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I Forge Iron

long but true


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I really like the line "There was more thinking going on at the bike shop than there was at the think tank."

I am afraid that, one day soon, we will not be able to find anything that has "Made in the USA" on it.

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Great article Jr. Thanks for sharing. I remember those diagrams that came with lawn mowers appliances an such. My dad has several three ring binders that he kept his in. Just about everything he bought could be referenced from those binders. It is sad that we are moving away rapidly from that kind of mentality. He still encourages me to try and fix something rather than buy a new one or pay someone to fix it

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That's why I used to haunt antique malls and pawn shops for tools, Leah. The older stuff didn't need a tag saying Made in USA. It was crafted by Craftsmen who had a knowledge of its uses and their was pride in assembling a tool that would perform as it was supposed to, right out of the box.
The Majority of my Hand Tools are OLD American made tools, my power tools especially are Old American made tools and even at their advanced age with proper maintenance are like the Energizer Bunny, they just keep on GOING, AND GOING AND GOING. There are good foreign made tools out there if you look around, but there prices are extremely high and they are usually MUTTRIC in dimensions, which to me means everything is Oddball.

I can remember when stuff made in Japan looked like and was JUNK. No one who had pride in their tools would even consider having anything with the made in japan label. I guess the Chinese have learned that lesson and do attempt to put out a reasonably well made product, but type of commie govt they have does not encourage Quality over Quantity as used to be the motto of Old US made products.

A lot of the furniture (JUNK) made in China is so poorly put together and so much emphasis is put on Quantity that the short cuts necessary for this type of production makes the product almost fall apart when it is being put together here in the US by the dealer or consumer. I know this for a fact as I used to do the repair for a large furniture dealer here.

Up until I was forced to quit work I would still look for older tools to rehabilitate for use in my business.

Black and Decker concentrated for years on cheapening their line of tools to lower prices and increase quantity for sale to the homeowner and hobbiest. In doing so they lost their reputation for Quality tools to the Real Craftsmen and in order to recover some of their reputation, ended up buying out the DeWalt line of tools to accomplish this feat.

A lot of the old Industrial Black and Decker stuff is real QUALITY, almost as good as the Sioux line of tools which is what most of my power tools are.

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Great article jr thanks for posting. Had to look up two words, thanks for them too! Re-read it at work last night making holiday pay....seemed fitting :D

Very interesting info on the history of the genesis of shop class and the good (and some not so morally good) reasonings behind it.

I work in a muncipial water treatment plant. Industry magazines are just now starting to address the issue of where the next generation of workers will come from. Sometimes to get under the bosses skin I will tell him I don't get paid for what I do (when he suggests it's not much) , I get paid for being ready (to fix things). The next generation coming up doesn't have the background to keep things running (and people do like to have their water) with a jumper wire, a piece of coat hanger, a roll of duct tape or a welder and a good scrap pile.

I'm still doing what my Grandma called "tinkering" when I would follow Grandpa out to his auto body/antique car rebuilding shop as far back as I can remember.

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I guess I was lucky enough to take auto class when they still taught you how to fix part and rebuild them, like brake master cylinders and other parts now replaced rather than fixed. I tinker on my own vehicles to keep them running and I wouldn't own a new car I couldn't work on myself.

I really like this article and have read it twice so far and will read it again with a dictionary and my thesaurus by my side. Some statements rang so true to me, I want to frame them on the wall so as to never forget them.

That whole part about "doing a good job just for the pride in doing a good job" and "for the job's sake" was as if I had written it myself. To do a job the right way and not the wrong way and hang the time required.

When I first moved here to Saskatchewan I took a job as a carpet cleaner for a while. I use to clean carpets for Eaton's years ago. This new outfit was so bad at cleaning carpets and more interested in volume business that I had to quit. Those guys are rip off artists who drag the machine over the customers carpet once and then explain to the customer that the dirt left behind would never come out. Argue till they were blue in the face for half an hour. Would have been faster for them to run the machine over the carpet a few more times. I took pride in my work and would do a job right so the customer was satisfied. I only did 3 or 4 jobs a day while the other guys did 6 or 7 and as many as 9 jobs a day.

I can't abide poor workmanship at all.

Thanks for pointing to this excellent article, irnsrgn.


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  • 2 weeks later...

There are several things going on these days in modern America that affect craftmanship.

One misconception is that many people believe their kids MUST have a college education to even think about earning a living. The truth is that many people have earned an honest dollar and lived a long fruitful life to retire on a blue collar income. Another truth is that many people can be very successful making a living with their hands but the public school system has no faith in vocational training (they also believe the college myth). Add to the mix that banks and other financial institutions already believe that manufacturing is going to China and other foreign spots and it's easy to see why some of these core values are disappearing. A large group of people make their income sitting in front of a computer but have no concept of much else.

Thanks for the article, Irnsrgn...I'm going to forward it to some other folks.

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This is changing though, and really depends on where you live. Here in BC housing pricing has gone over the top. A higher level blue collar worker making $30 an hour cannot buy a house unless their wife is also making a good living. Its a very sad thing. Kids are being raised in daycare instead of by their parents.

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