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Blacksmithing FAQs

52 posts in this topic

6 hours ago, Lou L said:

Despite the fact that most of them are addicted to their cell phone I still learn something from my students most every day.  It was even a regular occurrence when I taught middle school.  Anyone who is actually listening will learn something.  

 

What I've learned so far in my less than two years of blacksmithing:  The blacksmith tool that SHOULD consume every aspiring blacksmith is the lowly tong.  We all spend so much thought and effort on anvils and forges.  I've learned that these really don't matter.  Having the right tongs (or not having them) has turned out to be the single most important factor in my learning.  The new people naturally focus on forges and anvils.  The experienced smiths do so as well because they already have the tongs.  I feel that we don't celebrate the lowly tong enough!

Lou very well said..    the ability to make something to a high standard will make work easier..  

in the way back I had an apprentice of sorts.. Actually 2 of them.. They were my neighbors and brothers.. Scott was my first friend and striker.. He started when he was 11.. He became very good at striking but never had a desire to forge on his own.. His brother Clint on the other hand became a friend and striker and we studied martial arts together.. I eventually was able to get him to forge some items, Swords, knives, and Senban shurikens..   

Each item he would make and be very proud of.. Covet them almost..  Like it was a gold standard..  When we would  go out to practice, not to be mean, mind you but these are throw away items.. 

I would always take the prized item and throw it as far away as possible..  Of course he would get mad, but I would then say..   " This is merely one item of thousand you will be making.. To believe this one is perfect is full hardy and I am just helping you to break the strings of attachment..  (I myself was very young then)

Back then I was making 10 of these an hour from 1/8" flat stock..    Years later he thanked me but at the time he would get so mad.. 

Reason why I brought up this story is because of the point you made.. 

Main equipment while talked about the most or coveted is just part of the whole experience and I have found  making 1 nice item is merely a stepping stone and making consistently nice items and tools becomes the true signature of quality forgings.. 

Time spent forging if working towards a better forging is well worth it..    Practice becomes the way to perfection and I learned that time and time again.. 

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23 hours ago, Daswulf said:

Beat em to the punch and as you are doing it explain why you are doing it. 

I always explain before starting what that can of water is for near the forge. I show them a bull's head with one horn melted off to show what I don't want to happen. People don't believe that steel will burn. The thing with demos is that some people arrive half way through the process and miss out on the earlier explanations. You can repeat things but there are always those who missed hearing for one reason or another.  Typically there may be 10 or 20 people waiting at the forge at the allocated demo time and I give an introductory talk and an outline of what the project for that demo will be.  I've had those who arrive at the tail end of a bull's head demo and ask how did I weld the head on.

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