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i think its all in the way your asking - i have never been given the cold shoulder on here, despite sometimes asking the obvious (often doing that) mostly people are very generous (and remarkably patient) with their teaching, and SOOO helpful, if it is clear you are trying to learn in earnest, i think its obvious when someone is wasting time.. like the guy who just put up all the give me the basics posts - thats just daft, but he will learn that fast enough! thankyou to all those who have repeatedly answered all my elementary questions, there are lots of you! it has helped and encouraged me more than i can tell you :)

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I have only been smithing for about 6 months. I have had 2 younger men interested in smithing,neither had ever looked at a forge except mine. One was not interested in "learning" he looked at a couple

I know that I will ruffle a bunch of feathers with this post but I have been thinking a certain way for a while reading posts on IFI for the years that I have been a member. Let me say, at the onset,

All we truly have on this earth is our time; people who ask us to spend it on them are asking for our most precious possession often we are willing to share it but we don't want it wasted! Heinlein

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but reading is not trial and error.
it is studying theory.
sure there are people who dont want to find archived posts, but that is not the point either, if you dont want to waste your time answering, it is simple, dont answer. someone less fed up might direct them where to go, or out the door....
understand the nature of the "youngins" poor education has gotten them where they are.
poor education will not get them further.
if a bar is bent, do you throw it in the scrap, or do you attempt to straighten it?
some of these replies state that a lot of peple would throw away valuable (if slightly bent) new stock....

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mark and woody - that of course is the other side of the coin, and i absolutely agree with you - and i think its a huge shame and gross exaggeration to label 'the yoof' as the main perpetrators of this problem - i could not disagree more - and anyone who takes a condescending tone would be better just not responding - so unproductive - and such bad vibes man ... :)

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I'm sorry BR1o1 but I don't see any logical link between what I posted and "by your logic you should just stay silent and let people subtle along and make up their own idea for a anvil"

And when I try to get people to "think out of the box" I generally try to give an example---hence the $25 anvil that works great rather than waiting on a several hundred dollar London Pattern to show up...And I admit to a partiality for that example as I am the Thomas mentioned in it and the one who found and drug out the first tine all by myself---even moved it to NM from OH.

Perhaps this is just cross reading of ours or think of it as "Inconceivable!" and Inigo Montoya...

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i just spoke to kisten last night ( the poster of the daft posts) he is a well meaning individual. and he was asking the right questions on chat, he seems to be a little wet round the ears, but not daft. i dread to think of the responses he gets.


Mod Note: Kisten placed 7 copy's of the same daft post across 7 places in the forum, they have all been removed, If it happens again his account will be flagged as a spammer. Daily we delete more spam posts than most could imagine. To prevent clutter from making this site even larger and harder to navigate.

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i have never been given the cold shoulder on here, despite sometimes asking the obvious (often doing that) mostly people are very generous (and remarkably patient) with their teaching, and SOOO helpful


As long as you don't ask how much your anvil is worth, how to heat treat, or that you want to make a knife or sword with little/no experience.
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I have wasted my time with some folk and I have invested my time with others.
I have no issue with anyone asking anything...I have great issue with snide comments and demands when answers were not given.

What I have noticed in my little corner of the universe is that folk are very willing to share things they have learned from others, but very quiet when sharing things they have figured out. I see this in the knife world A LOT.
I have had some whom I have helped along do something interesting and when I asked how they did that I have been told "well it took me a while to figure that out"...I tell them that I too had to spend time with R&D and they have benefitted from that information....if we do not reach an understanding then they stop getting info from me.
I have had some end relationships at that point....sort of defines the terms of the relationship retroactively.

On more than one occasion folk I have never met show me something and explain that they learned it from X...no mention that I was the one who showed X....when you encounter that form of short term memory loss it make me wish to stop sharing entirely.

Ric

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Two cents here from a newbie... What you're annoyed by isn't limited to this forum. It's a chronic problem with software and computer systems where someone turns up who can't put together a coherent question or won't take the time to research their own problem before asking. Responses like "RTFM" (read the "fine" manual ;) ) or "LMGTFY" (let me google that for you) are common. If the person comes on with an attitude or sense of self-entitlement they can forget getting help (and sometimes you just want to reach through the screen and throttle them). On the other hand, if they've done their homework-- read a book or three, tried several things, searched the web-- and can "show their work" by asking a good question then people generally go out of their way to answer. It's usually appreciated not just by the one who asked the question, but by the dozens of others who quietly stumble across it later.

I know I do when I'm out of my area of expertise.

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I like it when the grumpy old farts share stuff. One day I'll be one. I feel bad that I don't contribute as much as others. Sometimes its because I want to save face, other times, its because I don't want to look like a copycat. Bottom line is I like metal. I want to do artful stuff. I yearn for my own originality.

I am still new to this community, and have alot of questions. Realized, and unrealized. Most times a new person dos'nt have anything to contribute but questions. If you feel that answering someones question in their thread wastes your time, then don't post. Don't act like it was such a waste of time reading their thread (which you clicked on). If you do feel compelled to reply to a newbies inane question, I would submit that it be done with some tact. Unless of course you want the group of smiths to stay small.

This is a good resource, and I'm glad its here for others (myself included) to browse.

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There's another thing to take into consideration here. A whole new language has developed in the last 5 years or so due to the increased use of smart phones and other hand-held devices that are much harder to type on. Rlonstein gave a couple of example of the 'new language'.

People are now taking shortcuts with their electronic communications because it's easier than typing everything that you would verbally say. My wife is usually a stickler for grammar and sentence structure, but when she sends me an email from her Blackberry instead of typing 'are', she will just use 'r'. People will leave out entire parts of phrases out of convenience.

I think that this new language is also misleading in that the shortcuts will give the impression that the other person is being rude (when they are actually just being 'lazy'). I don't agree with the shortcuts as I feel that a lot of the meaning and tone can be inferred from the wording and language you use, but I also understand that millions of people are changing the way they communicate. I'm not going to stop it so I might as well roll with it. I'm not going to join in though.

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mark yes your right, and i always brace myself for the enthusiastic individual who reveals their dream of making a sword - i have said many times on here that to squash another persons enthusiasm is a horrible thing, and totally pointless, just shows up chips on shoulders in my oppinion. but i know who i can ask for what on here , and have repeatedly for instance, asked about heat treating ( not swords, god help me) and once you know who is who you can choose who you ask, and do it in the chat :) thats my method, i understand that some do not want to answer those questions again, it takes a VERY special person to patiently teach, which is why i appreciate it so much when i get the help im after. i think mostly if someone is really keen, they will ignore the wisecracks and put downs, and seek out the individuals who can see through their 'wet behind the ears' and remember what it was like to be overwhelmed by how little you know. those that are not still learning are of no real interest to me personally.

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lets see if this gets my tail bitten off
i dont think anyone has a right to demand the knowledge of someone ells

but for myself i can read a book cover to cover and i will not retain nearly as much as being able to watch someone using a skill and ask questions about the applications and pit falls of what they are doing

i have been very fortunate to have me many people who enjoy sharing knowledge and in many cases its been a two way street

almost everyone has a skill set and many times while someone will not know how to stick weld they can show me a better way to do say carpentry finish work

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this is a difficult craft to even approach. Almost everything in this forum would make no sense to me without a basic understanding of metallurgy and having been instructed by an actual blacksmith both gained from college. I think that a great number of questions rise here on the forums because the blueprints have been all but abandon. when I fist joined i forge the blueprints were in good order, easily accessed, and reduced the amount of junk posts here. as far as I can tell the blueprints have been all but abandoned except on tuesday at 9 oclock central standard time. Too be honest this forum has declined in the going on three years that the blueprints have been removed. now adays it is just rumor. why can't the new blueprints be permanently added the day of reveal. I think glen and them are deliberately holding the blueprints back to write a book.

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My impression of beginners' questions is that they're designed not so much to get at useful information as to strike up a conversation. As a beginner, there's nothing you can say to your elders and betters that they haven't heard; the only way to get involved is to ask foolish questions, because you don't have the knowledge that would let you ask worthwhile questions. It can be irritating, and I'm certainly guilty of it myself, but I don't think it's the end of the world.

The idea that one would not seek out others' knowledge generally is complete folly. Learning is iterative - you ask the best questions you can, then you try to apply the answers, and then you find out what you should've asked in the first place. Much later you find out what the answers actually meant. If you're immortal then certainly you have the luxury of doing everything for yourself, never asking the advice of experienced people, fumbling blindly until you hit upon solutions to your problems. But if you're interested in learning and improving as much as you can in a regular human lifetime, you can't afford to be a hermit. The Industrial Revolution did not occur as a result of everyone refusing to speak to one another.

And let's forget about rights. I don't have any right to ask anything of any other human being. What I have is necessity, and persistence.

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There is a rather fine line here between asking questions that one should be able to easily answer with the vast quantities of knowledge available to one and all and asking specific questions about a specific process that one is having difficulty figuring out.

Personally I spent a year and a half studying a dozen or so blacksmithing books before I put a bit of stock in a fire. I must say that I learned more in the first two weeks of working at a fire, then I did in the year and a half reading! What I learned is that half of the stuff in the books was hogwash and the other half was gold, it just took my actually doing it to be able to tell the difference. Of significance however is that without the book learnin' it would have been much more difficult to initiate those first two weeks of work and I wouldn't have known what to do when to what. The study gave me a great advance of "static" knowledge, the work gave me a little bit of "dynamic" knowledge.

Once I really got going I more then less quit asking questions on the web(at that time IForgeIron didn't exist, it was mainly AnvilFire) and started answering them. What really floors me is that every few months I check to see what is being discussed at AnvilFire and virtually every time they are discussing the same things as they were 10 years ago when I first started!

A number of times on here people have asked increadibly basic questions and I have pointed them to their local library and linked them to a few free blacksmithing books on google books. Sometimes they have responded with, "Yes, I already read them and I have this and that book too. " Well, they may have "read" them, but they sure didn't "study" them! If they had then they would have no need to ask the basic question, the answers are in the books.

To me the greatest value of this website and online community is seeing so many different styles of work and of working the metal. A book, however valuable the information in it, usually only shows the style of work and working of the smith who wrote it. Here, every time someone shows a new piece or new(to them or otherwise) technique, they are increasing the knowledge of hundreds or thousands of smiths across the world.

That, I believe is the true value of this website, not in responding to bad questions with good answers or responding to good questions with bad answers, but instead in the expansion of ones perception of what blacksmithing can achieve.

Caleb Ramsby

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Sask Mark---I find that so very funny as we have letters from my Grandmother written over 70 years ago when airmail was expensive and you wrote on onionskin paper to conserve weight that used the very same type of contractions; U C?

Not to mention the commercial code books designed for use with the telegraph where one word could actually stand for "Arriving Tuesday Pick Me Up at Train Station"

And of course medieval and classical latin documents are often rife with various contractions.

As for learning methods:

"There are those who can learn from books and those who can learn by watching others; but some people just have to pee on the electric fence themselves."

However I fail to see where reading something in a book is that different form reading it on a screen---and if you have a kindle then the difference narrows even more!

So I am puzzled by the "I can't read books, type the information onto the screen for me" which often leaves out a lot of the details as nobody has the time to type in say 900 pages of heat treating data so you can discern the proper temps, quenchants and pre and post processing for every alloy commonly used for knives...Now if someone asks "Should I normalize S-1" then it's easy enough to give a discrete reply "S-1 does not profit from Normalization according to the ASM Handbook" Is the distinction clear?

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This post seems to be getting a bit serious.

First thing, all on here are present because they enjoy smithing. I enjoy learning it, I have also enjoyed passing on the basics to friends and their children, just drawing down, upsetting and so forth.

I’m not thick, in working life I have even earned the right to be called ‘Learned Counsel’, but on IFI so what? On here I’m an enthusiastic amateur who, although well able to digest a book or do a web-search, sometimes can’t find an answer to sometimes simple questions. Therefore I refer to the pooled knowledge on here. And, so far, have always had constructive and polite replies.

If anyone on here gets irritated by repetition of questions or seemingly daft ones, so what? They can go to a different thread and learn something themselves or just have a chat.

IFI is, without any doubt, the best thing in blacksmithing on the net.

I would argue that the industrial revolution occured in the greatest part because of freedom of thought and the communication of ideas.

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I am not big on trial and error which is why I answer so many questions in areas I have experimented in over the last 30+ years of smithing---a lot of experimental archeology gets you into areas where there are no books!

However to profit by previous experience, (yours or others) you have to go out and *DO* *STUFF*! Sitting in front of a screen only takes you so far. (The classic example of this was a number of folks at demos telling me they "knew all about blacksmithing as they had done it in a videogame". My stock response became to offer them the forge, steel and tools and ask them to show me something. It becomes quite apparent that videogames currently do not teach smithing. On the plus side some of these people then will ask about proper instruction!


Anyway I'm off for the weekend---working on a 1570's kitchen, (The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi), on Saturday and teaching smithing all day at the local University on Sunday.

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