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I"m not happy with how long it takes me to make things.

My time at the forge totals 50-100 hour, and most things I do - I do for the first time. So experience wise, I"m not a total newbie, but... what? ("advanced beginner"?)

I made these 2 bottle openers from 12mm square bar. Total work time 2-1/2 hours.

There are several basic blacksmithing operations - drawing, twisting, bending, grinding and of course - leaf making. Work quality - mediocre.

How would you evaluate the work time it took? or the time it would take a seasoned blacksmith?

 

BTW - I"m ashamed I"m not creative enough, so I copied design ideas from works published here. Can"t remember who deserves the credit. sorry.

IMG_3422.jpg

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Iyuv, don't worry about how long it takes you to do anything.  Speed, consistency, accuracy, only comes one way, practice, practice, practice, then patiently  practice some more.  2 1/2 hours, any time someone ask me how long it takes to make a simple J hook, my standard answer is 30 years and 10 minutes.  Al 

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Nothing to be ashamed about. Both pieces look good.  And you did not copy the work of others,  you got inspiration from the work of others and made your own. It is a compliment to them.

First time out, you do not count time as you are learning how to do things. Second time you are learning if you can make things better. Start recording time at part #5 or #6, as you should understand how they are made. Record time again at part #20. BE now you will have learned to make several on the same parts on the same stick of stock and just cut and finish the ends. 

No matter what the project, if the customers check clears the bank, you did great. 

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I was playing with forging leaves this weekend as well and was appalled at how much time it was taking me, for the first one...  Once I got into a rhythm and started working more than one at a time things speeded up a lot.  As PVF posted, with practice and repetition things go much faster.  You learn efficiencies for the process, combining steps, and how to work more sections of the heated stock at once rather than slavishly concentrating on accomplishing only one task per heat (see Brian Brazeal's tong making and horsehead forging videos for a good example of this).

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Yes you don't want every project to be brand new; do some repeats so you can internalize what you are learning and gradually work on speeding up. You may be surprised at how fast things get once you've trained your hammer to know what it needs to do when...

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Stop doing something NEW every time you go to the forge. Expertise comes from repetition, sure you gain some every time you do a new thing but you have to build muscle memory to gain speed and the only way to learn muscle memory is repetition. 

The twists on the bottle opener are very nice but you've ground sharp edges on it so the ladies aren't going to like how it feels. Next time try a vigorous wire brushing while it's hot and wax or oil it just after it cools below smoking heat. The ladies like texture but not sharp.

Leaves just take time to get how you like. Make a bunch, forget the rest of the opener, just make leaves till you get them how you like them, THEN combine them to the bottle opener, wall hook, garden art, grill, gate, etc. you want to decorate. Hmmm?

Nobody's born knowing how to do this and there's only one way to get good. A LITTLE knowledge and a LOT of practice is it.

There's a reason I start people doing SIMPLE things to start, straight tapers and easy bends for S or drive hooks. Trying to learn too many new tings at one time makes everything harder but once you know how to do one thing well adding something else becomes easier. 

Make sense?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Yup, I've got more of the same. 1, don't worry about how long it takes to make something. 2. Practice Practice Practice. 3. you're time in the shop is never lost time. you're always gaining. Gaining experience, gaining knowledge, Gaining muscle memory. and if you're anything like me, you're gaining sanity which last I checked was pretty priceless. I don't get nearly as much time in my forge as I'd like to get. and frankly the new forge isn't completely set up yet. but the last several times I've been in the forge totaling some 5-10 total hours, I've produced very little more than hammered metal and a profound sense of contentment. 

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19 hours ago, Glenn said:

No matter what the project, if the customers check clears the bank, you did great. 

OH Glenn, WHY did you go there? The only reward I got from my customer (AKA "family") was the aknwolegment that the left opener "looks solid". On the bright side, it's more than the usual "oooh.k."....

There is a common agreement (which I share) that practice is a key to improvement. But I think we need to make a distinction between two types: There is the simple repetition of the same task. The first time I twisted the leaves they faced opposite ways. A mistake I wont repeat the second time. Repetitions obviously do improve performance (as any trained monkey will tell you ;)).

Then there is the more general experience. At least in my eyes, true skill is the ability to handle a new task. This includes not only the basic skills (hammer work, shaping ect.), but also understanding the metal, heat management and planing the process.

So I think I should revise my original question, and have the measurment of work time be specific to a "first time".

 

8 hours ago, ThorsHammer82 said:

you're time in the shop is never lost time. ... you're gaining sanity which last I checked was pretty priceless.

the last several times I've been in the forge ... I've produced very little more than hammered metal and a profound sense of contentment. 

These words should be made the logo of IFI !!! certainly represent EXACTLY what blacksmithing is for me. Thank you ThorsHammer82.

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Geez, I think you did just fine on those.  I haven't even attempted a leaf yet.  I'm stuck in hardware stuff until I feel I've got a handle on it (pun intended I guess :D)  As others have said, you can't time yourself.  Having mastered other crafts, I always measured success more by what the finished product looked like vs. how long it took me to do it.  If you are doing this for a living, yeah, taking 2 hours to make an S hook would quickly bankrupt you but as a hobby just enjoy learning it.  Often when I get together with my flintknapping brothers once a month, I'm the guy who only makes one arrowhead while my friends knock out 2-3, but rest assured my one arrowhead is the very best quality that I can produce.  Don't be too hard on yourself either.  I still have the first S hooks I ever made.  They replaced bent pieces of metal that came from a beautiful welcome sign we have.  Now I was dang proud of those 2 hooks that took  me an hour to do.  Today, well, obviously they are terrible compared to the S hooks I make now, but I keep them around to remind me of how far I've come already.  Keep some of your early work so that you can be reminded of how far you've come along.   

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While helping a master blacksmith teach a class, the subject of making nails came up while talking with the students. Bob said that in his career he has made upwards of 40,000 nails when he was shoeing horses in his younger days. They asked how long it takes to make a nail, I interjected that while I was making one nail, Bob could complete at least twenty so it depends upon experience.

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To answer your initial question, a simple one turn twist of a piece of 1/2" square takes me about 30 seconds to do the twist, 20-30 minutes to heat the forge, a couple minutes to cut the stock to length, depending on which tool and if it's set up, a couple/few minutes to heat the stock, and about 10 minutes to locate the twisting wrench.  

To do a combination twist like you did takes significantly longer to make the twists even.

Doing those 2 in 2 1/2 hours is a decent time, especially for someone who calls themself a newbie.  A well known US author wrote that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master of most things.  

If you actually timed yourself, do a couple more of the same and you'll be surprised at how quickly the time drops.  As stated above, doing one-offs takes significantly longer because even though you may have an idea on what you want it to look like, you are coming up with the method and order of doing things (this is more important than most newbies realize) on the fly, and I'd estimate that for 99% of the smiths out there, even though they have a clear idea on what they're shooting for, they don't get it right on the first heat and have to tweak things and often re-tweak them and that's always a "fun" challenge, depending on how much a perfectionist you are.  There are many things that can cause this need, for example, as the piece retains more heat, the less you have to schwak/coax it (this is especially true with twists).  And the more experience you have, the less you have to adjust what you're doing because you can anticipate the necessary changes you need to make to your manipulation of the steel.

Pay attention to what you do and what happens with each heat and your time will start to decrease, but remember, there is only so fast one can go and even the experts have a lower limit.

 

as always

peace and love

billyO

 

PS - can you tell I'm part Italian?

 

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BillyO,

Which part is Italian, the left side or the right?

Just kidding.

SLAG.

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