pnut

what have you gained from blacksmithing

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I know we all have taken up blacksmithing for different reasons, some as an occupation others as a hobby and some a combination of the two. I was wondering what others get out of smithing. I find when I am at the forge which I admit hasn't been very often yet, I don't have anything else running through my head but the task at hand. It's like getting away from the world for a while.  It's been better therapy than I could have ever expected. 

I'm just wondering what others have to say. I know that this sounds a little warm and fuzzy but for me  the benefits of taking up the craft have up to this point been more Immaterial but invaluable nonetheless. 

Thanks everyone I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say on the subject.

  Pnut (Mike) 

 

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Similar to you it's a method to free thoughts and do 1 thing. The satisfaction from making something and seeing others enjoy it is also nice. 

Plus its just fun to beat hot metal with a hammer! 

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For me, it was a furthering or deepening of my fabricating abilities. What I did not foresee or anticipate was the way it changed my thinking. It became, sort of, 3 dimensional. A straight length could be an angled piece, a bent length was perfectly good material. Volume of metal was important. Metal could be formed instead of cut and welded.

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 I like the challenge of transforming a known object into a totally different object. I must admit, I have met some great like minded people along the way.....                 Life is Good                      Dave 

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Its given me the greatest life's journey that exceeded all my expectations.  As a traditional smith its taken me from the "oldest and largest" estate in Beverly Hills(so they said...), to Prague Czech. Ive met, worked with, and call many friend, some of the finest smiths of this era. Its brought me to where I am now, building a new shop with a new set of goals as a traditional smith. And this journey is not over yet. How can it get any better than that?

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Less space in my garage for cars, more burn scars, an unusual collection of hooks holding things up in my kitchen, and a never-ending list of projects that I will get to one of these days.

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It's been most humbling and relaxing of my many hobbies. I get more satisfaction forging a scroll, than I do making a stock removal knife. 

My father passed in November of last year, he raised me to use my hands and work hard. Blacksmithing really makes me feel like I am doing both. As of late it's what I've had time for (albeit not much), since knife making has been put on hold for now. While my father never forged, blacksmithing reminds me a lot of him, for which I am grateful. 

It's also helped me see things more dimensional, which has always been trouble for me. I used to be only able to envision the making of things in 2d before. 

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Having grown up in Dad's shop where 0.000,01" was considered a slop tolerance and he actively discouraged me from blacksmithing, It was a natural. I really wanted relief from crazy tight specs and it was rebellious enough without walking the bad side. 

As Mike says smithing is very meditative I get lost in the project though it doesn't work as well to ease my angry side as it did before the accident. It's excellent therapy, a number of our club members are Vets suffering PTSD and good friends now. My observations regarding the old saw about taking your aggression out at the anvil says that isn't the case. Blacksmithing is about control, you can't even build a good fire if you can't control it. You can't control ANYTHING if you can't control yourself so time at the anvil makes a person put their issues aside to get anything done. Once you've controlled a problem once it gets easier. Oh the problem may not get easier but controlling it's effects on your life will.

Of course being able to make things whether scraps, or tools, hardware, yard art, furniture . . . What EVER is hugely therapeutic. 

Of course I've gained tolerance to burn pain, pokes, gouges, scrapes, cuts, sore muscles, etc. 

Maybe best of all for me since the accident I got a HUGE audience. :) (read as lots of friends)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Blacksmithing allows me to exercise my creativity.

My wife says that blacksmithing "Is good for constipation of the soul".

Blacksmithing has improved my ability to see shapes buried in stock/scrap.

Blacksmithing has really helped make me more ambidextrous.

Blacksmithing has allowed me to meet a LOT of interesting people; people who accept "I stopped to pick up some metal on the side of the road." as a valid reason for being ten minutes late.

After a day spent working with computers; hitting something a LOT with a hammer is very soothing.

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   Just started, but I missed working with my hands, and didn't want and couldn't afford to get into precision crafting a a hobby.  Smithing lets me get away from the world, and requires that I focus on the task at hand, and consider what next to do as the metal heats.

   I view it as chess with a hammer.  You have to take your time, and know the next move even before you finish the current one.  

   I get to be left to my own devices, and the smile on my wife's face when I bring her a forged snail, bottle opener or hook is great.   It's as close to being an artist as I will get.

   I am still working on my third book, but I truly believe that it is going to be rewritten because this hobby has made me want to write a book about a blacksmith.  

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9 hours ago, Frosty said:

It's excellent therapy, a number of our club members are Vets suffering PTSD and good friends now

Frosty, a large part of my new direction will be doing just that. I've already started in a small way. Alas, with no shop and a major drought,  no actual forgework, just a few get to gethers and a lot of B. S. Sessions.

I've a psych, an advocate, and just a few good folks working with disabled vets, .mostly PTSD disabled, sending them my way. I'm doing this non-gratis and basically supplying an "open forge" setting with classes. And, best of all, no ties with any organization,, just word of mouth, me and these Vets. When the shops up, it should really kick in. It's the first time since moving to the mountains, after the service that I've had anything like cabin fever, awaiting spring.  

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12 hours ago, anvil said:

I'm doing this non-gratis and . . . .

Is this a typo or are you charging for shop time? There's nothing wrong with charging, I would if I could afford the insurance. I just want to be clear, the rest of your post sounds like you're donating your time and shop. Either way is good, our Vets need the help. Lord knows relying on the GVT to do what it promised is a perfect example of the single payer system. 

I hear you about cabin fever, I'd just gotten most of the trim on my shop when I had the accident so it's not insulated, wired or heated. It's just now warming up enough to start working on projects and I have a few on the bench. One of our tasks (goals?) is helping the newcomers to the craft get geared up. Blacksmithing gear is hard to come by up here unless you buy new and there aren't many who can afford a couple grand for an anvil. Last Saturday's meeting we had a twist tong workshop. Last fall we held a K-26 brick and home built burner, propane forge workshop.  Walk out the door with about a 250 cu/in forge for under $80. or buy one of the surplus forges for $200. 

The club is now up to 37 paid up members and meetings are getting crowded so we don't see as many Vets at meetings. Individuals are offering shop time and space as well as helping get them set up in their own shops. Blade smithing seems to work best for them. I think it has the most processes requiring strong control to get right. Lots of metal meditation time. 

I didn't serve myself but the stinking raw deal vets have been getting since Korean war really grates so I do what I can, including letters to my representatives. Fat lot of good that does with one of ours. Grrrrrrr.

Frosty The Lucky.

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What I've gained from taking up blacksmithing is more TOOLS! I LOVE tools. And I've also gained a revelation (at least to me) - making tools. The thought had never occurred to me before. But I couldn't afford some of the cool tools associated with blacksmithing. I love tools - I love making stuff - so I looked into making them. Then I made a forge... then a forge press... then a belt grinder... then a burnout/heat treating oven, then two salt pots, then another metal melting/burnout oven... then a vacuum casting set up. Friends were sure I'd never get back to blacksmithing/bladesmithing, or anything else...just get carried away making tools. But what's wrong with that?! I was having fun and learning a lot. And I'm working on getting back to blacksmithing/bladesmithing. Anyone know of any rehab programs for tool making addiction? Never mind, I don't need a cure. I'm fine. I can stop any time I want to. Really!

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Yes the best one involves shipping all your tools to me---including your tools to make tools and then taking up fishing...

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Legal fees?  Dynamite isn't that expensive!  (Old hillbilly joke...)

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T. P.,

Rotenone is a lot cheaper,  quieter and dramatic than dynamite.

But not very sporting.

SLAG

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As they say in Saint Louis   Gottcha.

SLAG.

 

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12 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Legal fees?  Dynamite isn't that expensive!  (Old hillbilly joke...)

Nope, the hole in the water that one pours money into. That reminded me of an old joke.

An old timer went fishing with a Game and Fish officer.

The old timer lit a half stick of dynamite and threw it in the water.

The G&F officer said don't you know that's illegal I should arrest you.

The old timer lit another stick and handed it to the G&F officer and said you gonna talk or fish?

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Yup that is the one I alluded to.  My Grandfather ran a minnow business, 160 acres of ponds, a wholesale route and a retail store in Fort Smith. So I grew up hearing fish stories and jokes.

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22 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Yes the best one involves shipping all your tools to me---including your tools to make tools and then taking up fishing...

Thanks Thomas! I appreciate your altruistic intentions and concern for my well being, but really, I'm fine...no cure needed...no addiction here.. .. … everything under control …  . (love my tools) .. . ..can quit any time . . . …. .. ..(ahh, making tooooools) … .. . no need for concern . … .it's just the normal noises in here .. . ….. .. ….(my preccccccious)

LOL :ph34r:

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13 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Dynamite isn't that expensive! 

Dad called it "fishing with a schyster." Every once in a while an outsider (tourist) decides the way to fish is with  large bore pistol and hollow points. Fish and Game tends to reward such intellect with room and board while relieving them from the responsibility of everything involved in the adventure. 

Funny, the clown shooting at salmon in the creek/river tends to get most everybody anywhere close dialing 911, nobody wants to be close to an idiot blasting away with . . . heck anything. Worse it's a terrible way to fish, hydrostatic shock from a bullet is only good for a couple inches and actually shooting a fish with a hollow point sort of scrambles the filets. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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