anvil

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    Mancos,Co.

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  1. Sorry for the delay. Between a month long house guest and a shop build, time is going by on an already too short of a summer. I reviewed my post and truly can't see where you got this. However, Heres my perspective on it. "aim at what you can hit". This adds to our ongoing discussion concerning craftsmen. It truly applies to the trades. Framers,Roofers, Drywall< etc and all the rest. All that is required is to do your job within the parameters of the bid. This includes meeting the time, material, and dollar bids you have made. And, doing it at a skill level that the next crews dont have to do too many modifications to accomplish their job. You know. the concrete guys never get anything plumb and square enough! However this concept creates a dead end for a craftsman. You will end up in mediocrity and those clients who want the best will continue to allude you. Thus, again this is good advice for many "Jobs", but not for all. "more businesses go out of business because of the bad jobs they won, than any number of good jobs they lost". I tend to agree with this, with the understanding that "good and bad" must be defined. Do understand that one definition does not fit all. "Be selective about who you work for.". Lol i cant agree more. To elaborate, there are far more general contractors and construction companies out there that tend to put "the Crafts" into the same light as you, than those who use these same craftsmen as needed to further satisfy the wants/needs of their clients. The former rarely work out very well. The latter are worth their weight in gold. Alas, too often the learning experience to separate the wheat from the chaff is part of the trip. Again, another bit of advice that perpetuates mediocrity and prevents growth and challenge. It also, as above, limits your clientèle. I nearly always include in my designs elements, techniques, and concepts that I want to learn. To minimize those ramifications i always make a full size sample as part of my design process. This always includes my personal "challenges". This solves two problems you have mentioned. Each of equal importance. The first is I can figure out the tooling and process for these challenges and second my client sees EXACTLY what and why they are getting for their money. Thus there is NEVER any dishonesty between client and craftsmen . And you know as well as I do,,, just what "shortcuts and mistakes" are hidden behind that finished drywall in conventional construction. One of the few people I worked for as a welder had a personal ethic,, " if the inspectors dont catch it, its good!" Me too. Its far easier to do this when so much can be hidden by drywall. Case in point,,, A contractor of note had a favorite scam. After the insulation was inspected and passed (final framing inspection?) he pulled the to code insulation and substituted it for substandard, then finished the building"to code". " I've met quite a few ethically weak people who are experts at explaining why their dishonest "techniques" are necessary". Just curious, do you consider such techniques as mortise and tenons, collars, etc to be in this category of dishonest techniques? Personally the concept of these being dishonest necessary techniques has never been an issue. A full size sample showing just what you are getting solves that every time. It then becomes an aesthetic choice that is totally up to the client. Me too. Its far easier to do this when so much can be hidden by drywall. Case in point,,, A contractor of note had a favorite scam. After the insulation was inspected and passed (final framing inspection?) he pulled the to code insulation and substituted it for substandard, then finished the building"to code". " I've met quite a few ethically weak people who are experts at explaining why their dishonest "techniques" are necessary". Just curious, do you consider such techniques as mortise and tenons, collars, etc to be in this category of dishonest techniques? Personally the concept of these being dishonest necessary techniques has never been an issue. A full size sample showing just what you are getting solves that every time. It then becomes an aesthetic choice that is totally up to the client. Again, another bit of advice that perpetuates mediocrity and prevents growth and challenge. It also, as above, limits your clientèle. I nearly always include in my designs elements, techniques, and concepts that I want to learn. To minimize those ramifications i always make a full size sample as part of my design process. This always includes my personal "challenges". This solves two problems you have mentioned. Each of equal importance. The first is I can figure out the tooling and process for these challenges and second my client sees EXACTLY what and why they are getting for their money. Thus there is NEVER any dishonesty between client and craftsmen . And you know as well as I do,,, just what "shortcuts and mistakes" are hidden behind that finished drywall in conventional construction. One of the few people I worked for as a welder had a personal ethic,, " if the inspectors dont catch it, its good!"
  2. Altho this applies primarily to being an employee, It also applies to the self employed. Be your own worst critic. Tear each finished job apart mentally and find both your strengths and weaknesses. Recognize that there are no weaknesses. These are just techniques better used in a different application. Study others work as well as every other source from old iron, books, workshops, Understand your medium and develop a personal ethic to define this medium. Recognize the fine line between evolving this ethic and compromising it for any reason. Once you understand this, chose wisely to enhance the moment. This is the hard one.
  3. Im in the southwest as well. Im sitting at the end of a ridge on a knoll of 'Mancos Shale". Even the Anazazi stayed away from this stuff. But I love it!
  4. Im not sure if i made it clear. So just in case. Its not filing. Its using the narrow end opposite the handle and using it like a scraper. No effect on the finish. However, I do kiss my iron with a hot rasp and a file somewhere on most of my work. It creates just a touch of bright work here and there as a nice subtle contrast to the "basic black".
  5. You can use other things to remove scale than a brush. I use, along with a brush, my hot rasp. Not the teeth, but the end of the rasp. Give it a slight radius and sharpen the end. It is cheap and in fact will last literally forever. I actually use this far more than a brush.
  6. Practice. I suggest the Beatmore technique. thats,,, beat more iron.
  7. I prefer air dry, leave in whatever that things is called that you put wet dishes in and use as needed.
  8. actually, to me it sounds like you have all the knowledge you need to give it a go. All you need now is a bit of hands on to answer your questions.
  9. Well, mine is to! But theres hope. Also, i make a sample piece as part of my bid, and I keep these. After a while, they start to look pretty good on the walls.
  10. Jen, you are absolutely right on. First, and to repeat, your business advice is top notch,,, If, and I stress, If you want a roll in conventional construction. It does not apply to one who chooses to follow the path of a traditional architectural smith. I do not believe that social media works if your goal is gates, railings, or ironing a house completely. It is a way if your goal is to compete with every foreign importer of, say, "S" hooks and you want to make 1000 items a week at a buck a piece wholesale. You must understand that these two concepts, conventional vs craft come from two different birds, and you are mixing up their eggs. Again, with much respect, this seems to be an underlying opinion of yours twards craftsmen. I dont understand it. Certainly from Francis Whitaker to Thomas Latane and many points in between, We are not in the habit of "nerding" out anything. Unless, of course, you think that dedicating your life to anything is a "nerds" choice. "It virtually never is". Sorry, but it Always is. Thats is most likely the one singular selling point of our work. As for the oft spoken concept that we are a nitch market and the assumption from this being there is not enough work to support a lifestyle. This is one of those "check yer premise" type of statements. The reason being that no matter how small a nitch "Traditional Architectural Blacksmithing" may be, Ive never come across one out of work. Simply said and a Whitaker quote,, "there's plenty of room at the top". Meaning there are not enough of us to fill the nitch. Its a wide open market. Again, I praise your business acumen. However it does not apply to craftwork. The first step to success as any type of craftsman is to start thinking out of the conventional box. Choose any conventional details that will help, but you must find your own way. The pathway is tough, dirty, physically taxing and the failure rate is high, But,semi-serious- if you dont quit and stay in one place long enough, you Will succeed! Thomas, I repeat, a traditional smith is simply one who makes his or her living betwixt hammer and anvil. This is my definition. It is simple, concise and to the point. And removes all the intellectual egotism from the equation. This post is not meant to offend anyone. Its my opinion and i have dedicated my life to standing behind and living the above. You might say,,, Im "showing off" just what i am with the hope that my experiences will give a passionate new guy, or part timer or anyone the courage to push the envelope a bit harder purely and simply to just follow your dreams. There are no reruns, control alt delete is not valid, and the OS you have is all you get.
  11. nice looking building. a little hand forged hardware would set it off nice!
  12. Heres a other point of view, and im at that point as well, so its not a talk the talk kinda thing. Theres a few threads here asking those esotheric questions such as "why are you a blacksmith". And the answers span the whole philosophical spectrum Consider this: whats the first thing you, or anybody else, sees when coming up to your shop? The shop of course. Its a nice place to express to one and all, just what your work is all about.
  13. Interesting, thanks. I have a nice bar of reforged wrought given to me by a blacksmith friend. These were made from hoops or strap off an old narrow gage rr water tank. Its very clean wrought. Ive seen these hoops at scrap dealers and wondered what they were made of.
  14. alas, there lies the slippery slope. After securing my hand forged cleats to my bare feet, I'd venture forth and state the ones who have the best understanding of that is every one of us when we first started this exciting journey. in all of our innocence and naivety perhaps we all in one way or another, share that one vision. that of some nut standing between anvil and forge beating hot iron. and upon our faces was a look of excitement, passion and wonder. that look of wonder representing the great unknown,,, "I wonder where this path will take me if I just keep on heating and beating." a few after so much time are still as excited and full of that wonder as every new guy and gal just starting out today. I suspect that most of us here still "wonder" just what the next hammer blow will reveal. thus the essence of a traditional smith