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I Forge Iron

Square One

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I finally fired up my forge. I had several reasons for the delay: if I started when I got my anvil in September I'd neglect the rest of my work, I didn't have a place set up to work and I like to prepare mentally by reading up on any given subject before beginning. There are other reasons, but these are the main ones.

Yesterday, I started a fire even though my shop is not ready. I have big doors on the east side of the shop so I set up there thinking that the prevailing winds would take care of most of the exhaust. Yesterday the wind was from the east!

Finally got a decent fire going, probably too big for what I needed, but I liked it!

I decided to straighten some nail nippers for tongs, before beginnging my chosen course of lessons, since I didn't have any.

Then it started.

I knew it would.

I got the nippers hot and then didn't know what to do. After months of reading and re-reading and skipping parts because, "I know that stuff." I finally got to it and found, as I expected , that all my reading got me to that point where I know nothing. And I am thrilled.

My plan is that my book learning will fall into place as I go. Actually doing it will put that stuff that is in my brain, to where it will do some good: into my arm.

So I am at square one.

A very good place to be.

It is just getting light here so I think I'll go light a fire!

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way to go, man was that wind something or what? sheesh. Anyway, may I make a suggestion? Once the forge is going, and you have warmed your anvil, make a couple nails, or hooks, or something fast and easy, that gets your hammer and eye in rythym, many smiths I know will do this as an excercise, prior to doing anything important. It seems to work for many of us. Also, after you get going, start planning to work on more than 1 piece at a time, it keeps you from standing around while you take another heat on 1 piece. And lastly, when doing something intricate, do the dance cold, before doing it hot, in other words, make the practice moves and see where the tools need to be, and how you can accomplish it, this gives me a great deal of confidence, especially in forge welding, I don't feel as if I'm fumbling around, cause I have already done it once. Good hammerin pal!!

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As you have discovered Matt there is a BIG difference in reading about how to do something and actually attempting it yourself. The same goes with watching someone who is experienced doing something and making it look easy until, again, you try it yourself. Don't be discouraged by this! It is amazing how quickly the skills that you have read about will begin to materialize when you attempt to do the work yourself. You will know doubt become addicted to trying out all the things you have seen and will be able to do them sooner than you think! Happy hammering!


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