ciladog

I have a right to know what you know

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I for one, enjoy this site,I have met (in the flesh and in the ether)some really great people thanks to this site. I am also a believer in the addage "don't just stand there do something" and it would apear that many of the "joof" thinks that "resting" qualifies !
My experience worldwide has been that most smiths enjoy sharing(sadly in south Africa the metal industry as a whole does not) I supose it's a fear of competition- who knows? I have been fortunate to have made freinds with many exeptions.
I think we should all pay it forward in one way or another. It is after all "only knowledge" :rolleyes:

Despite the exchange rate I regularly contribute if donations are asked for(Origami Roofs have you?) However I find researching BP's daunting- probably my failing.(Glenn the book is'nt such a bad idea-- you and Andrew probably have tons of spare time.Ha,Ha)

I have at times thought comments from some somewhat caustic and uncalled for however great bushels of knowledge/experience was passed on none the less.
So if you don't get the info you need ----- think about it a bit and rephrase the question.

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A great master of a craft was in his studio with his apprentices, when a stranger comes in, and politely asks a question about a technique.

The maestro sits down with the man, and spends twenty minutes in personal dialog with the stranger, who then leaves.

An apprentice thens comes up and asks: "Why did you waste so much time with that fool, when you don't spend that much a week with any of us?"

The answer: "You get the benefit of watching my work from start to finish every day, and a word of correction or encouragement is all you should need if your eyes are open. He was polite and respectful. If he truly has the talent and experience to benefit solely from my words, then he is welcome to them. And if not, I have lost nothing, and perhaps gained a spokesman in return for my kindness. If I had turned him away in disgrace, he would have told the whole world what a miserable SOB I am for hiding secrets."

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I started on my first knife before i knew of this or any other sites........when mostly finished i knew it had to be heat treated and looked up some info---then asked the "question" (it was how to h/t a genaric type of s/s). all were nice in their answers and i found out what a dummy i was---and what a great storehouse of info was being provided ---- started reading and kept on reading and figured a few things out. I am still at a point that i have had only one forge weld be successful----and 3 attempts at making mokume have also worked. I also know the answers to most all questions can be found---sometimes you ask and hope the answer tells you more than just the answer. I don't post much--and of late i have not been doing all that much pounding (some health issues)but i always enjoy the reading.
take care and the best to those of you who have been thru this past weeks storms. mike

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Fer cryin out loud, this is a resource, on the internet. I learn lots of good stuff here. When I think I have something to add that might be helpful to others, I do. Isn't that what its all about here?

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There's a phrase that gets used in med school: "See one, do one, teach one" I think that's a pretty good strategy. Colin

We had that in the Army as well.
I have mixed feeling about that phrase and method...what it does is gets info out there fast..what it does not do is get deep wells of teachers out there at all.
I have had the fortune of finding some very deep wells of information in the folk I have called teachers and friends....they saw much, did many and do not much teach one as be one.

OR
to put it another way
"ya want your appendix taken out by someone who was taught by someone who did it once?"

Ric

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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 of my books, looked at a couple of forums and started to tell me how to forge things. He wanted to use my forge, anvil and hammer to make woodworking tools because he could forge better tools than he could buy! He did not want to learn the basics, he didn't need to. Some how I was always to busy for this.
The other one wants to learn from the beginning, He knows that I am a beginner my self but wants me to teach him what I can. I am looking forward to working with him this summer because I know that in helping him I will greatly improve my skills. Showing him what little I know will make me think more about what I do and how I do it. Also with an extra person to help I will be more likely to tacle larger, harder projects.
It is all about the attitude.
Jerry

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I've never understood the guys who think they need to guard their knowledge, ... and I won't comment on why I think they do ......

Yes, ... information IS power, and you probably worked hard to acquire it ... but sharing it costs you nothing.

You still possess that information, after you've shared it.


I too believe that it's important to "earn" skills, ... and therefor place an appropriate value on them.


But some people learn from study, ( Yes, ... I think reading these Forums is a type of study. ) ... while others can't quite grasp something, until they actually do it themselves.

Both systems have value.


I suspect that many of the Members on this Forum, who ask a lot of pretty basic questions, are younger guys, who don't have much "hands on" experience in ANY of the mechanical disciplines.

I further suspect, that the lack of "Shop Experience" tends to make them uncertain, and a bit apprehensive, about undertaking even very simple tasks.


The fact that they're interested enough to ask in the first place, is a very positive thing, ... and should always be encouraged.



.


.

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I have been a member for almost 4 years, but this is my first post on the forum.
I come to metal work through the foundry side rather than the smithing side, but the two fields seem to be slowly converging for me. I have been slowly learning blacksmithing for about 4 years now.
I belong to a few foundry forums also, and I find the different personalities of various forums quite interesting. I would describe this forum as a little bristly compared to my main foundry forum, but the issues people on this forum bristle about, are quite similar to what bothers folks on the foundry forum, the group's reaction is just a bit different.
Mind you, I am not criticizing in any way, I just find the comparison interesting.
On the foundry forum there is the same situation, the same beginner's questions asked over and over, but for some reason we are more prone there just to answer again, though occasionally someone will suggest searching the archives first.
I guess on my part, I have spent most of my life teaching one thing or another, so my first reflex is to answer a question.
I do however wish people would put in some basic research before posting questions, but I imagine in my case, my reflex will continue to override.
Part of this discussion put me in mind of the translations for one of the Japanese terms for apprentice as "one who steals secrets".
In many of the traditional Japanese trades, it very often happened that the apprentice was sent on some errand just as a critical process was to be done. The apprentice quite literally had to find ways to steal the secrets that the master jealously guarded.
I have never liked that approach, I am always happy to share knowledge, but when I teach something, I expect the student to put out the effort, both in physical work and the study and research needed.
That said, some of my most enjoyable times have been teaching foundry classes. And I guess my approach will be to probably just keep answering questions as they come.
Anyway, just my two cents worth, and I hope folks will not be too harsh if I come up with a question that I maybe should have been able to find the answer on my own.

Cheers, Carl

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Fer cryin out loud, this is a resource, on the internet. I learn lots of good stuff here. When I think I have something to add that might be helpful to others, I do. Isn't that what its all about here?


kevin - yeah i think it is :D

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I believe no one has any rights at all, we only have privileges depending on where and who we are.

You come into the world naked and most of us exit the same way, some may have bits of plastic, metal and silicone added,or bits missing but the principles the same.

As I get older my time is more precious, and is limited as to what of my knowledge that may be useful to others I can be pass on

I try to answer questions based on my experiences, or steer people in the right direction to gain the required knowledge, that may be reading or observing or doing.

I regularly look through the forums, some are beyond me, others I have relevant experience in, but I still learn as I go.

As a simpleton I tend to see things in black and white, yes or no although there are inbetweens and grey areas.

As a question arises I try to deal with that, then move on to other posts, there is a subtle difference between a question and a request.

A question has an answer, Can I? What if ? What am I ....etc

A request is asking for something that may or may not be answerable, or you don't want to respond to

So you get a post eg "I want to learn/am looking for all the information in this area I can get" so you steer them to the archives

This same request in then posted in a similar manner in many more sections, we get underlying message " I cant be bothered with that I want what you have now without making any effort.

If only we had a big hypodermic syringe that would suck knowledge out of one person and transfuse into another that may work, they reckon 'smithing is an addiction, and this would be one big fix.

So much better to have "I have read the (whatever) and am having difficulty ..." at least some effort has been put in into learning.

If others won't put the effort in, I am not going to waste what remains of my lifespan trying to help them, so I am not going to bother responding again until there is something specific /relevant to answer.

There are plenty more who are struggling for whatever reasons, but determined to get there, and to those I am happy to spend part of the rest of my life with, no matter how long it takes, because at the end of the day they will earn the ability they seek and a little bit of me will be there in them for them to pass on to others.


And to Yesteryear forge,

Should not "may the force be with you" read "may the forge be with you" ?

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john b is one of those treasures i was on about :)

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Thanks Beth, I am nothing special, I actualy know very little,

I can talk the talk, and maybe walk a little of the walk,

but, what I can do is to help people to become better than I am at what I do, and that is my privelege and reward, (and the tax man hasn't figured out a way of getting in on that reward yet. I don't measure success in monetary terms.

I would also like to acknowledge Glenn and Andrew for their efforts with the site. Without them all this knowledge stored here would not be as available as is

I salute you gentlemen.

Edited by John B

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Maybe the real question to me is, " does the net and access to places like this actually make me stop thinking ? " The amount of information on the net is of course staggering. Spell check corrects us. Some things are learned by experience (first person singular). The net has been well, hard to describe.

For those of you that have always had the net, you just type in the subject line. Those of us that are older had to wait to see that fella (or gal) that we thought might have the information we needed. This would require us to think perhaps differently. This is not a hard times speech, simply a way for you to perhaps understand.

The information I have acquired in my life has many times been given freely. Some I have worked for by studying, some by asking questions to folk that were indeed rude to me until they perhaps found out that I wasn't half as dumb as they thought. Being polite mostly solved this problem.

This rights thing is an issue that I will I guess not touch. There will be God Given rights. Some will disagree. So what. I have a personal foundation. My grown kids know where I stand and my grandkids are learning. My associates know where I stand. There will always be lifes issues. Sharing information about shop work is just part of life for me yes.

Placing principles before personalities is some days easier than others. Those first words in the last sentence are not mine but are part of my foundation.

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Ten Hammers,

I think your signature says alot about this subject.

You can't clear the water till you've got the pigs out of the creek.

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I read this forum constantly. I have read most of the postings for the last 3 years. This forum is a social gathering. There are people here that I consider friends, many of them probably don't even recognize my posts. I will miss Grant Sarver, I still miss Mike Ameling. There are people here who post things that I would never ever skip - either because they are so knowledgeable, or so entertaining. Brian Brazeal and Frosty come to mind. (Nakedanvil of coarse fit into both.) I am in awe of some of the stuff members here make. There are people that I wonder about- I can't remember the last time I saw a post from Charlotte - who used to be very active - and is also missed.
When you are new, a lot of the motivation to post is to be part of the conversation. When you are new, you don't know that the thing you are wondering about has been asked over and over.
I used to post more frequently, one day on one of the treads that I had started. The conversation moved to using a certain tool. It was a tool that I had never heard of - not a blacksmith tool. So I replied "What's a ......?"

The first response was "Google is your friend." That set the tone and nobody ever gave me an answer. (The responder was clearly not my friend.)

So, my takeaway was "You're not part of the click. This is our conversation now."
I am much more reluctant to post now that I have been put in my place.

Back to Ciladog's question. You don't owe anyone an answer. No one is entitled to your knowledge.
Those of us who have enormous amounts to learn appreciate it when knowledge is shared.
I love this site - I just wish it was a more comfortable and encouraging conversation sometimes. I often see the "tell me everything now" and the "I want to make a sword by next weekend." posts and I don't know how to respond - so I don't.
I liked the response above. "try this thread or search for this keyword." That tells them how to find what they need without sounding like "Don't bother me kid."

Also I can't tell you how many times someone has asked a question that could be considered a lack of working for it and it has started my mind down a path it would never have gone down with out that thought seed.

Bill

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I've never understood the guys who think they need to guard their knowledge, ... and I won't comment on why I think they do ......


Should this be applied to all knowledge? Some here earn their living via the knowledge and skills they developed. Some run schools to teach, some do specialized industrial forging so make propriety forgings for companies.
SmoothBore...I can think of the history of the firearm in terms of non-shared knowledge.

I think there is a difference between with what can and should be shared.

Ric

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This is a funny question. Just noticed it. I don't have any secrets. Anybody wants to know something, I will bore them to death. I talk so much that people think I cannot keep their secrets (but I can :) ).It doesn't seem that everybody has a right to your knowledge. But different people have different styles, and diversity is welcome. Someone once told me that not every question that is asked deserves an answer, primarily because the person asking is better off without the answer. For example, if Cornelius Fudge asks you where Lord Voldemort is, it would be better to answer: I thought he who must not be named met his final defeat by the boy who lived. He doesn't need the truth, he doesn't deserve the truth, and he cannot handle the truth. Plus, it's bad for you. There is a huge difference between easily doled out advice and hard earned lessons. For a gifted learner, however, there is less difference.

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I've lived in Yuma, AZ, population 100,000, for twenty years and have been blacksmithing 4 years. I've used the internet and my business contacts trying to locate others smiths. So far I've found one smith that is no longer active and learned that there isn't even a farrier in town. So much of my learning has been through 'failure". More importantly, much of my success can be attributed to IFORGE. The point being, IFORGE is an internet forum and as such, a social media. Its worth goes beyond just the information shared to include a sense of community with a passion (or obsession) for what we do which is why I log on every day. Yes, I've been guilty of asking naive questions and expect that I will do so again. Hopefully, someone will take the time to point me in the right direction or share a short cut or offer encouragement to try it one more time.

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Both myself and my wife got into smithing and woodworking through reenactment many many many years ago, some of what we have learned has come from books, some is self taught ( going out and finding out for ourselves) and some has come from what we have learned from others who have been willing to share their knowledge such as members of this site for which we are grateful.

Most of the traders and crafts people we know and work with are all pushing the mid to late 40's and there is a dearth of younger folks follow on which is something we often dicuss over the odd pint or three.

One thing that strikes a lot of us is the lack of education - over the past 15 odd years or so with the school leagues table it seems that schooling is more aimed at answering the test papers than learning for the sake of knowledge. Combined this with the pushing of the idea that there are no winners or loosers and they can have every thing on demand then we have a whole generation claiming 'their rights'.

If some one is keen to learn - even if they ask the odd stupid question ( who of us have not at some time?) then I am willing to help them But there are others we have met at Markets who have seen the historical furniture the wife has made and declared that they too plan to make furniture like this and can we let them have all of our sources and suppliers details????

I see the knowledge we have all gained not a right as some people believe but as a privlage that has to be earned.

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I find that I have to ask a stupid question now and again. If nothing else to get me closer to the RIGHT questions to ask. Google is your friend, but if your google is weak, or you keep getting boxed into the wrong set of deadend pages for what you are looking for it can get frustrating. All to often I can see in my minds eye what I want but just can't quite find the info. Its all about knowing the right terms/jargon for what you are doing. All it takes is a friendly bump in the right direction and a lot of us are off and running again.

This site is a marvelous resource. The people here are what make it doubly so. I just hope that everyone stays open and helpful no matter how pathetic many of us new guys seem.

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A story:

About eight years ago, my sisters, at the time, boyfriend asked me to show him how to forge an axe. Well, sure says I, more then happy too. When I asked him what type of axe he wanted to make he said that since he was a child he had dreamed of making a 100 lb axe. . . yes 100 lbs! I was a bit stunned and asked him what in the world he would do with it. He said that he would use it in the "play fighting" that he and a few friends did, sudo reenactments of Medieval sword play and such. I had to point out a few things, firstly one can't "play fight" with a 100 lb axe, even if it were dull it would cause severe blunt force trauma, secondly, my forge was not nearly powerfull enough to heat even part of a 100 lb axe, much less my anvil and hammers capable of forging it properly!

What I did was instruct him in forging a crude knife blank and gave him some advice and directed him to resources on heat treating and grinding the blank. Before we started I told him that "Even an idiot deserves a chance to learn. " I must admit that said statement was a bit harsh, but it was how I felt. I don't know if he continued down the blacksmithing or bladesmithing path, but at least he got the chance at a crash course in the basics of heating, holding and hitting metal.

I must say that this forum is very docile compared to the light steam power forums that I frequent. They have members which can be increadibly harsh to ignorant persons which are looking for or demanding outlays of knowledge, even at times some members demand that such persons be banned from the forum. I have never seen anyone here be banned because they are ignorant, instead they have been pointed to where the knowledge is.

Back to the original question. A cool litte "soup nazish" gyro place near me has a sign inside which reads, "If you are talking on your cell phone we reserve the right to serve the next person in line. " .

To that point, I can't say if people seeking knowledge have the "right" to acquire it, but I do know that those with the knowledge very much have the right to keep it to themselves!

Todd Marinovich, who was for a short period of time the Raiders Quarterback, ended up, for a number of reasons, quiting the NFL. He is an increadible athelete and quarterback, arguably one of the best that has existed. After he quit, he would be out and about and people would recognize him, become furious, walk over and say, "You should be ashamed of yourself! If I had you ability I would never have thrown it all away, I would have. . . "

Generally he would just smile, nod and walk away from them. In an interview he stated, "This really infuriated me! Although I was born with atheletic genes, I worked every day from when I was a tiny child on becoming a better football player. My very first steps were on a football field and for my whole life I had not only spent hours and hours everyday practicing, but had a very regimented diet as well. I didn't have a hamburger until I was away at college! The fact is that these people DIDN'T put in the work that I did, I didn't just magically acquire my abilities, they came from very hard work and thusly they were mine to do with what I wanted, NOT THEIRS! " That is paraphrasing a bit.

My point here is that although I try and share what very little knowledge I have with people, I also believe that those with the knowledge and ability have the right to keep it to themselves if they wish to do so. It is theirs and they earned it through their effort and work, even if the original knowledge was given to them freely, they earned their ability through their work and I am overjoyed and honered when they share it freely with such ignorant persons as myself.

Caleb Ramsby

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SmoothBore...I can think of the history of the firearm in terms of non-shared knowledge. I think there is a difference between with what can and should be shared. Ric


I think you're referring to "Proprietary Information", rather than basic trade-craft.

In my experience, the type of questions that appear on this Forum, tend to be of a fundamental nature.

Frankly, beginners asking questions, rarely know enough about the subject, to ask the kind of probing, insightful questions that would be necessary, in order to extract anyone's "Proprietary Information".


.

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A great master of a craft was in his studio with his apprentices, when a stranger comes in, and politely asks a question about a technique.

The maestro sits down with the man, and spends twenty minutes in personal dialog with the stranger, who then leaves.

An apprentice then comes up and asks: "Why did you waste so much time with that fool, when you don't spend that much a week with any of us?"

The answer: "You get the benefit of watching my work from start to finish every day, and a word of correction or encouragement is all you should need if your eyes are open. He was polite and respectful. If he truly has the talent and experience to benefit solely from my words, then he is welcome to them. And if not, I have lost nothing, and perhaps gained a spokesman in return for my kindness. If I had turned him away in disgrace, he would have told the whole world what a miserable SOB I am for hiding secrets."


Of all the comments on this thread this is probably the most notable and the most insightful. Thank You John--- I saved that jewel just so I never forget it ! I would like to think most of us live by that thought.

I'm new to this sandbox and I may have "stepped" on toes with some of my questions while attempting to learn and apply that knowledge to setting up something to work with. I'm fairly sure nothing I asked could remotely be considered as proprietary knowledge considering this forum and most of the internet is open to inspection. It's just a matter of access or where to find the answers..Any questions that weren't answered I subsequently found by simply searching the internet. It was time consuming,but worked to great advantage with exposure to more ideas and other sites to explore.

I've seen these same discussions on chopper sites...welding sites...woodworking sites...in general on any site. If information isn't desired to be shared that's perfectly fine...It's almost always freely shared elsewhere. I researched building a Cushman scooter last year and tried to find the frame measurements on numerous sites. You would have thought I was looking for design info on a nuclear submarine. Long story short... I bought a Cushman scooter took it apart measured the frame and drew up those measurements and posted them online. There are now archival answers to the question about those measurements.It cost me a lot of cash to do it,but is that information mine ? Not to my way of thinking..it was just my way of answering not only my question,but anyone elses that might be interested.

I hope everyone posting comments understands this is not a closed site and while non-members may not be able to comment here to some responses the entire world has access to read how everyone feels about these things. I'm an old fart and while some things may get under my skin for the most part I take things with a grain of salt.... There are a lot of potential members that may not care for the tone exhibited in this thread. I know there are some that feel that is perfectly fine.

I'm old enough to know I don't know everything ,but I have my points of knowledge and have no issue sharing anything I might have learned at any time without reservation... I've always wondered at the responses like "search for it" mostly I wonder "Why" bother posting at all if you don't care to converse or educate... Just leave it alone and go about your business and leave the responses to those that feel differently.

I do agree with those that commend the administrators with their endless efforts to provide this forum for discussion & knowledge. Most of us have little knowledge about the amount of time & energy this can take.... Thank You Gentlemen-- Most of us appreciate your efforts even though we may not express it.

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