HAND-FORGED SHACKLES
PHOTO BY RITA HALPORN
Now you too can make your very own Dog Boy Shackles. Perfect for restraining trespassing teenagers, high-maintenance girlfriends, or annoying neighbours. These are the same shackles seen in DOG BOY... coming to a theatre near you this June.

hand made shackles Here is one of two shackles anyone can make with a coal forge, anvil and some basic blacksmithing tools (hammer, tongs, punch, chisel, and file). Attached to the shackle is the first link in what will eventually be a chain leading to the other shackle. The material is mild steel - a 20th-century version of wrought iron. This metal is not as durable but is still very strong and much cheaper to produce than wrought iron.

Step one is to pick a flat bar from your scrape heap. This one looks to be 1.5" wide and one eigth of an inch thick. Grap a long peice so you can hold with your hand. We'll chop it down later. For the links in your chain you'll need about 15' of quarter-inch round stock.
forging steel Make two cuts at one end of the flat bar. You may use a hack saw or chisel, depending if you work it hot or cold. These two slits are 1" long. To remove the centre piece you must use a chisel. And to use a chisel your metal must be hot. The flash from the camera doesn't show it but that metal is H-O-T, hot! Notice the work gloves. The idea is to get the metal so hot it becomes soft. Then you can chisel away, remove the cut and get our "U" shape. The metal will remain hot for about four or five calculated wacks. After that, don't be surprised if your gloves catch on fire. Once the cut is removed your bar should look like this « mouse here ». Use this end as a pattern and cut the opposite sides away. For this end you could use a hack saw the entire job. Or a chisel on a hot, soft peice. Like most things in blacksmithing, there are several ways to get there, the choice is yours. When you're done the two ends should come together like this « mouse here »
hand forged shackles Here's a shot minus the flash so you can see the glow of the metal. You should forge metal when it glows orange. In this picture the metal has cooled down to a dull red. But not before the ends were curled by hammering towards the piece while bracing the other end of the bar against a leg.

Here's what the curl should look like when complete « mouse here » When your three curls are made match them up and see if they fit like this « mouse here ». If not, get your file and work down the edges until the sides fit together nicely.
blacksmith anvil Now we have to put the curve in the shackle to fit your victim's wrist or ankle. For this we use the horn of the anvil to shape the hot metal. Heat up your piece in the forge until it glows bright orange. Then bring it to the anvil and gently hammer the soft metal around the horn until you have a shape you like.

You can see from the picture at right the shackle length has been cut and is being held with a set of tongs. Once your shackle is curved the last step is to punch a hole in the end to link to your chain. Look at this picture « mouse here » to see what I'm talking about. You can use a drill or you can heat up the metal and punch a hole in it using a punch over the hardy hole of the anvil.