Featured image of post Forging a Chest Handle

Forging a Chest Handle

As my work on the Mästermyr-like chest is slowly coming to completion, I noticed that due to thicker planks, the chest is getting too heavy to carry comfortably without handles. Although, the original chest did not have any handles, I decided to forge handles anyway. None of the books in my library had good illustrations of Viking-age handles but the simple design above is going to fit with the hardware I have forged so far.

This handle was forged from a 7in long piece of 3/4in round steel. I isolated a 1in piece in the middle by fullering with a spring fuller at 3in and 4in from the end. After the middle piece was isolated, I tapered both sides to 1/4in so that each end was about 6in in length. The transitions were square, octagon and then round as usual. Each end was bend at 3in over the horn of the anvil.

The loops were forged from 1/4in thick and 1in wide rectangular steel. I used a butcher to get a tenon that could be forged down to 1/4in round and then drilled a 1/2in hole for the eye where the handle is going to fit through.

To make the handle stop rotating at 90 degrees, i.e. to avoid squeezing the hands, I put each end of the handle in the vise and used a set hammer to bend a stop that is going to engage with the plate, see the picture. The base plate is 1/8in thick and the loops where riveted to it with the handle in place. The whole process took about 5 hours.

Surprisingly, aside from a couple blacksmithing books, I could not find any article on the web that shows how to forge a chest handle.

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