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I Forge Iron

Side Effects of Blacksmithing: Friday Topic


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Last night I was frantically loading my truck for Saturday's demo as I had a 6pm dinner invite and got home from work at 4:30.  So after stuffing it full, I hefted the propane tanks to see if I had enough on hand for a day long demo.  They both felt almost empty and I was trying to juggle my schedule to buy propane today before heading out for the 3 hour drive north. This morning I went out to add them to the load and they felt *full*!   Side Effect 1: Moving anvils messes with your weight perception! 

Side Effect 2: working with hot metal messes with your temperature perception; too hot to hold has a very different meaning in the kitchen between me and my wife.

Side Effect 3:  the number of shirts with a linear spray of holes just around the height of the anvil face (due to billet welding).

Side Effect 4: you tend NOT to grab for stuff falling!

Side Effect 5: you tend to get out of the way of falling items.

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Side Effect 6: Seeing a tool you could use but instead of buying it thinking " I could make one of those" 

Side Effect 7: Collecting mountains of scrap. 

Side Effect 8: Blackened hands. 

Side Effect 9: annoying everyone you meet asking them about black smithing tools. 

Side Effect 10: addiction of checking out old iron work and trying to figure how it was done. 

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Side Effect 13: Eventually you'll find yourself hauling thousands of pounds worth of "mobile blacksmith shop" to a 2 day hammer-in located in the middle of nowhere.

Side Effect 14: You catch yourself "reading" grinder sparks for carbon content, even if they're happening in a TV police chase.

Side Effect 15: You'll find yourself saying; "I'll put that fire out just as soon as I complete this task...:


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Side Effect 19: you start collecting anvils. 

Side Effect 19a: you collect enough anvils to leave one to your kids and nieces and nephews. 

Side Effect 19b: you wonder if you could have enough anvils for any possible purpose or reason. 

Side Effect 20: you find any conceivable reason to keep any and all pieces of steel or iron laying around for any possible project you can or cannot make, Just because you can. " I might need this!"

Side Effect 21: you need a hole in steel and you debate firing up the forge or getting out the drill. 

Side Effect 21a: you need to bend metal and you debate firing up the forge or getting out the torches. 

Side Effect 21b: you laugh at machinists because you can easily punch a square hole and for them it takes some work and time. 

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Side Effect 24: You see an old forging and you don't care how THEY did it, you think about how YOU'D do it.

Side Effect 25: Gauging carbon content is so automatic you classify TV sparkyness of everything without thinking about it. After being mentioned here I remember categorizing wreck and collision debris skipping across the pavement on episodes of Cops and Ridiculousness without thinking.

Side Effect: 26 You don't debate what tool to use though you do encourage it with students. Well, okay you might have a short internal debate about which is more work, carrying out the easier to use tool or doing it the harder way.

Side Effect: 27 Almost permanent hand print on your forehead from all those head slapping moments educating you to the don't have to debate which, what or why of doing it A way, and discovering you're doing it a harder one. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Side Effect 31: The ox/ac was not large enough, or too slow, and you start to consider the forge as a the next larger tool to get something hot.

Side Effect 32: You make the first one just for practice so you can figure out how to make the second one better.

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Side Effect 33: you start having an opinion on the quality of batches of coal. (if using coal)


Side Effect 34: you feel it's easier to fire up the forge to punch a hole rather then drill it, or to cut steel on the hot cut rather then using the 4 1/2' cutoff.


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Side Effect 33: You look for a long time for one particular piece of scrap. When you find a source, you thank them and load up the find.   Although you only needed one, and maybe a second one just in case, there was no reason to leave the other pieces behind as you may never find another source any time soon. Besides you may need them, some day, and now you will have them. 

Side Effect 34: While your know you have just the piece of scrap you need, you have to dig through the entire resource center (scrap pile) and find it on the bottom of the pile.  

Side Effect 35: You consider the hunt for that one piece of known scrap an archaeological dig thorough time. It was about a year ago so that is about xx feet down from the top. You consider reorganizing the resource center (scrap pile) and decide that you know what it contains, and about where it is located. No reorganizing  needed cause you found what you were looking for.

Side Effect 36: As you proceed with your archaeological dig through the resource center (scrap pile), you say "Oh yes, I can use that" and pull out select pieces that you can use for other projects.

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Side Effect 37: the Brother in law of a friend shows up on a holiday weekend with a broken jackhammer bit and asks if you could fix it so he can remove his old concrete driveway with a rented jackhammer in time to pour a new on Tuesday.  (didn't even charge him for it---funny thing when I was building my shop larger, my friend showed up with a 20' trailer and a chainsaw to make the 2 40' utility poles 4 20' long ones and get them to my shop and used his 4wd manipulator to set them in the holes---and didn't charge me!  I feel I got the better deal by far!)

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