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I Forge Iron

I learned a lesson today

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The lesson is patience, again. Everything is patience. It has been a big nemesis in my life. Blacksmithing is no different. Today I had some, what I thought at the time, simple projects in mind. A RR spike knife. Not finished, but to the point where I could spend the week grinding and polishing. I thought I had it to that point then I had an idea for the handle and realized I needed a new tool for it. This frustrated me. This project got put on hold for a bit.


Second I thought about taking a ball peen hammer I got from the flea market and trying to make a hatchet out of it. Fail. I thought I knew the basics of what to do to shape it. I still think I do, but I definitely do not have the practice to do it right yet. Several things happened today to throw this project way out or whack. The first and formost: Kids. They constantly wanted attention. They demanded it at times. I of course obliged but reluctantly because the metal was in the fire. This lead to my first burn. Second was my dog Buck. He is a blue healer of 9 years old and obsessed with me kicking a soccer ball for him as I have for 9 years in the past. Go figure. This lead to my second burn of the metal. The 3rd burn happened due to my wife. She tried so hard to leave me be for the day, but my presence was needed a few times throughout the day, leading to my 3rd burn of the hammer and loss of material. I thought I could save something but in the end it went in the scrap pile. 

3rd lesson of the day. I made a leaf key chain for my wife last weekend and it came out beautiful in my opinion. I was really pleased with it and quite a few others were as well. I decided I was going to finish my day by making more of these for the family and friends who had requested them. I started out with smaller material than I had on the first to try to make something a bit smaller. Constant distractions kept this from coming out the way I had done things the first time. I cut off the leaf and started again with larger stock. I figured more material, less mistakes. This was not the case. The kids started fighting and I kept having to break up things that did not make sense, like I am Michael Myers and you are Freddy Kruger, and I am a fairy and I can bring you back to life so you need to come back to life. This was all followed up by screams and crying and I'm not your sister any more's and if you do not stop Im gonna tell Dad's. My leaf's were definitely not taking shape today. I ended up putting one in the bath and one on the Xbox and the dog in the house to watch the kids. 


Back to the forge I went. I started a new leaf. This time I took my time. I hammered slowly. I watched my heat. All this frustration in side me and I took it out on the metal. I realized this with every ring of my hammer. I stopped. Looked back at everything I had done for the day and sighed. I knew right then and there that I was tired. I was frustrated. I was annoyed. But not at my family. Not at my dog. Not at the metal for not doing what I wanted it to do today. I was frustrated with myself for being upset. For being frustrated. I was tired of getting upset. Here I was doing what I have come to love with the people I love the most and I was upset? Shame on me. There should have been a smile on my face all day. Every time one of the kids had a problem of were fighting I should have turned off the air and gone and sat with them and worked it out. Every time Buck wanted me to kick the ball for him I should have turned off the fire and kicked it a few times. Every time my wife wanted me to help her or talk to her or just smile and kiss her cheek I should have. I can always light another fire. I can always hammer later.


All in all today was an exercise in patience. I need to remember to be patient with my family. With my dog. With my work. And more importantly with myself. Just remember to not forget those that support you in your craft. They are there for you always.


Below are today's lessons!!!





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Greetings J,


After 40 years at the anvil I have learned that sometimes its best to set you hammer down and walk away...  On the other hand I have been known to wake up at 2am after dreaming about a problem and you guessed it back to the forge...  If your state of mind is not right stay away from hot things and things that hurt...  Old boys advise...


Forge on and make beautiful things


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I am proud of you.
I have less than a decade on you, but for the better part of 5 decades I have struggeled with type II by polar illness and ADD. Ad to that PTSD, a bit if obsessiveness, and en ex with a persanality disorder, as well as a step-daughter witht he same and another with CP. I long ago learned the lesson you did today.
Forgive yourself for letting your flustrations get the better of you. From now, forward you have the opertunity to be a better man.

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I see it  a lot with students who are just trying too hard. The more they "push" to make progress, the worse they get. Some times they need to just walk away and do something else for a while to clear their mind before going back at it.


I try and remember this when I'm having one of "those" days. Some times the fastest way to get things done is to simply not do them right now. Some times that means doing something else for an hour or two and some times it just not the day to be doing that particular thing.

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Glad you learned the lessons presented today. May I suggest that you keep your object lessons in plain view to remind you of today....maybe you won't have to sit through that class again.


How did you fair through the floods down there? My oldest brother n sister-n-law had her car and 5th wheel camper totaled. They full time RV now and were set up on the San Marcos river. They had only been back in Texas for maybe a week or 2.

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I survived fine. I am up on a hill and have a direct route to the highway if needed. I don't even really have to go through town. This was not nearly as bad as the flood of 98 but it was pretty bad. I knew there was some bad spots but nothing like that. That's the first I have heard of any real damage done. A few people had water get up in the house a little. The in-laws had it coming up into their garage a few feet, but that's normal with a bad rain.

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