If you intend to make tools like axes, hammers, and adzes at the forge, learning to split and drift your metal is an essential skill. In this video, David Robertson details the tools and process of creating a proper split which can be used as the basis for creating the eye of many types of handled tools. Additionally, this skill can be employed to create decorative openings for a variety of other uses from forks to decorative gate features. The process is relatively straight forward involving starting the eye with a slitting chisel and gradually working through the piece under repeated heats until finally a drift is employed to form the final eye.
Aside from the usual forge, anvil, and hammer; you will also need to have some additional tools like slitting chisel, drifts, and holdfasts. Of course, if you’re a smith, you’ll want to make these too, and Mr. Robertson makes some good suggestions for material and their care.
Our thanks to David Robertson for sharing his video. If you have additional interest in his work, his website is: www.artistblacksmith.com