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  1. Sorry Marc, but that's confusing to me. That's one conclusion. However here's what I do, as an example. It's definitely not based on fragile anything. Let's assume a client has a home built in an English Tudor style and they want me to do front door hardware. They may or may not realize the style or art history period. I confirm that they do, or educate them that it is. There is tons of documentation to support this. I've never had anybody get upset at this. I then show them pics, both historical, contemporary and mine plus physical samples since I've worked in this style before. We then go thru a design process that pleases them. Then I do the job, take pics and move on. What difference does the steel make? Unless I'm doing a historical restoration where the type of material is stated, mild steel works for me. In my example im not doing a restoration or doing a historical reproduction, I'm working within a specific style as I understand it, and doing my own original design and using any contemporary tooling as my secondary tools, and material of my choice as any blacksmith would do thru time. For what it's worth, I have done both restoration and recreation where the material was stated by the client. I also know a few European Smith's where the material used had to undergo a metalurigical analisys so it would match as close as possible the original wrought iron. This was two Smith's in Frankfort Germany who were restoring two huge screens for the Frankfort cathedral. The Catholic Church was pretty picky. They did a restoration every hundred years. I think these guys were either the 9th or 10th Smith's to do this since somewhere around the 9th century. Never once have I made an ego based statement that hand forged is the best. I suspect that your farmer above wouldn't have any need to even go to a fab shop for his latch. A hardware store or box store would suffice. Oh, and no hammer marks. A personal choice without a doubt, and my choice is to not put peen marks into my iron. Lol, to me it like a trim carpenter setting finish nails with a ball peen hammer and adding a few more divits here and there for the sake of whatever.. No critique,no judgment, but it's just not my style. And one of my reasons is, in my opinion, that a little applied texture goes a long way and can quickly create a very busy detail.
  2. The internet is an amazing thang. Frosty, you too stand tall in my book even if we have had a few spicy debates. You've paid your dues, been down a hard road and given out tons of good words to many here and I'm sure that's a fair representation of you in the real world. You will never find me questioning that. Here's the interesting thing and another topic much chuckled about between blacksmiths when they want a good laugh. And it's very true. When someone finds out you are a blacksmith, what's one of the standard replies? "Oh, why then you must be a horse shoer". Truth? When I hung out my shingle to become a working blacksmith and was changing from farrier I tried advertising my business as a blacksmith. Yup, you guessed it. Got a lot of calls for shoeing horses and not one danged call for anything else. Over time I found this very true misconception was a real plague, even when contacting those who could afford fine iron. When meeting with people I found that if I used the term blacksmith if I was bidding anything architectural, I could read their minds. " A blacksmith? Don't they shoe horses? How can a blacksmith possibly do my ( fill in whatever you want)". And there went the job. If I added traditional or architectural to blacksmithing, I never got that puzzled look and nearly always got the job. A fool I'm not, a blacksmith I am and If traditional smith is what they understand then traditional blacksmith is what I am. 35 + years as a working smith indicates I made the correct decision. And after all this time, my 3 points above, simple in concept and easy to understand work well. I wish I'd thought of that decades ago. So it's my firm opinion that as a good business practice this conception is one of the myriad of details that can lead to failure as a working smith. It does not mean that in any given situation calling yourself a blacksmith will be a problem. It may only become a recognisable problem if your goal is to become a full time smith. On the other hand it may mean nothing. It worked for me. If it did, don't you think it's an important detail to pass on to a fledgling smith who wants to make a living at it? Who knows, perhaps things have changed and the new crop of potential clients for forged iron are already far more educated than my potential clients were when I was getting my business up and running. I have a feeling that perhaps today if you lable yourself a blacksmith that due to Forged in Fire the answer to that question may very well be " Oh, you are a blacksmith! Hoe can a knife maker possibly make my (fill in the blank). And there goes another job. Trust me this is a small point and there are many other details that must be overcome to succeed at this time as a working smith.
  3. You old curmudgeon. First off I'd like you to know I hold you in high regard. Your knowledge, your dedication to this craft and your passing on freely your knowledge. I look forwards to your posts and often read then more once. No shmooze here, just an acknowledgement. I used your definition for traditional as being tied to a specific time because here at IFI was the first time I had ever heard of this association. Your posts made it clear as to this interpretation of "traditional". It puzzled me because it seems to create many negatives instead of answering the common questions. That question is the great and forever debated is basically can you be a blacksmith if you use contemporary tooling. And the rebuttle being if these tools were given to a smith 100 years ago they would use them in a minute. Deadlock. Tyeing "tradition" to an era , to me, is a workaround, not a solution. My intro to this happened early in my journey(and finally, to my satisfaction, resolved as I've stated in this thread). I was working for Tom Joyce doing a grape leaf chandlier. One of my jobs was the grapes. A group of highschool kids came and as part of his demo he showed how he used a mig with inert gas to create the grape bunches. There was much murmuring and it was obvious that they were saying you could not be a traditional smith/blacksmith if you used a mig. Tom, forever the gentleman, finished his demo. When they left, he showed me his frustration over this debate. I've always believed that a smith should use any tool he chooses. So how to resolve this dilema? After the conversation with you months ago the light flashed and it became obvious to me. Thus evolved my 3 points above. I believe if you read these 3 points above, they will answer all your questions in your last post. It's very open and creates only one limiting factor. That is that our primary tooling to work iron is with hammer, anvil, and fire. A fabricators primary tools are a welder, a grinder, and a torch. A machinist primary tools are a lathe and a mill, etc A historical reenactor doing a particular smith setup for a specific time becomes a subset of traditional smithing, which is a subset of the great generalist of all who work ferrous metal, the blacksmith. Lol, for what it's worth I very often forge say 9/16"" round to make 1/2" square. Not because it's "traditional", not because cold rolled square comes with sharp edges and hot rolled square comes with a rounded edge from the mill, but because I most always do a hot champfer on hot rolled square and forging from round to square removes all the mill scale and I can control the width of champfer, and do it in a more timely manner than by just champfering hot rolled. This came to me from a Yellen book thru someone else. I tried it and found it to be absolutely true. I also found that this is one of the critical steps in developing the finish texture I speak of in #3 above. Another ramble Thanks for all, Thomas Lol,,, that statement etc is from a paraphrased from you. I'll use collar as the object. You may have used another. " Anybody who tries to sell their client on a collar is a rip off and is ripping off their client."
  4. It's a good practice to bring it to a light welding heat most of the time with wrought. Now is the time to start bringing it to the cross section you want for your hammer. Don't worry about specific dimensions for a specific weight. Just keep the proportions (lxwxh) what you want. The weight is what ever it will be. It looks like, not positive, that your 1-2/2" dimension is thick. Use your crosspeen to draw this area out to 1-7/8" and with a little luck, the thickness will be pretty close from end to end and it will be a rectangle. That's what I'd do next, and yes, to repeat, do this at a light welding heat.
  5. That was not ever in my thoughts. In fact I have no idea what you do or have done for a living. I seem to remember you saying you have started 3 or so industrial businesses. I don't think you have ever said what they produced. I think I've told you this. If not, I've been a blacksmith all of my working life. I have created only one industrial business, so we have something in common. I do consider being a farrier a subset of the blacksmiths craft. In 1980 I changed the primary product of my very small industrial business and began to leave the farrier part behind. As a blacksmith, call it what you want, I focused on high end architectural ironworks. I've worked with many Smith's who do the same type work I did in a five state area surrounding colorado. I pursued this for over 30 years. I've spent the last 10 years recovering from an economic tragedy that had nothing to do with my smithing and am now putting together a new "temporary" shop in order to build my dream shop that will prolly take the rest of my life. It will consist of stone, iron snd logs. The logs are here as are two dumptruck loads of rock.lI can't think of a better way to pass the time away. My tooling and motivation is directly what I stated above in my definition. Again a big thanks to Thomas and the rest for an opportunity to put my subjective thoughts into words. I've most always had power but I use a hand cranked champion 400 blower. I believe it gives me the best fire control. I've worked with some great Smith's who use electric blowers and am as comfortable with them as my champion.i have ox/acetl and I fill the large bottles about once a year. They have a very important and specific roll in my shop as a specialty tool. Same goes for my buzz box welder. My 4-1/2" side grinder draws dust. Not because it doesn't have uses, but because the style of my smithing just never calls for a need to use it. These are my secondary tools. This last 10 years have been a challenge. I absolutely refused to quit, which most sane people would prolly have done in a minute! At times I had no power. Alas the only tool loss was my 25# lil giant, my little used pedestal grinder and my Camelback drill press. During this time I geared my shop work to match this loss. I produced oxbow stirrups that I backwards engineered from a turn of the last century local blacksmith made design. It's a beautiful and efficient movement of forging iron! Living in southwest Colorado/northern New Mexico and the location of my old home town I'm smack dab in the middle of cowboy country. With my, um,,er, low cashflow needs it was perfect. Not high end iron, but a fine quality product with a fine time vs labor return. So you might say I have successfully made my living as a, sheesh, what do you want me to call it. At least here in the US if you call yourself a blacksmith, the first question asked is "oh, you must be a horse shoer?". I've found that stating that I'm a traditional, or architectural blacksmith gets the proper response I'm looking for and as often as not lands some pretty good jobs. Unlike many in this post my clients have no problem learning when I educate them as to what I do and believe makes quality forgings(refer to 3 above). I've never lost a job due to educating my clients and I've never peened my iron, no offence, just my choice for me. I guess the folks I've dealt with at many economic levels believe that learning is not an indication that they are stupid. They must have the confidence to know education is critical and an ongoing lifelong process.Alas you get what you create. I have a self imposed obligation to pass my knowledge on freely as that's what all the great people and teachers have done for me. I name them, not as an ego trip as some assume, but to acknowledge their gift to me and to create some semblance to the ties to our rich history. I chose here to not itemize your last post and critique it heavily for all the good that would do. So I decided to lay out to you that as a blacksmith I live by those three points that I stated above and have lived it my whole working life, from the simple to the sublime thru thick and thin,,, and I have absolutely loved every minute of it, including the challenge to continue making my living as a smith these last years. From my experiences, I can't imagine holding within all this journey has brought me and I do my best to encourage those with blacksmith stars in their eyes to go for the gusto and find their own pathway as a blacksmith/traditional smith, or whatever you choose to call it. Perhaps you will understand just why I'm puzzled by your negativity and respond as I do. Alas, I am and do all those evil and ripoff things you believe we "traditional architectural Blacksmiths" do and with a passion! great discussion. Thanks
  6. No Problem, Frosty. The situation here is definition of terms. Also, I suspect a different way of evaluating tech changes as we progress thru time. I understand defining "traditional" as a function of time. Thus a 500 BC traditional smith would be very different than one from 1600AD. I also understand what George says and perhaps it's best to just be a blacksmith. Been there done that. However it seems that no matter who you are, where you are, at least in our era this term does often come up. And it very often ends up being rather emotional as it has become here. Thus, since I've been here I've attempted to figure out just why this happens. I mean no offence Thomas, but when someone new to our craft comes here bright eyed and bushy tailed and states "I want to be a traditional blacksmith", I think it can be pretty hard on them when the response, no matter how well I tended is "what do you mean by traditional, what time period, what fuel, what clothing, etc". I believe that's being pretty hard on them. I don't believe that those answers have anything to do with their question. I believe they are asking about tooling, techniques, joinery, setup, etc. Usually they go away or don't respond. That response is so very off from what they intended. Definitions. I do not believe defining traditional by associating with a specific timeframe is the only definition that can be applied. I am not arguing that one can define it that way. I'm offering another way to define it. And that's by tools, joinery/technique/ and basically finish. And, most critical, I'm defining these as primary. These primaries are what most efficiently creates the look and feel of forged iron. The secondary tools can be welders, grinders, a torch or any other danged thing you want to make your work more efficient. The primaries are the ones that most easily develope that final part, how it looks, feels, and becomes a flowing part. Sorry Marc, but to my eye there is a world of difference between a fabbed railing and a forged one. Here is an example. How many fabbed railings have you seen with a cold rolled on a jig scroll welded into place? What's the dead giveaway that it is cold rolled on a jig? Isn't it that bitter end of the finials that was clamped in the jig that is bent at an angle instead of scrolled gently and smoothly hot? You see Marc, this small detail may not matter to you. Speed and money make it impossible for your general fab shop to do in any other way. Is this critical? Nope, we need railings and for general use money is the critical factor. Just imagine all the rail sections in a shopping mall. They must be done this way. But what about those others who do recognize this? Must they be forced into acceptance of this detail? Heck no. Thus the market for "traditional","forged", or just plane "blacksmithed" is strong and vibrant. Obviously I'm using this one small detail as an example. These detail differences are many. I am very intentionally not limiting these primary tools to anything specific. I'm very consciously simplifying them. A hammer is a hammer. An anvil is an anvil, a collar is a collar, etc. What these tools,techniques/joinery enable is for "traditional Smith's", call us simply Blacksmiths if you will, to work our iron "By hammer and hand" as opposed to welded and ground with no heat.
  7. I read this yesterday an got a great laugh out of it. I pictured Frosty on his great white charger standing between poor defenseless Marc and the evil one touting " Traditional Blacksmiths Forever" and his despicable slogan,," yes, architectural smithing is a viable lifestyle"! Thanks for more insights into your youth. As I've said before to be involved in a working blacksmith shop and to be surrounded by craftsmen of many types is pretty special and in our age,, pretty rare. Lol, the only time you get me going is when you speak so harshly,,, an understatement,, twards craftsmen,, particularly craftsmen of our craft and our viability as a profession. Lol,,, a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black, yes? Perhaps we should have a word count contest here and a vote as to just who is most windy and rambling amonst us all. You, me, Marc, Jen and Thomas certainly would be in a close race! In fact I can and with just a little ramble. I'd like to thank all here and particularly Thomas for the many discussions on this topic. I've never tried to put in words just what "Traditional Blacksmith" actually means to me until coming here, altho it's been discussed in many places by many people including me. I stress To Me. Thomas and I had a conversation a few months ago concerning this and historical reenactment. With that conversation it became clear to me and I stated it then for the first time. This is the second time. First let me be clear. It has nothing to do with historical reenactment. All smithing reenactments are examples of traditional smithing, but all traditional Smith's are not reenactors! They are a subset of traditional smithing, just as traditional smithing is a subset of the mother of all iron,,, the Blacksmith". That's how I look at it. Again, this is how I look at it. I make no claim to this being original. I firmly believe that those I know and have worked with have a similar outlook no matter the words they use. Can Francis Whitaker, Tom Joyce, or Frank Turley be considered anything but traditional Smith's? They certainly are not historical reenactors! For me, a traditional smith is defined by three things 1: the PRIMARY tools we use are the tools used thru our long history. Please note i said primary. That's critical. These are something to beat with, something to beat on, something to heat with, something to clamp with, and a myriad of hand tools. Something to beat with could be as simple as a rock or the largest power hammer ever made. What we beat on, commonly called an anvil, is anything you want from a bigger than your rock hammer to the finest anvil you can imagine. This includes a section of rr track. Just because I believe mounting it in the vertical limits it's abilities does not mean it's not an anvil. What we heat with can be anything from coal, coke, camel patties,propane, or inductive heating. Notice in both the above there are absolutely no limits by anything including tech advancements. What we clamp with is a post vice or a thing that frees us to use both hands to work our iron. Hand tools are anything from punches to scrolling wrenches to anything you need to get the job done! 2: Our PRIMARY joinery is the joinery used from day 1 to today. Again notice I said primary. We are not limited in any way. This usually means collars, rivits, mortise and tenon,punched holes,drilled holes, slit and drifted holes, forge welds and anything else along this line that I may have left out. It does not mean that you cannot use any tool you want if you end up with a mistake and to repair it requires any tooling/tech you need to save the day. However I've found, but not in all cases that traditional techniques work best on a traditional project as defined for me in this post.. I have used welder, grinder, torch where necessary, then spent a huge amount to remove the fabricated looking finish to bring it back to what I've stated in 3 below. Again these tools fit the catagory of secondary tools, not primary. 3: this is more or less the philosophical one. The esthetics of our craft. How it looks, how it feels, etc. I could go on here ad infinitum. Turley started me here. He stated that the popular conception of iron is cold, hard, immovable and the purpose of the Smith is to make it look and feel soft, warm, and flowing. I suspect there are many here who either became interested in iron due to seeing a forged piece that shows these traits, even if it was a subconscious awareness. Most of us either subconsciously or consciously spend much R&D time on finish to achieve just what each of us consider the above. That's it. When I say primary what I mean is these are our daily drivers and our shop spaces are set up to maximize the efficiency of their use. This does not mean we Cannot use a welder, grinder, torch, mig,Tig, or any other tool you may want to use to make your work more efficient. They are there to assist our work roll, not to replace our primary tools. You want to heat your work with a rosebud? Then it replaced your forge and is primary and should be in a prominent location. You want to tack together a 10 stack layer for your Damascus project? Then it becomes an auxiliary tool for your convenience and the welder should not interfere with your forge, anvil, post vice setup. Frosty, I've taken this a bit out of context for a reason. Please don't lock me in this box. I have never made this kind of statement concerning traditional smithing. Marc as well had suggested this is the case with most "traditional (fill in the blank). Whenever possible I state, and state it forcefully that I have absolutely NO judgement concerning how others do whatever they choose to do. It's a personal choice and that always wins my respect. To make that statement is as big an ego statement as those who demean this wonderful craft called "Traditional Smithing". I have fought this my whole career. Please do not confuse my passion for forged iron and the wonderful and challenging pathway it has brought me as a career and assume that implies I believe other ways are inferior. Thanks to one and all.
  8. You are correct but you are missing something that most miss as well. He would use it in conjunction with his work, not change his work. It would still be "traditional" in look and style and technique because that's what he has spent his life doing. Give the same tools to a contemporary person today with no background in traditional forging and his work would be no different than what comes out of any other fab shop. I suspect the older smith would not give up making gates and railings nor using collars, rivits, and forgeweld and jump on dabbed bumpers as his source of income. Check out those transitional Smith's from around the '30's such as Kuehn who gladly brought welders into their shops for just the reasons you mention. As an example, they didn't grind their welds to hide the joinery, they left their welds proud because they believed that your joinery was a part of the design. You do just that, ridicule craftsmen and particularly those who make their living using tooling and joinery of the blacksmiths craft. It's always puzzled me just why on a site for blacksmithing that this happens so often. All I can say is that your beliefs are not supported by the rather lucrative business in Europe and the US called Architectural blacksmithing. Work that is varied and covers everything from restoration work to specialized hardware of all sorts to contemporary designs for gates, railings and lighting to name just a few. It's especially hard for me to understand coming from you specifically because of the time you spent with your mastersmith. There must be a reason for your deep-seated disrespect for the crafts, particularly the blacksmiths craft. Lol, I have an industrial post drill and a Camelback drill. Neither work as you state. All ya gots to do to make 'em primative thangs work is pull the lever on the right down and line up the tip of the bit with the lil center punch on your work. Hope that helps.
  9. I like to add a little filework to most of my iron. Never much. Just enough to add a highlight here or there. For instance on a 3 knuckle hinge, I just barely break the edge between knuckles, just a touch. It adds a very subtle highlight that accents the joint. Another place I add a touch of the file is leafwork. On a serrated leaf, I will start at the crotch with my file pretty flat. This makes a wide flat champfer. I then continue around to the tip of the leaf and raise the file as I go to nearly vertical at the tip of the leaf. The champfer ends up very short with just a hint of silver accenting the black primary finish. This creates a curved champfer that goes from flat and sorta disappears into the vertical plane at the tip. It's quick and takes no time, and very subtle.
  10. Actually doing some filing on your tongs is not white smithing. Do a search to see what it means. Usually that means the whole piece had been filed to a "white" finish as opposed to a "black" finish blacksmiths do. There are some beautiful whitesmith's works out there.
  11. Thanks for the clarification. Do note that I said 1' depending on speciality. The archaeological finds surrounding the Viking era are fascinating. Let's look at two significant ones. The buried chest with a complete setup including small anvil and the kilns made by Vikings to smelt bog iron into wrought on the Nova Scotia coast. Did you ever consider the connection between the two? Weather it's been stayed or not, what struck me about the chest of tools was that it is a blacksmith s sea chest of working tools. And when they got to Nova Scotia, they had a choice. Smelt wrought and forge from this parts for replacement and repair. Having spent 4 years in the Navy what's still strong in my mind is space limitations onboard a ship both on the Individual items and our shops tools and spare parts.. Something's never change. I've never seen any finds on a viking village smithy. I would suspect the setup and tooling would be pretty similar to any shop in basically Europe at the same time. Lets look at the progression of anvil design across time. Certainly it's gone from some sort of square block to what we have in working shops until basically the end of the era where our tooling was replaced by welders and grinders. What are these changes? From a basic block to the addition of a horn and a rectangular face to work on. Why did these changes come about. Part of the reason, in my opinion had to do with as we have progressed in the iron age there is more iron/steel per capita. This effectively lowers cost for iron. This enabled anvils to evolve to be able to do more functions by a smith. The primary changes were as stated above, a ~ 5" wide, 18" long table with a horn at one end and a hardy hole at the other. Pretty danged efficient setup for working iron. This is what happened. Please note the reason I gave is my own. I have no doubt that I can do far more with this contemporary setup than on a 5" stake iron, no matter how beautiful the the one you made. This is my primary reason for not being a supporter of mounting a rr track in the vertical. Why limit the functions you can learn as a beginner by limiting the size of the table? I have two square hardy blocks. One for my 255# Trenton and one for my treadle hammer. Both are used and in my shop both are special use tools. I would never consider making a square stake anvil for my daily driver. So, I just cannot support encouraging new Smith's who already have a length of rr track to put it in the vertical and limit their potential learning. One more thing to notice with today's industrial forgings, the anvils on those massive power hammers are square shaped. check out some of Tom Joyce's recent videos of him forging rather large pieces of iron with these contemporary hammers Just my opinion.
  12. Lol, I'm the semi official- nay Sayer on putting your rr track vertical. Here's my reasons. First let's look at flex. Your anvil layed flat will not flex, no matter what. Even if you mount it on each outer edge and minimize surface contact and your daily driver is a 16# double jack, it will not flex. For crying out loud, it's cross section is an I beam! Look at any contemporary plywood floor/roof joist( a piece of 3/4" plywood with a 1" square piece of pine top and bottom spanning large spans advertised as no squeak/ no sag floors! Drive a train over it? Different situation, the property of the steel is certainly made to flex. Horizontal or vertical. Here's some points to consider. A few here will say that the horn was a late addition in anvil development. What did they have before that? A rather large often square flat surface pwrhaps a foot or so square depending on speciality. Did they have the same square footage as that lil bit of square on a vertical RR track? I can't imagine that. I have seen many pics of old medieval anvils etc. Will you find something similar in our contemporary time in India or Africa? I'm sure there is a youtube out there showing just that. We blacksmiths do what we can with what we got, sometimes and until we can upgrade. Don't limit your flat surface/ face. Mount it horizontal, use your horn, and enjoy maximizing the flat surface that you will use most of the time. This especially fits the KISS principal in your case. Somebody put a lot of work into making that horn. Why hide it? Use it!
  13. Lol, thus the cowboy two step was invented.
  14. Lol, if blacksmiths had never invented files, there may never have been any machinists! I think primordal machinists were those nitch blacksmiths who decided moving iron was too much work, so decided to specialize in stock removal! I've even got a source for this theory,,, the ring in me ears!!!
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