MAD MAX

So how good are you?

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I was pondering the question of," Just how good a blacksmith am I"? So I thought about for quite a while and I decided that on a scale of 1-10  10 being the highest I consider myself no higher than a 3. Some may think that to be a low rank and maybe it is But what I base it on is the work ive seen and what I myself have done. I would consider someone who is a 10 to be a complete master being able to do nearly anything with little trouble. Plus Ive been at this about 6 years with that little time in such a vast skill, 3 is actually pretty high. I like to challenge myself. I would say some of you guys are in the 7-8 range maybe higher. Always learning 

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Blocked again.

SKILLS EXPECTED FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF A JOURNEYMAN 
Blacksmithing Standards developed by the Appalachian Blacksmiths Association, an ABANA Affiliate, and registered with the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, United States Department of Labor. 
1. Drawing Out: Draw a bar to a point or dress an edge or point a tool.
2. Upsetting: Upset to at least 1-1/2 times the diameter or width of a bar on the end and in the middle.
3. Bending: Make a ring out of bar stock or flat stock; forge a square corner right angle bend in square stock.
4. Drifting: Make a drift and use it to smooth, shape or enlarge a hole.

6. Mortise and Tenon: Make an assembly from at least two separate pieces using this technique.
7. Collaring: Make an assembly from at least two separate pieces using this technique.
8. Scroll Work: Make two different types of scrolls.
9. Splitting: Split a bar with a hot cut in the middle or at the end of the bar.
10. Fullering, Grooving, Veining, Set Hammering: Show examples of each or if used as an intermediate technique, describe how and why the techniques are used.
11. Riveting: Make two assemblies from at least two separate pieces for each assembly using hot riveting and cold riveting (pop riveting is not acceptable).
12. Forge Welding: Show at least three different techniques.
13. Arc Welding, Brazing, Soldering, and Oxyacetylene Torch Welding: Show an example of each.

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ROFL:

A wise man once said..If you ask a man a question that calls himself an expert, run..if you ask someone who others say  is an expert listen to that man... It's not how good you THINK you are..it's what you are able to do and what others see that can take a step back and give honest opinions...

As far as "Master" goes...that term is so over used and ill applied that it really means very little nowadays...cause it seems that just about everyone and their uncle Charlie is a "Master" ...just ask them..

Just my 2 cents' worth..

JPH

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If you want to Master something, You have to learn how to correct what happens when something goes askew, without asking. When you can see something not happening as you had envisioned it, What do you do to correct the momentum? When you think you have Mastered that Procedure, You have just started the learning process.

THE WURLD of Academia in North Hamerica, want to have a stanglehold on the word "Master".  I guess if they are so afraid of themselves, they can have it.

Neil

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I would happily say that I'm a 3 on your scale.  My biggest hurdle is that I'm not the kind of person to just sit there and tinker with something, and that tends to hold back my development.  I don't, for example, set up everything and practice making tenons or turning scrolls.  I'd like to, but it goes against every fiber of my being to "waste" all that time, metal and fuel.

A lot of the masters we see from times past were rather lucky, in a sense, because all these different skills were used regularly on any of a hundred different pieces being sold regularly.  We see the same thing in a lot of folks that grew up in their dad's shop.  They might be young, but are already fairly grounded in the trade because they've grown up with it all around them.  That level of exposure is really hard to come by for someone that's just tinkering in their backyard and relying on internet forums and videos to teach themselves.

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23 minutes ago, Kevin_Olson said:

My scale goes to 11 :-)

As does mine, but regardless of what the scale goes up to I rate myself as a 2-3. As a hobbiest with limited time I focus on a very narrow area of blacksmithing where my primary interests are so there are vast parts of the craft I have little or no knowledge of.

Regardless of this, I am very happy in my ignorance, I do what I enjoy and I enjoy what I do.

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You are What You Are regardless of What You Think You Are!  Only Important Judges are others not yourself. 

Those who judge your output are always hindered by Bias as to what they like to see done and what is pleasing to their eyes but that usually is a small percentage of the whole.

Strive to be a Good Blacksmith ( or any other profession ) let the "Masters" fall where they may.

 

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2 hours ago, notownkid said:

You are What You Are regardless of What You Think You Are!  Only Important Judges are others not yourself. 

Those who judge your output are always hindered by Bias as to what they like to see done and what is pleasing to their eyes but that usually is a small percentage of the whole.

Strive to be a Good Blacksmith ( or any other profession ) let the "Masters" fall where they may.

 

I think this topic is mostly pretty silly and I would never publicly assess myself in this way.  That said, I also do not agree with your statement that,  "Only Important Judges are others not yourself." Grammatical peculiarities aside, other people by and large, are totally ignorant about blacksmithing.   That is why you get people who think some cold bent and welded wine rack from pottery barn is the equivalent of a hand forged, tenoned and collared piece that does the same job.  It is gratifying when other people appreciate your work but it is in no way a measure of how good that work actually is.  I am a hobby smith, but I have been doing it for 25 years  and the bottom line is, I blacksmith for myself, not for other people.  I like to sell my work and frequently do, but if a piece does not sell I do not assume it is because that piece is not beautiful or well made.  The only people whose opinions I value are those whose competence is far beyond that which I will ever achieve.  In my area that would be people like Austin, McClellen,  Clausen or Bondi etc.  I can assure you, after 25 years at the forge, even though my skills are still quite limited, I am a far better judge of good work than the average Joe.

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I do all described above but never mortise and tenon was it? No idea what that is. May be I do it, just don't know what it was supposed to be called.  . . . . 

I teach class on weekends but I am only a hobbyists.  Others say I am a master or professional because folks shell out 100.00 perperson per class, but I am only a hobbyists. 

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5 hours ago, tdaleh said:

Good enough to know how much I still have to learn.

Me too. I do what I do reasonably well, but I only scratch the surface of that list up there. I would be shaky with 2, 6 and 11 and would lose marks big time for No.12.

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24. Basic Metallurgy: Know the properties and use of wrought iron, mild steel, carbon and tool steels and their classifications, cast-iron, brass, copper, and aluminum; know sheet and plate gauging for ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
25. Fire and Fuel: Know the constituents of good shop coal; know the different types of coal fires and fire maintenance.
26. Jigs and Dies: Make both a jig and a die for doing repetitive production work and show examples of work produced with them.
 

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Yep. 24/25/26

Still only a hobbyist. So far I dont think I'm a master/pro.etc. you can learn all that by only striking iron on weekends.

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One short cut and paste reply per day, then it immediately tells me that too much time has passed to edit.

If I try to continue in another post, it just disappears, so this may take a while. 

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If some of the work i see on this site are indicative of a master level then i am a 0.05-0.1? But i dont care...it is the same way I am with drawing. People say "wow that is great !" but I just wanna create. In this context I want to hammer metal into things that I think are cool and progress and learn as I go.

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You are welcome, suffer from the same problem myself, the older I get the more I forget, the bonus is, there is lots more to learn !

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No, I mean that ABA removed the original document from their website. I was working from a downloaded and saved document file from about 2008.

It is available on the ABANA website, after some searching.

http://www.abana.org/resources/journeyman/index.shtml

I would like to see a list of Apprentice and Master level skills as well.

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1 hour ago, John B said:

You are welcome, suffer from the same problem myself, the older I get the more I forget, the bonus is, there is lots more to learn !

The older I get, the better I was.

As for the original question, my skills are crappy, but I have a good time forging (both solo and with my son) and occasionally make something useful or beautiful -- or, if I get really lucky, both. I may not measure up against those (perfectly reasonable) criteria, but I still think I'm doing okay.

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