Jump to content
I Forge Iron

a quick (and meaningful) rant


Recommended Posts

I did this on my blog,




About 6 months ago, i realized i was a pathetic human being playing video games all day. My favorite video games were RPGs and i loved the idea of blacksmithing. so, i always maxed blacksmith skills first. I finally found myself weak and a bit chubby, and decided to pursue smithing in real life.



I cannot believe I was dumb enough to follow the crowd. I HATE that i could be doing something in real life that would survive many years after i died and have fun making it. I HATE that video games give you a false sense of achievement. Once you get bored of them (and you will), you just sell them or throw them in a closet, never to be played again.

I have seen and felt myself getting stronger and being MUCH less depressed. It has helped me to the point that it saved me from suicide one day. with Seasonally affected disorder (get said in the winter), smithing gave me something else to think about until I felt better.

Thanks you everyone at IFI for giving me the info to have this opportunity

-Adam Ford

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Every blacksmith will leave a tangible legacy behind in all of the products that we make.  Some items will be masterpieces, some will be crude scrap.  We can all strive to improve in all we do.  This activity will definitely keep the brain and body energized and active.  Keep reading, learning and striving to improve in this and all facets of life.  I know I will never be bored in all of my woodworking and blacksmith.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While pushing a game button is not exercise. Swinging a hammer is exercise AND changes your attitude, as you found out. That simple little S hook can become a family heirloom cause you made it, and it held the house plant for so many years. 


Mad at the world? Build a fire and within 20 minutes of hammering you will have forgotten who made you mad, what you got mad about, and feel better all at the same time. Plus you ended up making something, and got the creative juices flowing in a positive manner. Everyone wins. (grin) Did anyone mention that blacksmithing is addictive? Must be that black coke (BIG GRIN)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to deal with Depression, ptsd, anxiety, suicidal thouts etc every single day. I spend hours and hours in my shop and while working, as Glenn stated, I find some kind of sanctity. If I work really hard, at the end of the day I am too tired to have my thoughts racing and driving me nuts. Smithing is definitely an amazing medium to deal with anything that is troubling you. Hate the world? Beat a hunk of steel into something beautiful and useful until you are too tired to hate anymore. Hate is a very exhausting emotion and I find if I tire myself out, I also tire out my ability to stay angry. Don't sweat the time you feel like you wasted because you are young enough you will find years down the road that it wasn't really wasted time at all. If it got you to pick up a hammer, I would say it worked out just fine. I know sometimes its hard, but instead of getting hung up on your past, think about it as how you got yourself where you are right now (an up and coming smith). Keep your head up and forge on!

-Crazy Ivan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is also the touch factor where you, thorough blacksmithing, touch the lives of others. It can be a gift, it can be teaching someone hot to get set up and forge on their own, or it can be listening to the blacksmith that can no longer swing the hammer but remembers all the tricks of the craft. 


Remember the days of old where the blacksmith shop was the center of the village. Most everything passed across his anvil in one way or another.


It is a strange craft indeed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The fact that the Blacksmith Shop was the center of any village like Glenn says above is still true today in our area. 


I live in a very small hill town in VT and had a new Blacksmith Shop built in late Nov early  Dec.  I permitted it as a shop and no one asked what kind as I have other shops on the farm mechanical repair or storage so it went right through.  When the word got out at the general store everyone started asking my son about it being a Smith.  He said he couldn't get in or out of the PO or store without someone stopping him.     Can we stop in to visit when your there? what ya going to make?(smoke, noise, & scrap is the reply) and the most interesting " I've got ?????? that was my fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers would you like it?  Didn't know what I was going to do with it, I'll drop it off, come pick it up. 


The most interesting was from a local Farrier who said he knows where the Original Forge that I use to crank the blower on for his grandfather 58 yrs. ago  is, would I like it?  Some family member has it and doesn't want it.  I don't need it but told him It would go in my museum which he said was fine they didn't want it going to scrap.  One day my son will have to worry about keeping it out of scrap as he agreed to it as well. 


My old neighbor(86) on my first farm asked it he could come in and smell the coal fire burning that he remembered from being a kid in the village shop.  He said he also has a welding table of his fathers we can pickup when we get the floor in.  With everything being talked about I'm  afraid my 16'x20' shop is already too small and I don't even have all the gravel in it much less the floor!  Floor or not I get 3-4 people every weekend that I'm home stopping in to see the new shop!


I would say there still is a lot of interest in Blacksmiths and smithing in todays high speed world.  And Yes I know all about the liability problems of having people around, we'll work on that carefully. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hammering hot iron/steel is very therapeutic I find myself in a meditative state soon after starting the fire. If something is bothering you it just can't last at the anvil the most important thing a person must have to forge is control and you can't control anything else till you have control of yourself. Still if something is bothering you so much even fire and forge can't get it out of you, smithing puts a person in the perfect state of mind for problem solving so whatever that pesky little thing is You'll probably have come up with a satisfactory solution. <grin>


There was a lot of common lore about the village blacksmith, he was usually the biggest hearted, happiest person in town, quick to help, entertain the kids or do whatever for folk, the slowest to anger and the worst to make mad at you.


Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More times than I care to admit in my life, blacksmithing has gotten me through some tough mental times. It also have opened more doors and windows of opportunity than anything else's in my life. The friends and people I have met all accross the country are some the best people in my life! It has been a true blessing to me since the first forge I lit and first time I picked up a hammer to hit the hot iron!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it to both relaxing and rewarding in a few ways.  It is hard not to get a sense of accomplishment when you finally progress past simple projects and make the switch from giving away scrap to making something that causes excitement in a new owner.  Personally, I love iforgeiron because so many of you are way out of my league.  Daily I see and learn new things and get a dose of envy mixed with an equal dose of encouragement.  Although most of us have and never will meet, I consider you all mentors, teachers and friends, thank you all for sharing your knowledge and company. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Ages ago I started trying to read a book Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.by Hofstadter.


It's a fairly intense study of how mathematics, Visual art, and Music can contain what the author calls "Strange loops".  If you've ever seen an MC Escher work you'll see how he's got these impossible visual perspective works where people are ascending and descending staircases that all intersect in the drawing but couldn't do so in the physical world.


The concept of the strange loop is that there's a pattern built into the work that propagates a diversion in your perception.  Following from one point through the "flow" of the work there's never a point of clear error yet the outcome defies reason.


J.S.Bach created a "King's"melody" where it sounds like the choir raises some portion of an octave every chorus giving the overall work a sense of building intensity.  Obviously there's an upper limit to the singer's voices but owing to Bach's "Strange loop" the melody always allowed kept the piece within the singers range.  Listening to the work it's not obvious that the rising melodies start over when they reach a limit but it must have happened nonetheless.


That was a lot of words to explain that our perspective gets modified by patterns even if we see the pattern.  


The way that depression metastasizes itself in it's host is to present "change nothing" as the best option whenever there's a choice.  Lots of folks fall into a cycle where they think "If I do this I'll feel better about that".  If that pattern is familiar and you're still depressed - that might be be your "strange loop". The result is that you're "tried everything" but you're still in the same place.  


Misdirection is the key to slight of hand.  Speaking for myself, placing significance on some physical action/achievement to fix an emotional state is intuitive, logical, and not at all how emotions work.  


It's really hard to develop acceptance of emotions we're telling ourselves are wrong. Justifying emotions to tell ourselves we're really someone different is dishonest at best and cruel at worst.  


I found I was less angry when I quit trying to justify why I was angry.  I spent years pushing different outlets for the anger until I learned that acceptance broke my strange loop.  It's hard to wrap your head around the idea that after you accept yourself for who you are - you change.  In my case I became a whole lot less angry.  In hindsight it makes sense that I was provoking myself.  Anger when you're provoked is reasonable - so is cooling off when it stops.  


I don't mean to pretend to have the cure to depression - I'm glad blacksmithing helps you.

I think selfless acts lead to warm hearts.  The more I try to barter with life to improve my emotions - the lonelier things feel. 


I recently read something to the effect that evil isn't from villainous planing and machinations.  Evil actions are usually the result of people doing what they think will make them happy and ignoring the consequences to others.


To that end, I'm deeply impressed by how compassionate the members of this forum are to one another.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well put rock star, I myself find that having some task that focuses enugh of my mind to overcome the multiple thought tracks swirling around in to one path, with out being overwhelmingly intense helps me to relax. Be it riding a horse, reading or forging a hinge. All those tasks take enugh focus to quiet the hamsters, but not so much to exhaust me (like driving in a snow storm)
As to compassion and those that share this forum, steel is what it is, it will do what steel will do, no amount of wishing on our part will change steel, we can encourage it to take a shape we desire, but we have to do so cognizant of what seep is. Peaple are no diffent, they are what they are and as soon as you recognize that, and exept them for who and what they are (even are selves) instead of wishing they were something else. Then we have peace, and being compassionate becomes easy, as you exept the reality of the human condition, not your expectations.
We can shape steel in a mirador of diffent shapes, from flowers to knives, but in the end it is still steel. As are peaple, in they are just peaple.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...