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Demonstration by Bill Epps.
October 7, 1999

Bill-Epps :

This snake was shown to me at the AFA (American Farrier Association Conference) in Fresno California in 1979 by Bruce Daniels and Rusty May. This is make from an old farriers rasp and I call it the a "Genuine Blabbler Mouth Rattle Mocassin" I have make at least 100 of them since, now it is time for me to pass it on.

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We start with a used worn out farrier's rasp and fold the tang under and make 3 folds in the tang which brings it back flush with the end.

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After we fold the tang in this gives you the metal for the mass for the head. Most people would think that you would use the tang for the tail but you don't. I'll explain later. With a rounding hammer and on the horn of the anvil, I start necking down behind what will the head. the

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When you do your necking down, keep the same thickness as you bring it down (carry your dimension with you). Now here we are starting to nurse our thin down the sections for the head.

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Now we go to the other end and start tappering it down and drawing it out, carrying your dimension with you After I get the tail section drawn out, I go back and thin down the neck some more. It should end up about 1/2" wide

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After you get it all drawn out and the same thickness all the way down we are going to roll up the head section and I forge weld it together to make it one solid mass which makes it easier to shape.

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I flux it and bring it up to a welding heat and forge it into one solid mass. When forge welding high carbon steel, the temperature is a lot more critical. Will go more into detail later.

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Now we shape the head. After welding in a solid mass, I use my rounding hammer to put some divots down and spread the jaws to give the shape of a vipers head.

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I use an eye punch for the eyes and a center punch for the nostrils, (my snakes have nostrils)

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Before punching the nostrils, I hammer the corners of the nose at a 45degree angle to give them a little more flare, and use a hot cutter to cut the mouth. At this point if you want to insert a tonge, use a pritchel punch in the center of the mouth and a horseshoe nail cut off and split in 1/2 works real good too.

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Using a cross pien hammer and the step in the anvil, I start rolling the snake's body.start in the center at the widest point ang go all the say down. (This is real handy to have a striker). Also as you are folling it it will tend to curve, keep it flat.

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After you get it rolled, close it up along the bottom until it has a tight seam. If it twists, just put it in a vice and untwist and keep the seam straight

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After we get it rolled with a good tight seam, then we start giving it the shape of a snake. They can be curled up, weavie like they are crawling on the ground, that is a personal option.

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Now we come to the tail and I hammer it square about an inch back from the end.

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After I get it hamered square, I stick it in the vice and twist it.

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After I twist the tail, I hammer it back flat, this gives the impression of rattlers and turn the twisted portion up 90 degrees.

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This is an "East Texas Blabber Mouth Rattlin Mocassin":)

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Try it just for the fun of it.

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Jim :

Rough part of the rasp to the outside??

Jock-D :

Bill you mentioned talking about forge welding the high carbon tool steel.

Bill-Epps :

When working with High Carbon Steel, if you get it too hotit will fall apart like a piece of old cheese. If you don't have it hot enough, it will crack and break. When welding high carbon steel, you will not see sparkling like you would with mild steel. If you get to that point it is too late. You have to pay close attention to your colors.

Paw-Paw :

Bill, how about Alternative materials? I'm not a farrier, don't know but one. Hard to get worn out farriers rasps, although I watch for them at the flea markets, yard sales and such..

Bill-Epps :

Yes Jim. That makes the scales,

Tim-S :

approx. how long does it usually take you to make one ?

Bill-Epps :

Paw, any farrier always has a pile of worn out rasps. Old wood rasp works well too. Tim, about 30 minutes.

Bill-Epps :

Travis, I don't. I have had lots of practice, first one takes about an our and half.

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