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About JHCC

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    Grammar Hammer, Master of None

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    Oberlin, Ohio

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  1. I think there are two parts to the answer, and they compliment each other. The first is that welding is a skill that takes time to perfect, and many smiths simply don't feel that they have the time to devote to learning that particular skill -- or indeed the need to do so, depending on the kind of work they do. Second, there is indeed an attitude among some smiths that (non-forge) welding is distinctively "less-than", and so these smiths are even less inclined to invest time and energy in learning that particular skill. On the other hand, there are a LOT of excellent smiths whose arc and gas welding skills are fantastic and who use them to good effect in their work. Many of these are folks who came into smithing by way of welding/fabrication, so they already have that skill set down. Others are working smiths who recognize the value of adding welding to their list of available services and who embrace the expansion of their practical and artistic capacities. (Then you've got hobbyists like me who barely have the time to get any actual forging done and whose forays into welding are almost entirely practical and rarely artistic (or even borderline acceptable for public view). Thank God for grinders, that's all I have to say.)
  2. To quote a high-powered international business guy I met with last week: before graduation, stealing ideas is cheating; after graduation, stealing ideas is "Best Practices".
  3. "While you're still in school, stealing ideas is cheating. After you leave school, stealing ideas is 'Best Practices'." -- Paul Cramer
  4. That's exactly what I did: picked some logs that were about 18" long with nice straight grain, split them into 2-3" square billets, and stacked them to dry. The surplus place here has the most amazing collection of random stuff, from partly used boxes of earplugs to CNC waterjet systems to old OBI presses to random pieces of unidentifiable machine parts. I check the site regularly, and just happened to catch the handles before someone else grabbed them!
  5. I have a large stock of ash handle blanks, set aside when we took down the tree in our front yard (a victim of the Emerald Ash Borer). Also just grabbed a few hickory handles from the industrial surplus place; they were $1.25 each, plus at least two of them come with wedges.
  6. BMI is one that I've actually taken the trouble to print out and put in a binder (same with the COSIRA books). Some things are better in hard copy.
  7. You're going to have to be a bit more specific, especially since both ThomasPowers and I are identifiable by our hats!
  8. Samuel Yellin was an early adopter of arc welding*, although making sure to have those welds as hidden as possible. Edgar Brandt was an enthusiastic proponent of the artistic potential and possibilities of oxyacetylene welding. It's a tool like any other: if it serves to execute the design, well and good. If it's not done well and detracts from the design, not so good. The other day, I saw a photo online of a piece from a novice smith who had bent three pieces of steel, twisted one of them, and then welded them together rather sloppily and without any attempt at cleaning up the welds. It looked awful: not because it was welded, but because it was welded badly. Considering that the same (or a very similar) design could have been executed quite easily with some pretty rudimentary forging, we had both a failure of design (substituting welding for basic smithing technique) and a failure of execution (bad welds and absence of cleanup). Fixing either one of those would have resulted in a much better piece, but that's not welding's fault. When I made the urn for my father's ashes, I could conceivably have done all the welding in the forge or changed the design to make welding unnecessary. However, having the MIG welder ready at hand gave me the freedom to execute the design I wanted. I'm not going to sweat some judgmental purist trying to convince me that it's a lesser piece because I used electricity to stick some of the pieces together rather than coal. *Noah was an even earlier adopter of ark welding.
  9. Welcome, Keith. Looking forward to seeing you at Quad-State.
  10. The church next door to work is doing renovations, and I grabbed this big breaker box assembly out of their dumpster. The plan is to disassemble it to get at the copper buss bars, and then take everything to the scrap yard and turn it into cash. (I'd love to be able to forge the bars, but I'm not going to mess with the possibility of them being made from beryllium copper and thus hazardous to the health of myself, my family, my neighbors, and -- perhaps most importantly -- my dogs.)
  11. While it’s available online, I thought a hard copy would be good to have.
  12. My uncle used to rub it on his scalp to keep from going bald. It didn’t work.