Hand-forged Tools from Blacksmith Peter Ross

Blacksmith-made Dividers, by Peter Ross

 In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs

After a week of work (and a lot of fun) assisting Christopher Schwarz with his “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” class at Roy Underhill’s The Woodwright’s School, it was nice to slow down and spend some time with blacksmith/whitesmith Peter Ross before I made the 8.5-hour drive back to Cincinnati. Roy and Jane Underhill kindly offered me a room on the top floor of their lovely 1890s mill house for the week, and it was but a short drive down country lanes from there to get to Peter’s home and smithy (though of course I got lost, so it took me longer than it should have).

Peter and I talked about his thoughts on hand-tool work, period woodworking and smithing, his involvement in the upcoming edition on the Benjamin Seaton tool chest and more; you can read more about all of that (and see pictures of his work and one of his gorgeous drawings from the new Seaton book) in the November 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Peter and I also spent a lot of time in his toasty smithy (with an incredible end-grain tiled floor), where he showed me how he hand forges and finishes a pair of dividers. You can see for yourself, below.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. We filmed a lot (too much, perhaps) of Chris’s week-long tool chest class. You’ll find all the videos posted thus far here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4.

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Showing 11 comments
  • woodrouterman

    Interested if he selling these as well. Looking forward to the Ben Seaton book.

  • skewedII

    Hi Megan,

    I’m with Chris; I hope you bought a pair of dividers. Mine just arrived today and I can’t wait to put them to dividing things. 🙂

  • David Cockey

    It wss announced at the Williamsburg Woodworking Symposium, due out in March, and I understand it will be about twice the length of the first edition with several new chapters.

  • Christopher Schwarz
    Christopher Schwarz

    Two things:

    I hope you had the good sense to buy one of those dividers from Peter.

    And it takes you 8-1/2 hours to drive to Pittsboro? Did you go via Cleveland?

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      It took longer because I had someone’s heavy tool chest in the back of my car.

  • rheilke

    Nice! I like the design (one blade inside the other) rather than the more typical side-by-each join. Does he sell these (I’m assuming he does), and if so, how do we get them?

    PS I still like the red hair, even if it is Red #27 now, you crazy Irishwoman. 😉

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      He does — you can send inquiries to peter@peterrossblacksmith.com
      (and thanks)

      • rheilke

        Thanks for the quick response last night! I realized this was the same blacksmith that made the holdfasts Chris blogged about and I’ve been meaning to get, so I’m ordering both. 🙂 Lust waiting to hear back from him.

  • John Jesseph

    Can you shed a little more light on the Benjamin Seaton book you referred to? Thanks!

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      John, it will be a revised version of “The Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton” (edited by Jane Rees and Mark Rees) that was published in 1994 by the Tools and Trades History Society. Peter is one member of the team that has been working on the new edition, which he expects will be published soon. I’ve no doubt one of us will be writing about it as soon as we know more.

      • John Cashman

        You may see the announcement for the Seaton book on the TATHS website. It will be available in the US through Astragal Press.

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