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I Forge Iron


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     Oberlin, Ohio

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  1. The customer wasn’t satisfied with the finish on the knitting bowls (and neither, to be honest, was I), so I took them back and refinished them. A good object lesson in not letting anything leave the shop that isn’t up to standard, and the sometimes painful cost of standing behind your work. No forging, otherwise, but I did a lot of labeling and packing up stuff for my tailgating table at Quad-State.
  2. Just make sure you're all paid up with the AUPSLOPTP*. *The Amalgamated Union of Philosophers, Sages, Luminaries, and Other Professional Thinking Persons
  3. templehound, one of the points that Larrin Thomas (the "Knife Steel Nerd") makes in his article is this: What are your thoughts on this?
  4. Oh, crud; I was supposed to send you some, wasn't I? I'm sorry!
  5. Wrenching this thread back around to reconnect with its original subject, it's notable that (according to Julian the Apostate, anyway) the words "Let none enter who has not mastered geometry" were written above the door to Plato's Academy in Athens.
  6. Evapo-Rust is another good way to clean up a rusty piece. Definitely a cool piece (even though it would have been, in actual use, rather hot).
  7. The first time I did a drop-the-tongs weld (in Fred Crist's introductory blacksmithing class at the old Philadelphia College of Art) was to weld the four rods for a basket twist onto a longer piece for a poker. I hit it too hard, and the short section shot off the anvil and burned a hole in my backpack on the other side of the room.
  8. It's even harder to get a philosophy business of the ground.
  9. Let me guess: it turned into a Chevy Nova?
  10. My dad was a philosophy professor when I was little.
  11. That would do at least two things: give an idea of the degree of hardness, and reveal the presence of microcracks.
  12. A lot would depend on what kind of shop the railing or gate was coming from. There's a big difference between the local smithy and, say, the workshop of someone like Cyril Colnik or Samuel Yellin.
  13. An interesting object lesson in the difference between general inflation and inflation within a specific market sector. This demonstrates why the US Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks over a dozen different Consumer Price Indices for different kinds of goods and services (even though they don't have a CPI for blacksmithing equipment) rather than just one.
  14. Fun fact: when the first transatlantic telegraph cable was being constructed, it was discovered that the two companies that had been entrusted with making the cable itself had twisted the strands in opposite directions, making a conventional splice impossible.
  15. The starting stock for the bowls is anywhere from 6’ to 8’ long, depending on its width and how tightly you coil it. This particular piece came from the drop bin at my steel supplier already tapered from about 3/16” to about 5/8”. The shaping is done completely by eye. Regarding knitting, it’s actually Neolithic. The earliest known examples (at least of the older single-needle variety known as nålebinding) date to about 6,500 BC, well before the Bronze Age where they were found in modern-day Israel. In this case, the needles were probably made from antler, wood, or bone rather than metal. At that time, wool would have been plucked rather than shorn, so no need for shears.
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