Shabumi

Etiquette when working in groups

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I was at a class earlier tonight and there were 8 people sharing one forge. I'm not sure what kind it was, but the best description would be a natural gas pit forge. It was about 2ft x 1ft x 1.5ft with brick sides and an open top. The burners came in from the bottom of one side. I noticed everyone crowded their work peices in the hot spots. I would put my piece a little out of the way, sure it took a little longer to heat up, but I wasn't fighting everyone for the hot spot. If I had knocked someone's piece while I was putting mine in, then I would carefully put it back. But not everyone was as nice as me, in fact it was like a free for all to get the hot spot. I even saw a couple people move another's piece out of the forge to put theirs in it's place. There were other things as well. I had asked another class mate to hold my work while I made the first few hits with my slitter, after it was set I could get the rest of it without assistance. But 2 heats later, his tongs start grabbing my work WHILE IM HAMMERING. I know his intentions were good, and I politely told him I didn't need any more help, but it really irked me. Ok my late night vent is over.

So, while I was driving home, I thought of a few things that I feel would be considered good etiquette when sharing a forge. Some I thought would've been common sense, but that's not so common anymore. In no particular order

1. If you move someone's work when you remove or return your work to the forge, put it back where it was.

2. Worry about your own work, not someone else's.

3. Don't grab anyone else's work without being asked to.

4. Always announce when hot metal is moving to and from forge/anvil/vice.

5. If it's not your tool, ask before using it, and put it back when your done.

6. If you need help, ask someone not in the middle of something.

This is just what I could come up with. If there's anything you'd like to add, please do.

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If you are taking a paid class with only one forge. There is a problem.. If its free well since you are more patient than others you will find you get pushed to the back of the line.. 

Your concerns while they would be the best, implementation is a whole different way to go..  There ideally should be common sense approach at the forge, but for most its a free for all.. 

A forge, hot metal and an anvil and hammer and some get all juiced up like they just drank 5 cups of coffee..  

Lucky you weren't all sharing a coal forge.. 

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I'll do 4 on my coal forge' working in two pairs from opposite sides and I control the air supply.  Also an anvil for each side.  Make them work in teams of two.

In my propane forge I've done as many as 6 at a time---we spray paint colours on the holding ends to keep people from getting them mixed up.

I do NOT have people "Always announce when hot metal is moving to and from forge/anvil  ---when you have a lot of students all working at the same time---distractions cause injuries too; however if people are transiting to a different location then  I have them announce it so going to the vise and crossing the regular "paths" get an announcement. (When I teach at the university they have one vice and I bring 4-5 anvils with different heights so each smith can have their own---or two can share an anvil that's at the correct height for them.  6'4" and 5'4" students cause similar differing issues...)

Of course I'm working with College Students for the large classes (5-6 people!)

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Sheep flock together but Eagles fly alone. Keep yourself out of such situations. Sounds like a real Chinese fire drill:rolleyes:

That geing said, such a cluster-you know what in my view would also tend to create a lot of unnecessary safety issues. When it comes to working there is NO SUCH THING as Acceptable Risk!

George

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That is a lot of people in one forge for a class. Did they at least have more then one anvil?

The most I've had in one coal fire was three maybe three and a half. One student had forged before so I didn't have to go in to detail as much with him as the others.

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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

I'll do 4 on my coal forge' working in two pairs from opposite sides

That was the setup in the shop where I first studied (where, incidentally, Samuel Yellin had taught more than half a century earlier).

2 hours ago, jlpservicesinc said:

like they just drank 5 cups of coffee.

Who gets by on so little coffee?

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I've found that for maximum learning and skill set.. 2 is about the most I will do.. Ideally it's 1 person per forge unless its gas.. Then 3 for  single burner 1 open side forge or 6 with dual opening double burner.. 

But, People sometimes will do what they find works for a given situation making best do.. 

 

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The class was after hours at a local highschool. It is a paid class, but only 6 were supposed to be in the class. The other 2 were more advanced students(though they don't act like it), who had permission to use the forge with the class. 6 anvils, so at least there was plenty of those. 7 if you count the cast ASO in the corner that was used an example of what not to get. 4 vices, 2 post, 2 bench. The first day wasn't bad at all, one piece per person. The problem was when the instructor said at the end of the first class that we could bring in projects from home to work on in class. So yesterday it seemed like there were 3-4 pieces per person in the forge. I took the class to learn, so I stayed with the project at hand. I can work on my own projects at home.

The "always announce when moving hot metal" wasn't meant to announce to the whole class, just the people your moving past. When I was hot rasping my slitter, I caught someone moving hot metal behind me with my elbow because I didn't know he was there. My elbow caught him and he spun towards me, burning the back of my pant leg with his work. A simple "coming behind you" would have prevented this.

The forge is built in, has a huge footprint in the forging section of the shop so it already takes up alot of space, and I don't know if the school would allow another forge. 

I hate being a worry-wort, but I'm going to bring my concerns up to the instructor before next week's class to see if that helps. Otherwise I'll just keep playing second fiddle to the others who are too impatient to wait 30 seconds more to heat their work, and stay out of the way while I wait.

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Why pay full price to play second fiddle? You deserve full instruction from the teacher for the money you invested. If not, ask for a full refund and sign up for the next class. 

As to the person that burned the back of your pant leg with hot metal, I would tell him it is a major safety issue and they are NOT get within 10 feet of you with hot metal. Report it to the instructor as a safety issue. A trip to the hospital will pay for several classes. 

Safety is always first. If it is not safe, then walk away.  You and your family will thank you later.

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When the instructor was learning, they were carrying it up high when someone lost their grip and a piece of hot metal went down someone's tucked in shirt. So the rule in his class is to keep the metal as low as you can while moving it.

I did have a few choice words for the fellow who almost got me, and when the instructor came to see what was going on I showed him my pants. He took away the forge priveliges of the offendee for an hour, and then watched as he proved he can be safe when moving metal. I know an hour doesn't sound like much time, but in a 3 hour class with discussion first he lost half his usable time. He was alot humbler after that, hopefully it carries through to next class.

As I think about it, would it be considered a paid class if all you pay for is the nonrefundable materials fee?

Honestly though, the class isn't as bad as this post makes it sound. I was mostly just venting after a bad day. Though if things don't change, or get worse after I talk with the instructor, I will end up walking away. 

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I"m not a fan of over head either.. 

But, I won't go into a dangerous area if I can not find a safe way away from it..  

When I am teaching or instructing or just helping out at an event and working in a forge.. Because of the pace I work at, I won't share a forge..  It's not a better than thing.. I just won't bother...  After a few events most won't even ask if I am involved in a project for the group..  If it's time dependent.. 
 

  • It's funny how when one is starting out or coming up the situations which will be put up with in order to get forging time... I get it.. I would have sold my left arm 40 years ago for a chance to forge.. 

     

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9 minutes ago, jlpservicesinc said:

I would have sold my left arm 40 years ago for a chance to forge

Then how would you hold your tongs?

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I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous. 

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I never have more than two at a forge, and both  always on the same side.

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8 and one forge seems like a bit of a joke. Conceded there are some real monster gas forges out there, but normal size 2 burners it is for 2 people full stop. On a coal forge of a decent size you may get away with 3, but it all depends of what you do. If everyone is heating up a 3/8" rod to make a hook, you can have a dozen. If you are making scrolls, you will need the forge for yourself. 

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On 2/15/2019 at 4:13 AM, Shabumi said:

best description would be a natural gas pit forge

That was probably a Johnson #122 forge/furnace. They were in many school metal arts (shop) classes.

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Thank you ID. I looked it up and it's definitely that style forge, I'd say it looks more like the #133 double width based on the dimensions I remember

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