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Consciously or subconsciously, do you have any habits or mantras whilst forging?

 

When I remember to, I always tell myself to STOP and STAND BACK and look at what I'm doing. Much easier to see if everything's straight, in proportion, balanced etc when you're standing back. I should write it in capitals on my forge hood to remind me, I get wrapped up in small details so easily I often forget to stand back.

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I'm trying to get in the habit of taking progress pictures of projects I'm doing for reference. many times however I get too wrapped up in things and only remember when it's too late.

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I have been trying hard to get into the habit of putting things back where they belong after use. Like put the punch back in the box after punching holes, put the tongs back on the rack, don't leave one hammer sitting on the anvil while you reach for another.
If I could master this habit, I would not find punches or drifts in the charcoal ash or have hammers fall in the quench tub where I have balanced them.
Many is the time I have secured a hot piece of steel in the hold down, grabbed the hammer and can't find the punch. Not a good thing during demos.
I tell myself before every session I must be more organised. Now ... where did I put those long nosed pliers?

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Ausfire it may be helpful to put them all on a work table. As you will most likely used them more than once, put them back at the end of the project or subject at hand. That way you can become semi-organized. (grin). 

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I have the same habit as ausfire, I put something down and then can't find it, it is maddening.

 

Glenn, good suggestion but my work table is piled with things I want to keep close to hand, so much so that I can't find anything. I guess I need a bigger work table!

 

Mark

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Ausfire it may be helpful to put them all on a work table. As you will most likely used them more than once, put them back at the end of the project or subject at hand. That way you can become semi-organized. (grin). 

Yesterday I was looking for my flatter and found my work table.  :blink:

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I like to get everything ready to start and then make a trip to the facilities, get a drink of water, etc, before lighting the forge.  A side effect of a lot of public demos where once the forge is lit I'm stuck there till it's cold or can arrange for a forge watcher so I can make a pitstop.

 

As for a mantra: "It's only pain"  has got me though a lot of situations---emphasis on different words at different times.

 

Others:

"any hammer in a storm"  With students it always seems like *my* hammer is never by the anvil so I say  "any hammer in a storm"  and use the nearest one---often in the hands of a student watching.  (I've had students convinced that the better results I'm getting is due to my "special" hammers---using the one they are having trouble with helps to show them that it's the skill and practice not the tool!)

 

"Don't take the piece out of the fire until you have an anvil to take it to and the tool in your hand!"  (students sharing an anvil is big on this one)

 

"Don't lift an anvil until you have a place to put it back down!"

 

"Hot steel has the right away!"   The person headed to the anvil has right away over the person returning a piece to the fire.

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" hot steel has the right of way "       ... i like that one !

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ausfire, I feel your pain!!

I have been at this craft for just a few years and I consider myself a legion in my own mind :rolleyes: , but; I and have similar issues that you described.

 

I keep renewing my commitment to myself to keep well organized as I work.

But many times I find that my intentions of precise organization are short lived after I am interrupted by well meaning people who demands my attention.

 

I used to have people pop in and want a quick job done.  First thing you know I would have tools out that I did not want to put away so as not to take more time.

  

I find that if I am only working on one project, I stay pretty focused and organized.

I am able to think ahead in the process that I am doing so I will pre position my tool’s or put them away as they need to be.

Glenn has given a good suggestion and I believe it would work for a normal mentally healthy person.

But, I say again; that I find that distractions by visitors or people who interrupt the process and ask me to do a quick job for them throws me out my good intentions of keeping efficiently organized.

 

I wish you the best at keeping your ducks lined up in a row!  :)

 

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Let me see if I can explain this better.

 

Beside the forge I have a HOT table. Anything on that table is hot until it is put into water, put into your BARE hand and then onto the work table.

 

The work table is a flat surface that I have mounted a vise or bender, depending on the job. It catches a lot of stuff by the end of the day. By the end of the week it is starting to be a pile of stuff that needs sorted and returned to somewhere else.

 

The tool table is a 2x2 table usually near the anvil, used only for tools that are being used for the current project. It can fill up fast so at the end of the project it is cleared off and the contents returned to their proper (ok usual) place of existence or dwelling.

 

Before any project is started all 3 tables are cleared. It makes the project go a lot faster and makes life much less stressful. 

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Greetings all,

 

I guess I have a few... Aside from the side to side hammer rattle on the anvil while planning my next forging move I am anal about shop cleanliness ..  I never leave the shop without putting the tools in there proper place..  I also always sweep the floor slag and wood heater ashes into a pile at the anvil base and never put it directly into the waste can..  When I come back to the forge the first thing I do is put the pile in the can... No sparks hot metal or clinkers to catch fire...  I avoid horizontal surfaces close to my work area they just collect junk...   That's It. 

 

Forge on and make beautiful things

Jim

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Greetings all,

 

I guess I have a few... Aside from the side to side hammer rattle on the anvil while planning my next forging move I am anal about shop cleanliness ..  I never leave the shop without putting the tools in there proper place..  I also always sweep the floor slag and wood heater ashes into a pile at the anvil base and never put it directly into the waste can..  When I come back to the forge the first thing I do is put the pile in the can... No sparks hot metal or clinkers to catch fire...  I avoid horizontal surfaces close to my work area they just collect junk...   That's It. 

 

Forge on and make beautiful things

Jim

I do the same. I have always said a clean and organized shop is a safe(er) shop. Plus it makes finding tools that much quicker when they are exactly where they should be.

-Crazy Ivan

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Ive got one Im trying to drill in my own head.

"If you have even a shred of doubt, weld it again."

The threat of burning it up is far less than the anger of getting through and finding a seam in the blade.

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No mantra really unless I am with someone else.   Then I gotta watch the heat real close otherwise you burn something.   And this is most likely to occur and therefore be much more annoying as you get closer to the end of a project.   So I may get to a point where I say I need to focus on the fire more to avoid this.   The only other thing is that occasionally I get annoyed at how things are going... or not going.     Things not quite working the way I had planned or thought or evolved to...    When I start to get irritated about that it is usually a good time to quit and come back to it.    I guess the only mantra that is constant is don't hurt yourself.  Life is too long to go through it with any sort of major or even minor injury just because you didn't think ahead.

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Borntoolate, I feel your pain with burning steel. Mantras do change when we are operating with others rather than alone, especially, I have found, with school groups. I usually let one of the kids turn the blower (suitably gloved, booted and goggled of course - they like that) while we make a quick S hook or something they can take away.
And my mantra is - always let a girl turn the forge! Boys are too zealous. I have been distracted talking to a teacher and I'll turn around to find the boy has the forge resembling Mount Vesuvius. Now where's that pretty finial that used to be on the end of that hook? Boys like the sparks. Girls are gentler and do as they're told!

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I have to try and keep telling myself that it doesn't have to be exactly symmetrical and if a customer wants everything exactly the same they'd buy a mass produced item.
Small flaws show it's handmade, which is probably a cop out, but i've worked MANY a project to death trying to get it "perfect"

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Many the time I have gone for "primitive vigor" over "over-worked".

 

I tell students that if they want perfection become a machinist!  (and then they will learn the "cost" of perfection too.)

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Thought of another one I use a lot with students: "and then you charge more"   When they make a mistake on the starter projects; I either show them how to correct it *or* how to modify the project to make the mistake a design feature---"and then you charge more".

 

I like the "lure them to the dark side" projects to be things where it's really hard to mess them up so badly that they don't work anyway---like making chili's from black iron pipe---pretty much anything you end up with looks like a real chili, though some have been dried a bit...

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"And then you charge more!" Thank you Thomas. I've been using a version of that very strategy for a long time, since high school in fact.

 

If I made a mistake the "customer" actually noticed and commented on. I'd tell them it's an experiment and do it again. Sometimes it turns out to be a good thing. Now . . . "I'll Charge them More!"

 

Turning mistakes into design features is a time honored technique, good recovery is more valuable a skill than getting it right the first time. And then you charge them more! (Bwahahahaa)

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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It's from a Western movie that escapes me currently but "Smooth is fast" has a way of being very practical advice for me.

 

I've also learned not to hammer with a wet hand.  I get blisters super quick that way.

 

Deadlines change a relaxing hobby into an obligation that seems to attract constant interruption.  I find holiday gifts are a constant source of this sort of thing.

 

Sometimes it's better to practice than perform.

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"Smooth is fast" is part of a shooting quote. I don't know it from a western. "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, fast is lethal." There are more applications then shooting.

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some of mine is "always do better than I did last" and one that my engineering teacher told the entire class "always use the options of the brain" basically think well about what you're going to do, don't just muscle it through

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These are more like principals than mantras but they often go through my head...

It might be good enough for the customer but it isn't good enough for me, so I'll do it again, better.

If you don't learn something from a bad experience then all you've done is wasted your time.

 

I'm trying to get into the habit of quenching my tongs before I put them back on the rack.

For some reason I often bounce my hammer gently on my anvil to tap out the old test match cricket theme song. I don't even like cricket that much!

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My meagre workspace constantly fills and clutters up with the dealings of several different projects.  Be it vehicle maintenance or the bits and pieces involved or attempted at the knives I try and make.   Funny how fast a large table can collect items not needed for the task at hand.   I make it a habit, mostly of necessity to clear off my tables, and free up the floor space when I'm working on a project.    That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of unfinished projects sitting in a crate somewhere.   Every project I take on seems to take more time, money and space than I usually allot for the task.    I find an uncluttered shop beneficial when working on a project.   Gives me room to locate tools, walk around or just throw things for those times I need to.   I tend not to start new projects that take focus and involvement when there are other projects at hand, otherwise I'd have a vast wasteland of crates full of unfinished projects and no notes to describe what I was thinking.

 

-Bruno

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