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With an Oxy-Acetylene torch, blue IS the hottest fire, 6000F+/-.

 

I have come to expect ignorance and apathy from the unwashed masses. I am amazed at the amount of mis-information (and misdirection to increase sales) spewed by some blacksmiths in public.

 

RennFaire blacksmiths who say that quenching a blade in motor oil will make the steel poisonous, so toxic that skinning a deer years from now will taint the meat. ('Cuz the metal is porous, don'tcha know?) So they use peanut oil, just the way medieval smiths did. (You don't have peanut allergies, do you?) Home made brake drum forge with a 1" pipe as the air supply, no attempt at disguise.

 

ACW site vendors selling Gin-U-Wine (MIG welded, cold bent, ground points, totally untouched by hammer and anvil) squirrel cookers, just like the ones our boys in grey carried as they marched behind Jeb Stuart. His business card billed him as The Blacksmith, and he had never heard of ABANA. Totally self taught, and proud of his 'period correct' display outfit: a hand-cranked rivet forge from the 1930's, the pan completely overfilled with cement or plaster of paris, except for a teacup sized opening. I thought he had a millstone in there at first.

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Several years ago I was doing a demo in the Alsace region of France, every thing was setup for the doors opening as normal - safety ropes up, extinguishes round the back just in case etc every thing to comply with my insurence.

Well the first group in trampled the safety ropes flat :blink: , barriers like that were totaly alien to them.

By the end of the weekend the safety ropes and posts were toast.

On the same weekend I was stood talking to one group when I heard the sound of my anvil ringing and turned round to find an old fellow forging away quite merrily - turned out he was a retired local smith who just ' fancied a go' for old times sake.

Honestly the whole idea of health and safety in europe seems to be that if you do it and get hurt then tough do not go blaming some one else for what you have done

Wayne

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A few years back, I has at the Highland Games in Ligonier, Pa. The was a smith set up doing a demo. I like to watch others work, learn some neat tricks that way. Anyway, The smith is whipping through making cup hooks and s hooks. He was using tongs for most of the work. This 20 something kids says loud enough for everyone to hear " He's not a real blacksmith! A real blacksmith only uses a hammer and shoes horses." I tried to explain to him how wrong he was but the smith just laughed and shrugged, said it happens all the time.

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this has been a very interesting discussion and humorous as well. have had quite a few chuckles as i read it. however seems to be getting hijacked by discussion temp of flame. good subject but maybe needs its own topic. :) i too have had interesting questions but so far not during demos as i havent done very many. mine were related to firefighting.

 

 

good idea topic has been split off as "temp and color"  in heat treat, general

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It seems that every time a set of adverts come on tv nowadays there is at least one advert for no win no fee lawyers saying someone is to blame.

For demos now I have to carry a minimum insurance of Five million pounds :(

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I recently read that the USA has 5% of the worlds population, and 50% of the worlds trained lawyers.  The same article stated that said lawyers consume approximately 10% of GDP.

 

I haven't encountered a situation where lawyers improved a problem that affected me directly.  I would imagine even a 5% hike in GDP would show up somehow in my daily affairs.  Least of all would be fewer advertisements from ambulance chasers.

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On a more serious type note about the modern sensory deprivation. A few years ago we had a wonderful young lady ( 19 YO) call us (contact by a mutual friend) and ask if she could come spend a month or so on the ranch to learn about the West. Would work for her room and board, didn't expect pay. She came from a quite wealthy family in the East, had traveled the world, etc.The simple things that I take for granted amazed her. A camping trip into the mountains where the milky way was an amazement - London, Paris, Istanbul, etc had light pollution. She'd never seen the Milky Way in spite of all her travel.. Asked what she enjoyed most, it was installing wainscoting in a guest house we were building. She'd never built anything useful before. She wanted to shoot a gun. I took her out, gave her a Model 76, Springfield trap door 45-70. She asked if it really dated back to 1876. I said well, the 1876-1890 period, but it was well over 100 years old. She was thrilled "My brothers will be so jealous!!". Wish more kids would reach out like this to learn.

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In a lot of cases, people are simply ignorant - not stupid or presumptious.  In those instances, it is a pleasure to educate them - it's no different than when we learn something we didn't already know.  One of the things I learned long ago is not to assume everyone is an idiot - because you'll often have an engineer or technician in the crowd who may not know blacksmithing but will recognize BS when he/she hears it.

 

The ones I laugh at the hardest are the know-it-alls...I was at a demo many years ago and the smith was forge welding cable for a knife blade.  A group of lady tourists walked by and stopped for a few seconds to watch.  An older woman leaned back to her friends and in a very loud voice said, "Nothing to see here, he's just making a horseshoe!".  They all wandered off chattering while the demo audience just guffawed.

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it sure works both ways..... I have seen smiths at demo/ re enactments, telling rollicking untruths, with all sincerity, un aware that actual trained blacksmiths were in attendance.

 

tour guides seem to take pleasure in misinforming tourists, a local train line was described as being built 100 years before European settlement!

 

and I have seen a steam locomotive engineer telling a film crew about the heat of the firebox on his locomotive- "it gets up to 2000 degrees celcius in there....."

 

the blind lead the blind.

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I have a little thing I put on my table at knife shows.  It's a 6 inch piece of steel, a little piece of nickel, and a block of wood.  There is a sign with it that says

 

Knife Kit

$50

Some assembly required.

 

I have people who laugh and smile, I have people look confused, I had one guy ask why my kit was twice as expensive as the one at the Texas Knifemakers supply table, I had one guy ask if it came with assembly instructions.  As often as not it's a good conversation starter, many people seem to think that I buy my blades and put handles on them, they often don't quite get it when I say I forge my own blades.  The visual helps.

 

Geoff

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I work at an oil refinery in the Pipe/Vessel/Tank inspection department.    Many of the folks In my department came up through the ranks as operators, welders, pipe-fitters and such.   Most of them find blacksmithing at least intriguing if not down right respectable.   We have a couple of Corrosion and Materials engineers in the group and they at least understand blacksmithing as forging and get that whole running the colors bit.    I haven't got any dumb questions from them at all.   In fact one is a knifemaker and I am probably headed over to his house today or tomorrow to check out his set up.  We are going to be making two knifes from the leaf spring that I flattened for him in my gas forge.

 

Anyway, not meaning to just be contrary but there are some folks out there who get it!   As a mechanical engineer by schooling and as their "Manager" this also helps me be part of their club so to speak.  I hate that title!   I have a clue what they have done in their lives and they know I have a clue.   We get along great!  .

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In my line of work, I am around a lot of people from the "general public". It never stops amazing me how some of them make it (at all) in life. They expect almost everything handed to them, and RIGHT NOW! . People are in a hurry and just think about themselves. At first I thought it was just in my line of work, seeing this thread has made me laugh a few times, and reassure me its not the case. I'm only 27, not saying I know it all. I am by no means perfect

 

I took some shop classes in middle/high school. In my metals class our "big" project was a copper sprinkler that was soldered together. It was a neat idea, but that was a "small" project in my eyes. Then we bent cold steel with a machine. This shows the basics, yes, but anything after that you where on your own. It was enough to get me into craving more. Now I see that schools are not funding simple programs like this any more. They want to invest more into sports. ( At least where I lived) That is all fine, but what about the kids, or even adults for that matter that are not into the sports side? Give them options! Its no wonder that there is a lot of ill-informed people in the world. Art/music programs where being cut when I was in high school, to give more to the football programs.

 

So when I get the people that are asking the "you kidding me?" questions, I can see why.

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I thought -or at least hoped- that the excistence of people that actually believed that food (especially meat and fish) is made in the grocery store was a modern myth intended to poke fun at urbanity.

But now I'm beginning to wonder if there's truth to this?

How is that possible, I know you hunt and fish in the US, just like everywhere else? (except maybe the Netherlands (Holland), they are very anti-hunting, but I still think they know what a fish is and how to prepare it)

And you have butcher's shops and fish stores? Or do these poor ignorant souls only have access to vacuum-packed, unidentifiable chunks of meat and fish?

 

I'm glad to report that I have not been asked questions that raised my eyebrow yet. I have heard the "grandpa was a blacksmith", once , but over here it was really rare to find a specialist blacksmith, most farmers had their own forge in which they did just about everything that didn't involve too much skill. Few knew how to weld, and hardening and tempering was a closely guarded business secret which gave the few specialized smiths "their edge" so to speak, all the way into modern times.

In the department of wood, however, it seems Norwegians have really lost much of the knowledge that once excisted. PVC windows, MDF interiors and copper-salt impregnated wood exteriors is where it's at..

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Stefflus, the percentage of the American public that has no clue, no imagination and no curiosity is truly frightening. And no, butcher shops and fishmongers are now only found in minority communities and/or high end clienteles. The only folks that want to be involved or even see me actually process a chicken are my Islamic friends, who brought their kids to my farm to see where meat comes from. (They had to be involved to make the meat halal.) The rest want eggs in a carton and the bird in a bag.

 

Modern US farms are factories now. The only old-fashioned farms are hobbies, and staffed open air museums where kids are bused in for a few hours to see live free range animals. (Probably for the first time in their lives.) And with luck, the occasional blacksmith or other 'extinct' trades.

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John, generally I agree with you.

 

But.........there is a large resurgance growing of agricultural in the urban sprawl by people that want to get into it in areas that traditionally you wouldn't. My wife does a brisk business over the warm months with people wanting to raise backyard chickens or buy local food. We sell 'em rabbits, chicks, and i've even got into beekeeping a little (with mixed results).

 

It's by no means universal, but the demands have changed, and they've amended the laws and zoning restrictions a lot of places around here to let people do larger gardens, keep bees and small numbers of livestock in their yards rather than regarding them as a nuissance and banning them. My wife and I are still arguing about goats. (she's for, and I'm convinced they're evil. like Walmart evil. Or worse.)

 

I get a few good questions though. "So you sell chickens?" (whilst looking at the sign saying we sell chickens.) "Are those real eggs?" "Are they free range?" (while watching them walk around outside).

 

My kids know very well where their meat comes from. They sometimes go vegetarian for a day after watching, but they know where it comes from. (and nowadays I know to reduce the chickens food intake a day or two before killing it and to be careful where pointing it's backside.......)

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Goats make Walmart look like a good thing!  Goats are browsers not grazers as such they much prefer rosebushes and fruit trees to grass.  If you don't have them they will gladly climb fences to get to your neighbors!

 

I would point out that just because you have some chickens about doesn't mean that all the stuff in the packages came from them.  I have run into a number of folks whose sales outstripped their production capacities and made arrangements of various levels of evil.

 

My wife is a spinster and was the vacation milker for a friend's goat dairy to boot and goats are evil; save for when you need to clean out an old pasture trying to go back to woods, or a poison ivy infested plot and you still need to watch them all the time in case they decide to go walkabout to eat the neighbor's stuff instead.

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"Carbon Packing" - This is, apparently, one of the newly discovered secrets of the Ancients.  I was on another forum the other day when I member posted a nice knife he'd just completed.  It looked decent, imo, and showed that he had a decent level of skill, though he admitted that he was still learning.  Anyhow, during the WIP he mentions the final step at the forge, carbon packing, wherein you bring your blade to a dull red and then rapidly hammer along the edge to "pack the carbon molecules tighter" in that area.  

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they used to call that edge packing too, still false, you can not  pack them any closer. people can be amusing. Tho it does have some effect, just not in what he thinks, its technical term is Ausforging, good for reffining the edge, smoothing out the final finish.  but it does not effect the molecular density

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