primtechsmith

Mark Aspery Experience

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Hi all.
Just spent some time with Mark while he was here for our Hammer In and class at the Yesteryear School. The class ended today and I had the pleasure of "sitting in" Monday to hear his lectures on the beginnings of the joinery project for the class.

I did not get to see the demo much for the Hammer In due to the obligatory presidential "running around like a chicken with its head cut off" routine I usually do. There were some good photos taken and sent in to me for the guild site. the event gallery on the guild site is full of 'em if you are interested...

But back to the class experience...
I did not forge any, but listened as much as possible. I got a few things from his talks.
1. Mark is every bit a Master smith. I have never seen a demo, read a book, or heard a lecture more in tune with the true essence of blacksmithing.

2. The way he explains things and forges is based on true experience. He makes it a point to explain how "he" does it...not how it should be done. I find that to be a trap a lot of people get into.

3. Looking at his new book...I would say it is better than the first. I am saving up now to buy it.

4. I picked up some of the best insight on his tool making...not from the tool steel he uses, or the shape of the working end, but how he flattens an area below the striking surface to be able to hold it with a lighter grip. A fantastic idea and truly something I will now do.

5. There were no "smoke and mirrors" moments. He presented the material in a way that everyone could gain something from it.

...there are a lot more things too...

I just wanted to express to everyone to try and get a chance to see Mark demo if you can. Or take a class with him. He is an extremely nice guy and certainly one of the most knowledgeable people in this field that I have ever run across...

Wish you guys coulda been there...
Peyton

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KUTO's to Mark from me as well ! I did get to spend most of my time at the hammer in event watching the demos. I particularly liked the fact that most of the tools used were "created" during the Friday evening session and early in the Saturday demo. I believe your tools are your calling card. People are shocked when you can show them the "tools you made" to create their wares. As a beginning smith I have spent most of my time so far making most of my tools, some with fabrication skills others with smithing skills.
My wife and 13 year old daughter smith with me and Mark sure helped me this past weekend showing my daughter the importance of Math applications in your everyday life (blacksmithing). It's hard to convince a 13 year old that they will ever use Algebra or Geometry ever again once they leave school, but what's the first thing I saw Mark diligently scratching across the chalk board ? Formulas for the circumference of a circle and on and on. She was shocked ! I'm sure all of the blacksmiths of yore didn't go into such great detail, but I bet they wasted stock from time to time, and made more than a few "test pieces" before they arrived at the exact formula. Watching a Master Smith work is sometimes frustrating because they flow through each piece, making it look effortless almost, but then you realize they too had to practice each function of blacksmithing over and over again. It didn't happen magically overnight as we would all like it too. Thanks Mark and Thanks Peyton for another super event!

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I too would like to tell all that Mark Aspery has taught me more about blacksmithing that any one else I have been to 3 different week long class from Mark and have learn more and more each time. I have both of his books and can look back and find things that I have maybe forgotten and it is amasing how it will come back once I read it again. Mark is a great person, blacksmith, and teacher and a great friend to me. Thanks Mark for all you do for all of us!!!!
Gaylan

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I echo the sentiments, and I can't wait to take another course next year with him, word is he will likely be doing a joinery class at Touchstone next year, lookin forward to it.

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Thank you for sharing your experience.

I think this comment from primtechsmith says a lot about someone's character. Great observations primtechsmith.

2. The way he explains things and forges is based on true experience. He makes it a point to explain how "he" does it...not how it should be done. I find that to be a trap a lot of people get into.

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I took a week long class from Mark at Geralds place a couple of years ago-great experience-Gerald's a great host also. Learned a LOT that I still use on a regular basis. Mark also demo'd at the Atlantic Coast Blacksmiths Conference last year. He shows that you don't need to rush-plan your work well and do it at a reasonable pace. He showed that you can, as a single smith working alone, work big stock (1-1/2" sq or so) to make swages and such by yourself and have good, easily attainable results. I'd take another class from him in a heartbeat.
Mark Emig

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