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I Forge Iron

Serious Blacksmith Skills

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57 minutes ago, littleblacksmith said:

woops didn't know.:unsure:


Didn't figure you did, don't worry about it. Just wait till someone points out a mistake and  you realize you knew that, sometimes you even pointed it out to someone else. Now THAT smarts, yes it does.

S'all good.

Frosty The Lucky.

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5 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Having once supported my family working on an assembly line I am harder to mislead by the folks working on the line that feeds my job function today.

Factories can be downright amusing places to work.

I spent a lot of years as a Manufacturing Engineer, with the supervision of Plant Maintenance Personnel, as a substantial part of my responsibilities.


Some "veteran" machine operators were absolutely gifted in their ability to "blow smoke" up their Supervisors shorts.

Your typical morning. "Production Meeting" would always have one or two laughably ridiculous explanations, presented as justification for productivity shortfalls.

Sometimes, it was truly amazing just how embarrassingly naive, a recently graduated Ivy League "Supervisor" could be.


Some of them learned a few things, and became effective managers, ... the rest went into Sales.



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In truth being able to blow believable smoke up supervisor's . . . nethers is a survival skill. You ARE aware of just how stupid some supervisor's ideas and directives can be. Yes? My time doing production work in a factory was fairly short lived and it was a small factory, the supervisors knew their business from the floor up. Outside of the heat of the curing ovens it was a decent place to work, the folk did their jobs, the bosses stayed out of the way unless they had to get involved.

However when I was "foundations exploration" drilling the worst thing that could happen for production and safety was having one of the geologists from the office come out to get their boots on the ground. We HAD to blow happy smoke to keep them from killing themselves and lord help us all if we HAD to take their suggestions!

On the other hand one of the drill crews would come in at starting time, call their supervisor, blow some happy smoke then go have breakfast for about 1 1/2 hrs. EVERY day and they took 2 hr lunches. On the clock of course and they were never too late to go home early.

The state operated on the theory of "management". The, "You don't need to know how to do a job to run it." Theory of management.

ARGHHH! Frosty The Lucky.

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I work second shift on a large campus in a two acre building with six two story machines, plus dozens of "smaller" machines.  We build jet engine housings and "hot side" components.  My grind room is a junk museum.  "Smoke"?  I still work there, so read between the lines. 

Mr. Reynolds, this is still actually relevant to your original topic - I took a 1/8" rod of 6011, upset it, and forged a long-handled flux spoon. Mastering those heat-sensitive, tiny details reminds me of why the forge is so cathartic and utterly dissimilar to what I do for a living.

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1/8 " stock. Yea, I can appreciate that. The fellow that trained me originally had me working on spoons from the horse nails. That is why he had them. I developed the idea for the hail to hook format with the large (quarter sized) head w/a punched hole. Then one day during a class this student making candle flames from 1/4 rounds asked If I could forge one from a nail. I didn't know. So I give him credit for the candle flame nail hook.

The small tasks can be be a real chore to learn, but it is worth the time to develop the hammer control/techniques. When I began to play banjo I didn't start right off with Ballad of Jed Clampett. I often use these simple techniques to show/demo blacksmithing to visitors to the shop. They pay to be there and they deserve a bit of a show. But not one that takes more than say five minutes. Even at that they are on the verge of loosing interest and counting the no. of posts in the oak beams. Welding is fun but dangerous as they are standing about 10 feet away from the weld.

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Holding the audience's attention is a task at demos. I found a 10 minute start to finish piece was too long to hold their interest unless it was something dramatic. I used to be able to turn out a leaf finial coat hook in under 7 minutes while answering questions and maintaining a patter. There are a number of "dramatic" changes to watch, twisting the shank and turning the hook got the best reactions.

But it's gotta be fast and raw stock to finished product or you lose them. It's different if they're holding a hammer ready to take a lash at but just watching it's a trick.

Frosty The Lucky.

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