricky part was forging a sharp 90-degree bend. These take some care to forge without cracking.

After these two components were forged I riveted them together and then forge brazed them together with copper wire. The forge brazing process is simple: wrap copper wire around the joint, add flux, then slowly heat the part until the copper flows into the joint. The photo below shows the rough saw frame. Residual copper from brazing can be seen where the two pieces join.

The wing nut in particular was fun to forge.

For the handle, I had to recruit some outside help. Yuqi Chock, from the furniture department, kindly agreed to turn a wooden handle out of oak.

That's all for now: later I'll let you know how the rest of it went.