I've been hammering for about 3 years - small tools and useful hardware things mostly.
About 1 month ago I had the opportunity to participate in an iron smelt - that was a great experience.
BUT . . . I was given a hammer to work with that was way heavier than any of my own. After about 7-10 minutes as a striker, my arm was "toast".
Fortunately another fellow stepped in and finished the job.
That lead me to my question:
Is there a good description of good arm / body technique / stance that will prevent injury from repetitive actions? Are there execises that help build up strength in muscles,/ tendons/ ligaments when I'm not at the forge?
I've done a fair bit of searching and have come up with almost nothing for blacksmiths.
There are spark tests for steel, colour samples for heat treating, lots of examples of tools, lots about protective equipment for eyes, ears, feet etc etc but how about my main tool - my arm?
I've spoken to experienced smiths that have all related stories about injuries and the amount of time it took to heal - is there a guide about how to prevent injury? I've watched with horror in some cases the Forged in Fire program with guys whaling and bashing away at their steel - made my arm sore just watching them. I'm pretty robust but I don't want to end up like a few guys with damaged rotator cuffs that need surgical intervention to repair.