"From the school, we went to Kami Nasa as Kumansing was making an 'ashee' for Gerry. I checked the Blacksmith houses. There are two new ones - Chandrabahadur's and Badrasing's. Cleared up a few niggling inconsistencies, then went to watch the 'ashee' making, which was well advanced. Gerry impressed by the quality of the workmanship with such crude tools, and the knowledge of the correct treatment of metals. Kumansing took more trouble with the handle than he would do for ordinary villagers, of course. It cost more too, but then, that was to be expected." (Diary)

Video Sequences:

Blacksmith hammering, Sherbahadur in the background preparing the handle

Blacksmith hammering

Puts metal in charcoal fire, sparks and glow

Blacksmith pumping skin-bag bellows, turns metal in fire

Blacksmith adds charcoal to fire

Blacksmith takes red-hot metal from fire, hammers it into shape

Blacksmith hammering, Sherbahadur whittling handle

Sherbahadur making handle

Charcoal glowing

Lifting red-hot metal from fire, hammering it into shape

Hammering on anvil, to blacksmith

Blacksmith using a chisel and hammer to break metal strip

Forming a metal ring for the handle

Blacksmith making a smaller ring

Adds charcoal to fire

Using tongs to turn ring in fire

Using tongs to lift red-hot ring out of fire

Shaping the ring by hammering it round part of the tongs

Shaping ring

Cutting wood for handle

Shaping handle for metal ring

Putting metal ring on handle

Blacksmith fitting second metal ring to handle

Heating end of blade in fire

Pushing hot end of blade into handle, lots of smoke, more hammering, pushes end of blade into the earth

Pours water onto blade to cool it, then pushes it into handle

Blacksmith making sharp edge of sickle with a file

Heating blade in fire

Pouring water onto blade to temper it

Blacksmith smoothing back of sickle with a file

Thak, 21st April 1992