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I Forge Iron

Tom Dudkowski


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Tom Dudkowski, blacksmith and friend to many, passed away Sunday night after a bout with a very aggressive form of cancer. I spoke with him last Thursday when he was in Phoenix, enjoying the sun by the pool, and on his way to meet doctors at the Mayo Clinic there. He was in good spirits and was looking forward to getting home on the farm outside Stayton,OR. We had planned "Hammerin on the Farm III" for the weekend of 6-11-11, moved up from 7-16-11 as the prognosis was not good.

We're still having the hammerin in honor of Tom and will hopefully forge a memorial to him. For those who knew Tom, please contact his widow, Nedra, to express condolences, and/or come to the farm for a great hammerin!

John Emmerling

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I'm grateful for the opportunity to have called Tom a friend. He confirmed many of the suspicions I had about what it means to be a high integrity, crazy son of a gun. He had an uncanny knack for picking out the most self-absorbed, high ego attendee at a hammer-in, and pecking away at the poor fool until he almost seemed human after a while. He would yell across the crowd that he needed my help. After I made my way over to him, he'd tell me my work was coming along good, but he could tell that I'm not sketching enough. "I found a piece of charcoal in the firepit, let me watch you draw a picture on the sidewalk of that tree over there. Hold it flatways to make a thick line, then smudge it with your thumb, like this... Now start using forging to replicate this line width, you'll have something worth selling sooner or later."
I feel lucky to have found the circle of people in our group. We all know that most folks won't stick around for more than a couple meetings, but everybody tries to key in on that sparkle that shows up in an enthusiastic newcomer. I remember being new on the scene, and Tommy spending 4 hour stretches with me, dinging my tecnique, and trying hard to get me to make something with a curve in it.
I'm going to miss Tom something fierce, but I guess who I am today has a chunk of his influence setting in my tools.
Save me a seat Tommy.
mike hricziscse

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