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I Forge Iron

when something goes wrong

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This message is pretty much aimed at newbies, those with less than a year of actual consistant forging. One of my biggest lessons came when I was about 1/2 way through the most intricate project I had yet done, I was preparing to punch a square hole in a chair leg, the punch was 3/8 X 1/4, which would then be drifted to size, well I turned the punch the wrong way, and lo and behold, could have wrecked about 2 hours of work on that leg. When I showed it to the instructor, Jay Burnham Kidwell, he said something that really made me stop and go "yeah"! He said, make it a decorative element, and match it everywhere else, and no one will be the wiser. The pic shows the spot below the tenon rivet. This is known in our forge group as a "RDC" rapid design change, probably a military term. The thing is, don't just flip out and chuck what ever you are doing, the metal wants to tell you what to do sometimes, and other times it will work with you, flexability, and understanding your limitations, without becomeing frustrated is key! And lastly remember, the pile out back of the smithy, is always 3 times the size of what goes out the front door finished!! Happy hammerin!

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I've done pretty much the same thing since Father clued me to the idea when I was a kid. He said something like, `if you screw something up make several and tell people you're experimenting, heck, sometimes it'll even work on a later try and you'll get an attaboy.'

Good you bring it up Mike, I've been doing it since I was pretty young and it's the kind of thing I don't think about let alone pass along.

Nice looking table. How about a pic of the "special" chasing tool you used to make the decorative punch mark on the leg? ;)


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