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I Forge Iron

Recently Appointed Forgemaster

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Some time ago we had one of our two forgemasters retire, so after a while I was put in as assistant forgemaster. Now our current forgemaster is also retiring, so it appears I will be the forgemaster in charge of our chapter of NYSDBA (GENESSEE REGION). My thoughts are as follows, I started doing the controlled hand forging program with our group last year, and we are progressing nicely. I know when it comes to a conclusion, we will need to have programs ready and in place to keep the members from losing interest, if you are acting in that capacity would be kind enough to share your ideas, I would be most appreciative. We have some ideas such as a sign holder and such, compiling all we went through in the last programs, that would be fine, but this may be short, so I need more, so please respond! thanks.

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I'm not exactly sure what you are asking for but it sounds like you are asking for ideas for some sort of test or a single piece that will include all the aspects of what you have learned in your controlled hand forging program.(there's a nice run-on) :) Look at Abana and California Blacksmiths Assoc. They have been working on a national curriculum for education and have put together levels of achievement gained by the successful execution of various pieces.

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We're working into something similar in our club but we haven't progressed anywhere near close to a "Forgemaster." Whoever's hosting a meeting or event is the "master."

On the other hand being as we're still getting going the bank account is always wanting, heck we're about sucking it dry getting Brian Brazeal up this summer, not that anyone is anything but jumping up and down in anticipation. Last meeting we put a window grill together to sell for a fund raiser. It was an all round good learning exercise. First was the brainstorming necessary to even begin, I mean how many people have you seen a really cool something without even thinking about indoor or outdoor application?

When it came down to building it, everybody got to lay hands on individual components, elements, joinery, straightening, etc. We (the club) ended up with a nice indoor window grill based on a mullioned window and every "pane" has a scene you might see out a window. mostly leaves, flowers, a couple branches, twigs and such. Lastly there's a knick knack shelf on the inside with a window width bar to hang things from. We agreed to a $350 - $400 asking price at some of the upcoming events, starting with the Art on Fire event at the end of June.

Anyhow, I believe this kind of group project is a good learning tool. It can be as simple as tent pegs or as complex as a ferris wheel, putting a group to work on it seems to accelerate the learning curves for all involved. Among my students some years ago I was teaching them one at a time. Partly because one was a 17-18 year old young man and the other was an attractive college co-ed and I figured richard would be more than a bit distracted.

Well, the young lady came to the end of the time she could spend, she was headed for the DC area and another graduate course so I decided to give Richard a shout. As I'd thought the "lessons" were slowed at first as Richard and Lynn (not her real name) got to know each other and compared stories. After a bit Richard got going on his ongoing project and Lynn unpacked the sheath knife she was making. Uh . . . KNIFE!?! Richard was pretty proud of the chisel he'd made but a . . . KNIFE!?

Let the competition begin! bummer of bummers I broke the blade of Lynn's knife in the heat treat though she did manage to repair it later down south. Richard accelerated in his interest and made more progress in the last sessions we had together than in the past, LOTS more progress. Oh yeah, Lynn started looking around knife shops in her new neighborhood to see who could help her with her blade and impressed a number of blady types. She had forged and ground a very fine first knife, better than my first 2-3. Nest I hear she found someone who tig welded it and heat treated it at his place of work. And shortly after, following some advice I'd given her she visited a living history site, got to talking to the blacksmith about volunteering. They worked together a couple times. The acting smith wanted to move on so the next thing I know Lynn is the master smith at the living history site!

Anyway, a little competition between students can be a VERY good thing also they're often talkng at the same level and brainstorm their own problems better than receiving instruction.

Frosty the Lucky.

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