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The Greenwood Blocks

Set of three Greenwood blocks top side photo by Jock Dempsey Small flat, Large with spoons and long rectangular
Set of three Greenwood blocks top side photo by Jock Dempsey

These are three swage block patterns made by Josh Greenwood of Petersburg, VA and cast at local foundries. Josh made these patterns about 1975 or '76. The two smaller blocks on the ends have been cast numerous times. The middle block only once. It was sold to Roger Smith about the year 2000.

Josh's castings were made at ABC Foundry of Richmond, VA (now defunct) from "extra" metal. Some were good but toward the end they were often very rough and full of shrinks.

Josh's blocks were experimental and in some ways primitive. However, they have imaginative features as well as good and bad design. They were based on old blocks Josh had seen in Pennsylvania such as the antique personal block in his collection.

The large center block was his Josh's pattern. The long stem grooves for the spoons in the large block are useless and take up valuable space. This was a one time experiment that was not repeated. The rectangular cutouts on the same block are interesting but serve little purpose.

The long rectangular block on the right was his second pattern. It has nicely well rounded corners and features. It has too much draft and the bowls and spoons are too deep. However, despite these design flaws this block has been one of the most popular blocks of the past decade and cast by numerous foundries. For details see "Whos Pattern Is It?"

The small rectangular block to the left was Josh's last pattern and possibly the least interesting. The one I had was a poor casting that I had to mill flat and do a lot of grinding on. I also modified it with a drilled 1/2" diameter hole. The scrap iron casting was so hard that I abandoned drilling more holes.

Round corners are one of the best features on all of Josh's blocks. This is a feature that can used on the drag portion (bottom 5 surfaces) of any cope and drag block casting. Every feature including and especially bowls and spoons should have rounded corners. All blocks should come with rounded corners but almost none do. The rounding on Josh's blocks is extended to include the edges of the half round and V cuts. This prevents marring work. Josh's half rounds are also ovoid or flared so that pinching does not occur when forging rounds.

The Original Greenwood Swage Block
Ductile iron castings by Western Foundry from the long rectangular pattern.

 

Digital Image (c) 2008 Jock Dempsey
If you have one of these blocks, it is a Josh Greenwood block.
The popular long Greenwood swage block The Popular Greenwood Rectangular Block:
Whats in a name? Whos pattern is it? A modern tale.. More . .

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Copyright © 2008 Jock Dempsey

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