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I Forge Iron

Form, Ergonomics, Video?


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In the process of coming back to smithing after a motorcycle wreck a couple years ago the idea of form and ergonomics (two things I did not even think about before the wreck) have been heavy on my mind.

As I was reading another thread it dawned on me that although I may think I'm in good form, standing close to the anvil, upright and using good technique as I hammer... the reality may be very different...

When I first started shooting archery it was suggested to video tape myself shooting so I could see my form and the reaction the bow made depending on how I was standing or how I drew the string etc... What I seen in that video experiment improved my marksmanship like nothing else I did. It taught me a great deal in a very short time.

So I am wondering how many (or if any) of you have set up a camera for the purpose of looking at your form and ergonomics for smithing? Is this something anyone here has done?

It is definitely something I have on my list of things to accomplish in the near future... If you have done this (or not) what camera angles would be the most beneficial? Any video's out there that you would use to compare yourself too?


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I've never used a video camera for blacksmithing,but I have for golf.Usually no one has to tell you what you are doing wrong....you can see it instantly.So I would say that using video for anything would be a great idea,including smithing.
Good luck.

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At one presentation I attended many years ago, the presenter said that an important tool to tell you if you are working correctly is a clock. He said if you are not working as fast as a professional smith, then you are doing it wrong. He especially pointed out not to hunch over the anvil and do little ding ding ding hits, and not to hit the face of the anvil with a hammer while working the edges of a piece.

Yesterday I also noticed one fellow holding a heated iron over the tail of one of the guild's anvils, while two other gentlemen hit it as hard as they could with sledge hammers. I half expected the tail of the anvil to break off.

I expect that the anvils in the guild's school area will have to be replaced every couple of years as they are taking a pretty severe battering. It makes me nervous about taking my almost pristine smaller anvils to guild presentations where other members might use them.

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Many years ago when videos were fairly new, (Pre easy access to the web), I found it most helpful, I just set it up and let it roll, most useful

The original idea was to use it to track making new items so that you had a record of the method and techniques used, and to make videos to send to individuals of specific skills

When viewing them back, you could see at what point it was if it went wrong and so you could deduce how to prevent making the same mistake again, it also clarified areas of wasted time like looking for tools, and duplicated working practices, your stance and the techniques being used.

Workng on your own and trying to move forward, you can see yourself from an observers point of view, and learn by the mistakes you can see, not having to try and remember where it may have gone wrong, you can isolate that particular point refine it and repeat the process until you get it right.

It was a humbling proceedure as you realise how much more there is to improve on to move forward, and what a p***t you were for making such obvious mistakes.

I would recommend doing it to anyone

One major problem at that time was that the focusing was dependant on light/heat in the focus area, everything used to black out when you were in the forge welding heat range and pulling it from the forge, this was overcame by using a filter. And to prevent hot scale damaging the lens, a welding mask clear glass was set up in front of it.

If you do try this, don't be too hard on yourself when viewng it back.

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