I'm an avid social media user when I'm away from the workshop which is sadly all too often. I often post pictures of things I've made and peruse the things other people out there are making.
More recently I've started making youtube videos. I'll post a link here:
The aim is to help beginner blacksmiths with a few projects etc etc.
Anyway I posted this video on a facebook group and got a rather interesting reply. "They didn't have angle grinders in 1875"
My initial thought went something along the lines of "Some people shouldn't be allowed to play with hot steel"
Quite an obvious comment if you take it at face value. But to me it has worrying undertones. It seems to me there are often two kinds of amateur blacksmiths. - The "modern" smiths and the "Old school" smiths. - I hope these are suitably self explanatory.
Personally I can't understand the reasoning behind people who are rooted to this idea that blacksmithing is an ancient craft and everything has to be done "The old way" or it's not worth doing at all...
Why on earth would I do this hobby in a way that's true to the way a blacksmith in 1875 would do it? for filing things by hand, using a hand operated drill, forge welding any joins? - no angle grinder, drill press or arc welder in sight?
Is it just me or is this absolutely daft? I'm only a hobby smith, but even so my time is precious. I have a dog that needs walking twice a day, a fiancé that needs feeding when she gets in from work, not to mention a job of my own. I don't have time to even consider doing everything the way it was done hundreds of years ago. I can only imagine how important time savers are for the professional smiths out there. Power hammers, induction forges and so on and so on...
Some might say that doing things the old fashioned way adds to their value to the customer (if indeed you are selling your work) - but my question to that would be "How can your customer tell, other than you telling them that's how you did it?"
To me it seems to be a way to charge unnecessarily inflated prices, when surely you can tailor the price to the budget of the client. I'm more than happy to arc weld things together if the budget demands it. Likewise I'm happy to smelt the steel from scratch as long as their budget allows for it.
Are there any "Old school" smiths on here? If so can you share your reasoning with me?
I assume there are a few "modern" smiths here that have the same feelings on the matter. One thing that is interesting though, another facebook user commented that "They didn't have angle grinders, but they would have used them if they did..."
All the best