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Hello IFI. My name is Branden, and I’m a 42-year-old full-time pastor at a small church in Apollo, PA. We just moved to this area from further south of Pittsburgh. In September of this year (2019), my wife and I attended the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival. That’s nothing new or exciting since we always go, but this year I decided to spend more time at the blacksmith shoppe. Glad I did! I got connected to a local club who taught me some basics for free! I made an S-hook, a letter opener, and a key rack so far. I think every beginner makes those first. LOL 

Anyway, I’m hooked. I have wanted to blacksmith most of my life. When I was a kid, I loved playing medieval-themed video games and reading about “old time” European culture. As with any fantasy fiction, blacksmiths are always a big feature (it’s always the dwarves...why is it always the dwarves?). :) This is a lifelong dream being fulfilled. I may not have my own forge for some time, but I am smithing with a local veteran one-on-one now that winter is here. What an opportunity!

I’m eager and willing to learn, and I’m also watching the prayer requests section closely. You can count on me to be praying for anyone and everyone here to the best of my ability and memory. Hope to meet many of you soon!

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Welcome!  I predate video games by a while,  I was an adult before I could be eaten by a Grue. No dwarves but The Burnished Blade by Lawrence Schoonover, Is still one of the best descriptions of smithing in a historic fantasy setting, early renaissance, that I have read.

I think Dwarves are associated with metalworking from their portrayal in  northern European mythology, while elves could not stand the presence of "cold iron".  Just like many mythical/legendary smiths are portrayed as lame.  Think about it; what was a high status, highly paid job where you could do it only having to take 1 step, like between forge and anvil...

You may have noticed that Fridays tend to send our wits wandering a bit further afield than usual...

I'm always up for discussions of the history of the craft and ferrous metals technologies; though I freely admit one can be a great smith and not know much of anything about smithing from before the Bessemer/Kelly process!

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T.P.,

The SLAG.'s wit is wandering sufficiently,  this evening,  to offer this bit of arcana.

You are correct. Most of the ancient Gods that worked as blacksmiths are depicted as lame. (for example Vulcan, Hephaestus, Weylon, etc. etc.).

This peculiar trait is thought to be an occupational hazard for working many years with arsenical bronze.

Lameness can be caused by arsenic poisoning. Tin mining in Cornwall, and Devonshire,  (especially on Dartmoor), England had to contend with heavy arsenic contamination whilst processing the chief tin ore  cassiterite  (SnO2), mineral.*

That part of England was the chief source of tin for bronze manufacture for thousands of years. Such tin was used all over Europe and the near and middle east.

There were very few natural deposits of cassiterite anywhere until the discovery of stream tin in Malaya in the later part of the nineteenth century.

SLAG.

*Indeed, arsenic is often a common contaminant of copper winning, smelting of the ore and also smithing of the resultant metal.

p.s.  Welcome to the forum, Mr. M.W.A.

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Interesting notion Slag. Are you saying the mythological blacksmiths named above weren't lamed by walking into the anvil horn for ages? :huh: Next I suppose you'll suggest generations of arsenic exposure stunted miner's growth or perhaps caused other problems like dwarfism? 

Boy you're really stretching things aren't you. 

Thank you, much appreciation for something new to think about. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Herr Frosty,

Are you suggesting that the above-denoted deities got their lameness by being injudiciously horney.

(i.e. by blundering into the horns of their anvils?)

I was not aware that anvils had horns in those long-ago times. (the source for that is Mr. Powers,  et al.)

I will research out the arsenic lameness reference that I read ages ago, and contact you, with same.

If I really "stretching things",  I would be taller today and a lot more handsome.

I think that I have led this thread too far astray, and commandeered it from the good reverend. (see supra). So I shall desist.

And  the Administrator Mr.  Glenn  is not amused.

Regards,

SLAG.

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Lieber Herr Frosty,

I did a quick search and came upon an interesting reference for the lameness proposition.

Namely,

in Wikipedia,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hephaestus

Which cites,

  1. ^ Harper, M (October 1987). "Possible toxic metal exposure of prehistoric bronze workers". British Journal of Industrial Medicine. 44 (10): 652–656. doi:10.1136/oem.44.10.652. ISSN 0007-1072. PMC 1007896. PMID 3314977.

I should note that the note is somewhat controversial.

But the Celtic counterpart god of smiting  Weylon,  was also depicted as lame.

I have to turn in,

Good night all site enthusiasts,

And especially,

Mr. Frost.

SLAG.

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They're gods and demigods, can't they have anything on their anvils they wish and what's a little or a lot of arsenic to a god? 

Aren't the patrons/gods/demigods of the smithy listed above the same entity as depicted by different cultures? The same mechanism that gives us "Beowolf and Grendel" or "St. George and the dragon?" Pretty much the same stories with minor variations like: place names, building shapes, etc. the variations tend to be regional or cultural rather than substantive. The audience has to be able to relate for a story to be good. Yes?

Still, one way or another there are enough harmful metals in tin and copper ores chronic heavy metal poisoning was probably the old norm. Even now, how many cities still have lead in the water supply plumbing? :unsure:

Plumbing from the Latin "plumbum." Lead.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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I always thought that the Blacksmith deities were lame, disfigured,or handicapped in some way because of the general danger inherent to blacksmithing and also to separate them from " regular" society. To put them outside of the normal. I would think ancient blacksmiths were looked upon as both dangerous and powerful. Some ancient societies looked at smiths in the same way as they looked at shamans. Of the world but also outside of the world.

Pnut

Edited by pnut

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Mr. Frost,

I agree with your last post on this thread.

That is the point concerning water pipes made from lead.

Yes, they all should be replaced. And they are gradually being done so, in north America and most of the rest of the world.

There are two facts that mitigate their toxicity. water return pipes are not a great problem. (unless a persons diet consists of drinking waster water. (not advisable).

But a surprising number of lead pipes deliver perfectly safe drinking water to millions of consumers.

The reason is that pipes in areas that have hard water, develop a coating of calcium minerals,  (e.g. calcium carbonate),  precipitated from the hard water, onto the interior surface of the pipe,  That coating shields the lead from leaching into the drinking water.

(That is not the case for pipes that carry soft water.).

Who would have thunk it.

SLAG.

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Reverend Branden,

If you live in a soft water jurisdiction, 

bottled bourbon may be safer than tap water.

SLAG.

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How about bottled water and single malt tap scotch? No red or yellow glaze on the mugs of course. 

Blind in one eye is half way to retirement for old time blacksmiths, no mystery there. How Hephaestus was lamed is open to discussion. Was he lamed when Zeus  threw him from Olympus for siding with his Mother Hera. Or did Hera lame him? Too many opinions, I'm sticking with too many pokes on the anvil. Perhaps he dropped it on his foot. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Mr. Frost,

A suitable single malt* with a wee bit of water. (spring, or frothed up distilled),  will do splendidly.

Shot glasses will work fine.

(I wish you were situate closer by.)

Your place or mine?

SLAG.

* Talisker,  Laphroaig,  Abelour,  or whatever.

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While I've never enjoyed the hospitality I like how a Scottish: pub, tavern, bar(?) handles scotch and water. They bring you your glass with it's dose of scotch and a pitcher of water. I love the flavor but hate the alcohol burn so I'll have a dab bit of scotch and 4x the water. I haven't been able to afford a moderately high end scotch, I cringe at a bottle of McClellands, since I got married. <sigh>. Been well worth it though.

One of these years it'd be nice to meet up with online friends and share a dram, slice of pizza, some tall tales or jokes. Living in the woods does have it's advantages though.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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The spring water here in the bluegrass region is great for mixing with Scotch whisky/ bourbon due to the karst topography. It's limestone predominantly with some dolomite and sandstone for good measure. Good for distilling, mixing, and making ice to be served with whiskey. The older horse breeders claim the mineral content helps the horses too, but I can neither confirm or deny this.

Pnut

 

 

 

 

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Perhaps you would prefer not to read about the problems with pollution in karst regions. In non karst regions water has to travel a long distance through soil and porous rocks that act somewhat as a filter. In karst regions polluted water can drop into a cavelet and zip over to where you are taking water out... Where I once lived the recharge rate was on the order of 50 thousand years for water to get from where it went into the porous rock beds to where we were pumping it for drinking water.  In a karst region it can be days to weeks (or longer).

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Yes, I know, folks seem to think it makes for a superior water for distilling regardless.  Quite a few of the bourbon distilleries have been using the same springs for over a hundred years. As to whether it makes for better horses I think that may be an old farmers tale or more recently a gimmick oft repeated by the tourist commission. I do like the taste of limestone filtered spring water over any other I've had the pleasure to taste. We used to have a spring on my stepdads family's farm and I remember it being the best water that I've ever tasted. An example of how porous the topography is in KY. Did you hear about the main showroom at the Corvette museum opening up one night and all the cars falling into the sinkhole?

Pnut

Edited by pnut

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Yes I remember and saw the pics/video---it was a great tragedy.  As for water:  the big takeaway is to test on a regular basis.  What's been great for centuries can become contaminated by a chicken house in just a couple of years.   The stream I used to play in as a kid, (as did my parents when they were kids), is now so gunky in the summer I refuse to let my kids in it.

We have hard water locally; provided by the Polvadera Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association, which as a neighbor puts it: "the water has rocks in it".  Let your water glass dry and you will see the white residue.  We have a pot of water on the wood stove in the winter getting fed regularly and besides the calcium deposits we also get beautiful calcium sulfate crystals growing in it at the end of the season when we let it dry out slowly on it's own.  We get the test reports on it to and I read them. The net town over used to have bad Arsenic issues where we were OK on that and had radionuclide issues...(that explains so much...).

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