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I Forge Iron

John McPherson

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About John McPherson

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    Grumpy Old Guy

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  • Location
    Charlotte, NC
  • Interests
    Full Time Welding Instructor/CWI, occasional blacksmith.


  • Location
    Charlotte, NC

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16,809 profile views
  1. I have seen leaders in business. Rarely. I have seen a lot of bosses. A lot of cruel, shallow, broken people in places of authority that they were in no way mentally or morally fit to occupy. But they looked good on paper, and talked a good game, took all the credit, placed all the blame, and never put anything self-incriminating in writing. As long as the final numbers look good, there is no change. And I have seen a lot of supervisors above them turn a blind eye and deaf ear to any problems, because then they would have to DO something, or maybe even make a decision, something that they feared.
  2. Well, the upside now is weather forecasting. For a week, I got to hold my middle finger up above my heart. In public. "No, not being rude. Doctor's orders. See the bandage? And a good day to you as well, and the horse you rode in on." And my son, as the striker (for the last time), earned the nickname "Lightning", and had to drive me to the ER, and not for the last time. Just the last time he was the culprit.
  3. A tool like that is not used without a striker or a power hammer in any case. Do you have either now, or is this just a theoretical question? Everyone approaches problems from wherever they started out. Weldor/fabricator, machinist, tool & die maker, backyard hobby smith, thousand ton hammer industrial smith, total noob. Whatever tools you know and understand, will be how you want to attack the problem. Heck, with the right robot welder, you could 3D print one. I, personally, would search thru scrapyards looking for something close to what I wanted, cut it, and weld it to an old sledge hammer head, but I work alone. If I had access to a big enough lathe, I could probably rough a bowl shape out of some big stock. Having seen BB demo at ABANA, I would wager that that one was forged over a ball form, like a shot-putt, with strikers. (Oh, yeah. Keeping a unsightly scrap pile bee-you-tiful assemblage of odd shapes and sizes available for bucket list projects is a Guild requirement. I keep telling my wife that, she says the same thing about all the boxes of fabric.) Hmmm, where did I put my son's old high school shot-putt? And where can I get some strapping lads to swing hammers accurately. Don't want to end up in the Emergency Room holding my finger together with a bandanna ***again***. The upside is, I always know when it is going to rain.
  4. Farmall, Lost Art Press has them new for $43.
  5. "Cream rises to the top, but so does pond scum." The pessimistic among us have come to the conclusion that the best we can do is not just limited by our own abilities and talents, but by the artificial barriers and constraints imposed by the 'clods' that have risen to the top. That is when the frustration sets in. "If you get up in the morning, and run into a single jerk, then that is his problem. If you get up in the morning and everyone you meet all day is a jerk to you, then YOU are the problem." You can have a team of superstars: educated well above the competition, dedicated to quality, eager to do the best job possible for the end user and the organization. One bad supervisor with relative immunity, who can destroy any gains produced on a whim, change plans and suppliers without ever consulting the crew that actually does the work, show favoritism on one hand and stall raises, careers and progress on the other, is a poison pill to the organization. "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil." When no one above the supervisor's level wants to hear anything that would make them have to reconsider the job being done, you have a systemic problem. If the only way someone can be removed, or even reviewed at more than a cursory level, is to commit an egregious HR violation, you have systemic morale problems. Manufacturing has a theory of limits, which can also be applied to blacksmithing and other human endeavors. There is a choke point in every process that limits through-put. If you want to increase productivity, systematically remove each choke point as you find it, and then move on to the next choke point. If only senior admins could be taught to think logically...
  6. 99.9% sure that you have just acquired a decorative cast iron doorstop in the shape of an anvil. There are many of them floating around.
  7. Some one once said that we are elves to dogs: we live incredibly long lives, do things that they can not comprehend, have seemingly magical powers, and have the ability to do things for them that they could never do for themselves. I rate a person on how they treat dogs, children, cleaning crews, and waitstaff.
  8. The great thing about living in hurricane territory is that a couple of times a year you can go get rope, chain, rolls of plastic and duct tape and no one in the checkout line bats an eye........
  9. The big N in the middle of the name Norrisez is as distinctive as the Hay-Budden arch or the Trenton diamond.
  10. Not sure when and where it started, but every college that I know of now has a Risk Management Officer (usually a full time lawyer on staff) who reports directly to the President. I am sure corporations are the same way. Part of why they outsource everything as much as possible. "Oh, they don't work for us. They may all have been here for 5 years, wearing a different company logo shirt ever year when we bid out the contract. But they are not our employees." Every decision is a possible risk. Every speech, every news release, every official document from every source has to be groomed by a team of handlers . What comes out is a web of weasel words, that are meant to sound good, but can no more be pinned down than nailing jello to a wall. The red tape of risk avoidance and risk aversion culture has a stranglehold on everyone lately. Finding "Someone (Else) To Blame" seems to be the new normal.
  11. In dry Colorado, maybe it is not a problem. But here in the humid southeast, any untreated log left sitting flat on interior concrete or similar sealed surface will start to rot, mildew and attract bugs in a matter of weeks, no matter how dry it started. On dirt or gravel, or with the bark on, even faster. For the museums I volunteer at, and even the school's climate controlled welding labs and jewelry studio, we either have to use red cedar, surface treat heavily with chemicals, use treated wood feet to gain air space, or clad the bottom with sheet metal.
  12. Put a poster in the side windows of your vehicle with "I buy anvils" and your number, it pays to advertise. The first real anvil I ever bought, the guy had an anvil for a front plate. (NC only uses the rear plate.)
  13. Buyer beware, that is almost certainly an import anvil, no matter where the company selling them is based. If it was US made, they would be trumpeting the fact.
  14. Not cracks; incomplete forge welds in wrought iron. Does not detract from the function or use of the anvil. That face is in about 95% of new condition, you have a winner! (This is my jealous face that you are not seeing.) They are common enough on old anvils, and usually show up when the anvil has been in an acid environment like wood mulch or leaf mold, or stripped in an electrolysis tank. Everybody wants a shiny smooth anvil, but an electrolysis bath or acid etch will bring out a lot of character in any wrought object. Heavy wire brushes on big grinders tend to smear details and small crevices, layers of paint fill them up.
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