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I Forge Iron

Blacksmithing gems and pearls


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I think one of the gems of blacksmithing is to see the enthusiasm of a young person with a passion for the art. There's a young fellow lives in a nearby town who has been wanting to visit my forge for some time. I allowed him in and he hammered out quite a respectable snake-head poker, while giving me full details about the make and weight of the anvils in the shop. He 's obviously well read and knows more about anvils and tools than I ever will. He's working with a brake drum and a hair dryer at home so he was happy to be around my forge. Visitors really appreciate seeing a youngster having a go, and he's happy to talk with them and explain what he's doing. He's been back a few times since and he's welcome again.

He usually emails me after each visit. His last:

Thank you so much for having me at the Village forge. I really get a special feeling when I’m in the Smithy.

That, from a 12 year old, is a gem.

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I had this from my smithing instructor at Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School, Chuck Pressnail. This was the first time most of us had put hot steel to hammer and anvil. "OK, you have 1 hour to make a perfect horseshoe." 1 hour later I had a roughly rounded 90 deg hunk of metal. Chuck then says, "I lied it will take you your whole life to make a perfect shoe and then you wont notice when you did. Save that shoe so you can see how far you have come."

I still have that "shoe"

Another one from Chuck that I still use is " you can only bend metal up." Meaning that if you want to tweak your heals on a shoe (or any other piece of work) hit the low side to bring it even. (My modification was "Yeah unless you get it hot and use the edge of your anvil.")

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You know that you live in the boonies when you only have to lock your house and car in the summer to keep people from "gifting" you with baskets of zucchini.  John McPherson

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I saw a sign years ago on a picture of an old blacksmith banging out a horseshoe at a place i worked at when in school. It said Temper at a critical moment brings out the best in steel, and the worst in people. I have always remembered that.......

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As my grandfather would tell us kids "You will learn a lot more if you keep your yap shut and ears OPEN."

 

60 years later I find he was correct but would add Eyes OPEN as well.   

 

A valid version of the "God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason," adage I heard so often I used to cringe every time I opened my mouth when I shouldn't have. I'm kind of surprised my face isn't stuck in a permanent cringe.

 

I don't know how keeping your eyes open fits mouth closed so well unless it's a visual conversation. As in; look at this, this is what's going on. I'm thinking "Shut up and pay attention" about covers it.

 

Then again if I were as smart as I thought, folk wouldn't have been saying that to me so often eh? Teenagers! <sigh>

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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In reply to a question about casting iron:

 

Just spilling 10lbs. (about a coffee mug worth) of molten iron on a damp surface or bare concrete is the short course to Hell on Earth. Don't be the star of the show.  Frosty

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Time and exposure will sort out the “DREAMERS” from that of true craftsman who have rightly invested themselves in the craft of Forging (One who is called a Blacksmith). Ted T

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I will admit that I did not read every single one, so forgive me if this is a repeat of sorts but:

 

I learn more correcting my errors than following my successes. 

 

My most profitable learning process is failure analysis. I should have multiple PHDs. So, okay I forgive you. <grin>

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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