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I Forge Iron

Back to school, pencils and notebook in hand

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It is August and all the kids are starting back to school, with school supplies on sale everywhere. So get a couple of notebooks and some pens or pencils. 

Put one notebook beside the computer and one in the shop.  That way when you have or find a great idea, you can make notes. That idea for staining leather, write it down. The idea for the new to you twist, write it down. The hold down for the anvil, write it down. Drawings or sketches only need to be as good as what you need to understand later. Putting an idea on paper reinforces the idea in your mind. You can come back later and make additions or notes. It is an ongoing idea clear up till you take it to the forge and it becomes a project.

You can have maybe an entire investment of a couple of dollars in supplies, which will more than offset trying to remember those ideas later.


Be sure and save one notebook for when you go to a blacksmithing gathering to make notes. 

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Glen, that’s a great idea I keep a notebook and pencil on the counter in my shop, but I always run into one of two problems. I forget to write my ideas down or I forget the idea by the time I get to the notebook 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Spiral notebook 25 cents, found a lumber pencil for $0.33   The lumber pencils are not mechanical, the lead does not break, and they work.  For $0.58 a set, I got a set for the car, the shop, and my desk. 


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Dixon makes lots of good quality pencils in many different hardnesses for a variety of applications. I use them for laying out watercolor paintings. I haven't tried the flat carpenter pencils by them though.


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Don't forget graph paper, It's on sale too! The steel suppliers here have give away pocket note pads in graph paper. Nothing beats sketching ideas on graph paper, 2D straight lines and scaling the drawing is automatic. 

The graph paper spiral notebook next to my chair has sketches and dimensioned drawings more than 20 years old and just a glance brings the project right back. I can look out a window and see several. 

So yeah, back to school sales are the time to get spiral notebooks and the enscribing instruments of your choice. I carry a mechanical pencil but use old school #2 and carpenter's pencils in the shop. Depending on how detailed the sketch/drawing I'll use a pen or colored pens for bolded or highlighting details or different sections. Say you want to make the wire run distinct in a lamp sketch. Yes?

A "silver streak" for marking steel and a "red streak" for marking shiny metal: Al, SS, etc. are industry official but almost any colored pencil works just fine. The industry standard "Streak" pencils go away when you get them hot, they don't do it for torching. Set up sure but you need a stronger mark, center punch the line or set a guide bar.

Frosty The Lucky.

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