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I Forge Iron

How to tell if you, are a purist

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How to tell if you are a purist;
You only pull hot metal from a forge heated by coal.
Drilling requires you spin the bit by hand, like starting a fire with a bow string and a stick.
You still fly fish with a hand spun bamboo rod and your patterns are hook, thread and feather ONLY.
You still use hickory shafted golf clubs with a forged head, that looks rather like a butter knife.
Cut plug like “days work” is still the only way you fly.
If it don’t have points in the ignition system or it has a xxxx computer chip in it, it ain’t worth drivin.
Any more of these, and I’m not poking fun I’m headed this way myself.

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It is not "going commando", the proper phrase is "regimentally correct". As in UK regimental dress standards, as documented by many photographs available to those with enough google-fu.

I was questioned last week if I was going to wear one of my kilts for Saint Patrick's Day, and if so, what was worn under the kilt. Since this interrogation was being conducted by the the Dean's executive secretary and a group of other fearless women, the discussion quickly devolved to the point where the young female Security Officer had to excuse herself. Something about marching in parades and chafing........

And yes, I have attended Scottish Games in wool McPherson Hunting, and (blacksmithing content) forged in my cotton Utilikit, au natural. It ain't easy being breezy.

Whether coal or charcoal burns in your forge, you only use water or muscle power for your blower.
You only use water or muscle power for your Oliver or tilt hammer. Only the less pure would use a screw press, or (shudder) welded together treadle hammer. Steam-, air-, or electric-powered hammers are for heathens.
You collect dirt dauber nests for your flux for forge welding.
Stumps are the only acceptable anvil support.
You forge candle holders by the flickering light of a grease lamp. No modern kerosene for you!

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A Purist ? ..... No.

I'm a Pragmatist, ... and certainly a Traditionalist.

And I believe Traditionally, ALL Blacksmiths had to be Pragmatists as well, ... for the very essence of their Craft is to take something, and EVOLVE it into something else, ... that was needed.


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I love this kind of salty feedback!
Your favorite double has exposed hammers an bored 28 gauge.
Your trout still go into your wicker creel and you wade wet or not atall.
You spit only once and only at the start of the day into your slack tube.
Your files have only wooden handles.

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Since smithing was around for nearly 2000 years before they first started using coal for fuel and the very concept of a blower is centuries past that (Agricola had an air mover for mines that is the early form of a blower in De Re Metallica in the renaissance) I find your definition of purist most unpure!

And you didn't even mention using *only* bloomery smelted real wrought iron!

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Kilt jokes are they traditional? I'm thinking it was 95 or 96, I was demoing at the local Scottish games and a a Scot acquaintance was being a real PITA. He was, of course, wearing his kilt and harassing gals all round, his favorite line being, "do you have any Scot in you?" If they said no, he asked, "Want a little?" while lifting the front of his kilt slightly to make his point. Makes me wonder what kind of disorder makes a guy want to be thought of as a creep. Anyway, when he pulled his stunt on a gal in front of where I was demoing she replied, "No, a LITTLE won't do." It was wonderful the guy got laughed out of the games site, he was the joke of the day.

Oh yeah, the original question. A purist doesn't ask silly questions s/he has real things to do. Unless of course s/he's a kid and then his Father puts him to work.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Years ago I read of an Amish farmer that used the vacuum produced by the intake on an internal combustion stationary engine for automated milking.

There are many different "sects" of Amish, all with different limitations on which technologies can be used and how they can be used. Many will ride in a car, but not drive one. Many have a phone in their community, but not in their home. Some will use electricity for specific purposes, but not for others.

For most Amish the main point is to refrain from relying on outside resources for their perpetuation and to place the work load of subsistence on their own backs, not on that of machines. They of course also live in rather closed and private societies.

I think that most people who attempt to live "traditionally" are using the same principles as the Amish, the difference is that they, the traditionalists, do it alone and not in a closed group.

I often wear a hat and for about seven years had a long beard, so I was often told I "looked Amish" . When I went to pick my sister up at the airport, she said she didn't recognize me and thought I was "some Amish guy" . . . she never said what she thought an Amish guy was doing at O'Hare. . .

The above is to explain my research of the Amish, if you get called something long enough, you eventually just gotta know what it is you are being called.

I may not be a purist, but in many ways I am a luddite. . . well as much as anyone who is stating that they are a luddite on a website, using a computer and the internet can be! HA!!!

As a side note, has anyone ever heard of an Amish made anvil? Isn't it "traditional" for a blacksmith to forge their own anvil?

Caleb Ramsby

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