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I Forge Iron

Cub Scout talk

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tonight I am giving a presentation on blacksmithing at a cub scout meeting, no forging, just talking. I have a basic outline, they want about 30 minutes, I could use some feedback and ideas. Here is my outline.
1. History of Blacksmithing Bronze age to present.
2. The industrial revolutions impact.
3. Todays blacksmiths.
4. Cool hands on pass around items.
5. Read the stories "a day in the life of a blacksmith apprentice" and "The king of craftsmen" as a closing grabber.

I look forward to your feedback, I have to leave about 6:30 eastern time.

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I would suggest taking a piece of modeling clay and a crosspeen hammer so that you can illustrate how iron moves depending on how forge is applied to it. Examples your thumb pressing in the center of a clay/iron bar, and how the clay moves when a straight edge is pressed into the clay (or clay-like nature of hot iron).

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30 minutes. So little time, and A lot depends on you and your experience

I would suggest a very brief introduction, and then into a pass around and look at items session, describe the techniques and show how they are made suggest using modelling clay to try to replicate them either at home or in a inter pack competition , then go back another time to judge them, or give pointers, you will be surprised by the quality of their pieces.
I believe in the States your scouts have a metalworkers badge, get them involved for the future.
Whatever you do, good luck and enjoy it the first session can be a hair raising experience.

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Sounds great Mike! Its always good to see the young guns getting involved with activities and actually DOING something other than playing video games or absorbing junk food while staring at the idiot box.
I think the scouts used to have a merit badge specifically for blacksmithing which featured an anvil on it. These days it has been broadened to "metalworking" with various requirements but blacksmithing is still part of it. Good luck!

Maybe someone there could snap a few pix of the presentation for IFI???

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I would mention the imnpact on america as we moved west that the blacksmiths had. You really only established a community if you had a smith. He forge tools, implements, and kep the wagons and horses running or walking on iron so to speak. He could make it repair it or reenvent it.

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I wouldn't get into the history, impact on society or any other in depth aspect. 30 mins can be a LONG time to keep kids this young interested. Hands on demos with clay to show how it moves. Different color clays layered and folded is good to show how pattern welded billets are made though that's kind of advanced. Objects to pass around and good story telling will be important to keeping them interested. A big dry erase board and plenty of drawings are good too. Videos if you can arrange them would be excellent. Maybe a TV and Youtube?

I used to get tagged with talking to the elementary school kids when we were drilling in a village. It's harder than it seems to keep kids under 12 interested and involved. It's not like you'll have a fire going, that's a whole different story.

Best of luck Mike, if you can get even one or two interested in actually making things instead of "managing" those who do, you'll do the country and world a service.

Let us know how it goes.


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The kids were great and the talk went very well, thanks for all the input, I told the story about the king of the craftsmen, and they loved it, even worked in a bit of history. Based on the applause, the parents loved it as much as the kids did. The first picture is of me and the group, the other is a table of hands on stuff I put out for the kids to check out.

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