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Blacksmithing FAQs

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Having done daily demos for a good period of time now, I will share with you what I consider (in order of frequency) the five most often heard questions/comments:


1. How long have you been doing this?

2. My grandfather/great grandfather/uncle was a blacksmith.

3. Ah! That's a dying art.

4. Do you sell those?

5. Are you teaching someone your skills?

 

And also frequently heard, but to a lesser degree:

6. Do you often get burnt?

7. Where did you do your trade?

8. Where can I find an anvil?

9. Do you shoe horses?

10. How hot does it get in there?

I guess everyone of us involved in demos could relate to these and probably add a few more.

 

 

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So now you are a blacksmith! ..... what are you going to make?

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Being only the spectator at demos so far, I've heard some good ones. It's amusing how people become the experts when they 're just out of earshot (or at least think they are) of the smith at work. 

"He's working too hard. He should just let the hammer do the work." is one I've heard over and over.  

Or, to the smith:

On using coal: "hope the EPA doesn't catch you! teehee!" (Usually one of those soccer mom  types, but I've heard it from the male persuasion as well)

"Wouldn't it be easier just to melt it and pour it into the shape you want?

"Did you make that anvil?" (Last demo I went to, the guy had, so there you go!)

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5 hours ago, Exo313 said:

"He's working too hard. He should just let the hammer do the work."

"Wouldn't it be easier just to melt it and pour it into the shape you want?

"Did you make that anvil?"

I laughed a little too hard at all of these lol. 

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only been a spectator myself, but will be doing first demon in October, exciting!

How did you learn to do this? ( this one is probably my most asked question at fairs, along with "do you have a business card"!)

What are you burning?

why don't you wear gloves?

                                                                                                                              Littleblacksmith

 

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my answer to the last one is because i don't like to get burned...

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The actual best, though, are the older kids who are really into it and start asking real questions, why did you do that, how does that work, etc.  They're usually the ones that have to get dragged away when it's time to leave.  

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My blacksmithing teacher (Uri Hofi) said the only questions he appreciates are those statring with "why".

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8 hours ago, littleblacksmith said:

only been a spectator myself, but will be doing first demon in October, exciting!                   Littleblacksmith

 

yikes! you gettin inta exorcism?:P

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Ha Ha. There are a few demons in my smithy. Usually lurking in the wrought iron.

And I forgot the one about "Can you make a sword?"  Often heard from kids addicted to Minecraft I think.

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2 hours ago, lyuv said:

My blacksmithing teacher (Uri Hofi) said the only questions he appreciates are those statring with "why".

oooohhhh what a great teacher! jealouse! I just had a friend come back from his place and some others, said it was great.

1 hour ago, Tubalcain2 said:

yikes! you gettin inta exorcism?:P

Darn, and it's too late to edit! what a great typo!

                                                                                                                            Littleblacksmith

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I always take a large chalkboard sign saying "today I am making..." with example items right next to the sign.

"What are you making?" is my most common question.

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Brilliant. Will steal that idea for sure. 

One that made me laugh, was out of the smith's earshot, but the fellow said "at least if he cuts himself good he can cauterize the wound!"

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Whats wrong with those questions? easily answered and make good conversation openers - you are there to engage with the punters and sell them stuff aren't you?

And my great great Grandfather was the local smith :) unfortunately I didn't inherit any of his stuff!

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I also get the"  

Strange job for a girl..    

Dang, you got big arms, bet you could squeeze me to death, I better behave myself.. 

Wow, what a great trailer.. 

Coming back to this after taking off the 10+ years,  the questions in certain areas like the Orange engine show were excellent.. 

I still get the usual ones at most regular type demos but now with FIF taking on a life of it's own I get much better questions.. 

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The one question I find a little irritating is the "Why are you doin' that? Looks like a lot of trouble for somethin' you could just go out and buy."

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15 hours ago, Jackdawg said:

Whats wrong with those questions? easily answered and make good conversation openers - you are there to engage with the punters and sell them stuff aren't you?

Hey! Who said there was anything wrong with those questions? It was just an observation of which ones crop up the most. And yes, of course they are easily answered.

I do engage with the visitors (40 years of teaching helps) and I like to involve the kids where I can. (With parental approval and strict safety of course). I have a few questions of my own for visitors and we often share a joke or two. The mid winter months of July and August are my busiest tourist times. School holidays at the moment too.  At one point I had over forty people watching today's demo.  I can't keep up with the sales, but I guess that's a nice problem to have.

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this isn't so much at demos, but at fairs where I'm selling something, they'll be looking at a knife on the table, not even touching it, and they will say "that looks like hard steel" or "that looks sharp"....I wish I could have eyes that could just pick out hard steel and sharp objects.....

                                                                                                                                                Littleblacksmith

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I've had people go wild over the titanium knife in my camp eating set.  Some of them couldn't believe that Ti makes lousy knives---I've once took a knife with the edge made from an old nicholson file and carved a sliver off the spine of the Ti knife to prove that fact to them.  "Common Knowledge" can be way off today with people believing what they are told in Ads, video games, movies and TV!

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I don't get so many silly questions as statements and worst are Dad explaining to a kid that there isn't a real fire it's a red light bulb and fan or the steel is painted yellow, etc. It's easy to make eye contact with the very disappointed kid, roll my eyes and share the secret that Dad doesn't really  know everything. I've been known to touch a piece of HOT steel to the anvil stand when it was on a wood block and let the puff of smoke and flash of flame tell the story about HOT. 

I get the rare pompous type and if they're irritating enough I offer them the hammer. I have yet to have someone take it or  show me anything but their heals.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Just now, Frosty said:

I've been known to touch a piece of HOT steel to the anvil stand when it was on a wood block and let the puff of smoke and flash of flame tell the story about HOT

Much less impressive with a steel stand.

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easy enough to have a chunk of wood handy to demo on.

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or the back of the aforesaid arrogant person.:P

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