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They didn't have them in 1875...


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#1 Everything Mac

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 12:37 PM

Hi all, 

 

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 

 

Andy


He who asks is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever. 


#2 Everything Mac

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 12:47 PM

Oops - sorry mods. I seem to be having posting issues...  [Sorry]


He who asks is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever. 


#3 dutch

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 03:24 PM

imo it`s super cool to at least know how the old timers did their things, but for me that was the real hobby part of it all.  When doing resto work on old gates or any other achitectural iron work, I think one really needs to master the techniques used, but other than that, I don`t see why new tools or tech Always seems to be a no-go zone. You don`t go on horse back to the shop either do you?

 



#4 trying-it

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 06:03 AM

Oops - sorry mods. I seem to be having posting issues...  [Sorry]

 

I took care of the multiple posts!

 

[smith]  Stan



#5 trying-it

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 06:21 AM

There is another way to merge both new & old school.

 

For instance an item is modern welded for project strength and integrity.

 

This is VERY important today as we are liable for what we make and sell to others and we all know there are a lot of lawyers out there just itching to get into product liability related issues. So we modern weld the item, but hide the joints after using old school methods of wrapping or adding collars,

 

I take a few artist blacksmithing semester long classes at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale (SIUC).

 

We are taught both old school and modern processes. However, none of our finished items can show any grinder or sander marks, any type of modern weld joints, etc. For each modern method visible a full letter grade is subtracted from the overall grade. Yes modern methodology and processes can be used for integrity, faster delivery times, etc., but none have to be visible after in the final project. We are taught to make a project "timeless", being that someone looking at the project at a later time cannot decipher which time period or era the item was made. Modern welds, grinder marks, etc., all point to the item being made in a more modern time frame. 

 

The main point is to not only keep the art of blacksmithing/metalsmithing alive and well, but have fun and enjoy doing it. 

 

Andy thanks for posting this thread and your tutorial video! [Beer]

 

Furthermore thanks for starting this dialogue on a very touchy subject!  [Worthy]

 

[smith]   Stan



#6 trying-it

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 06:49 AM

BTW: My Facebook page can be found at the following link, be glad to have you as a FB friend.

 

https://www.facebook...100008791778432



#7 Tony Mertens

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 07:39 AM

I think we had a lengthy discussion on this topic a few years ago here on this topic.  It pretty much boils down to personal preference.  As was stated, if doing restoration they may specify the procedures.  I'm pretty sure that "old" blacksmiths adopted new practices along the way otherwise there would be no "old school". We'd still be doing it that way.  Remember, I believe it was Samuel Yellin who used one of the first arc welders in his work.

 

I pretty much use Trying-it's method to hide or minimize welds.  Grinder marks a definite no-no with any methods.



#8 Everything Mac

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 11:56 PM

Thanks Stan I'm not sure what happened there. Dodgy internet perhaps. 

 

It's interesting that they would subtract a grade mark for an exposed modern technique, when many could argue that all tools require a certain amount of skill and competence to use correctly. 

But at the same time I agree, exposing unfinished weld beads and sloppy grinder marks looks unprofessional and we owe it to ourselves to make things look as clean as possible.

 

I don't wish to say that there is a right or wrong way of doing things as long as it's safe. We all know there's more than one way to skin a cat. But what if I said that my work is better than yours because I did not use electricity and you did? 

 

Cheers 

Andy


He who asks is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever. 


#9 Everything Mac

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 12:49 AM

BTW: My Facebook page can be found at the following link, be glad to have you as a FB friend.

 

https://www.facebook...100008791778432

Request sent Stan. Cheers :) 


He who asks is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever. 


#10 freezinweasel

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 06:01 PM

I try and do as much as I can by hand without power tools. BUT! I'm not that much of a nut. I have an angle grinder and I know how to use it. If people want to do things the old ways, they need to dig a pit and bang things on rocks with rocks.
I forge weld. I don't have a welder but as soon as I get a wire feed welder you can bet I'll put that puppy to work.
I think people get stuck on the 1875 year because that is what is mostly portrayed in the old western movies and that is their only reference.
Use what you have.
Thanks for your post Andy.
Mark <><

 


! Corinthians 3:13-14 But on the judgement day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a persons work has any value.If the work survives, the builder will receive a reward.

#11 Everything Mac

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 07:19 AM

Hi Mark, 

 

I think that's what it boils down to. If you get a tool that can make your work easier or faster in some way then as long as you know how to use it properly then you should use it as much as you can. 

 

I've got a project coming that would be great for a plasma cutter, but sadly I don't have one so I'll be drilling several small holes and filing it smooth... Oh well. at least I have an electric drill. ;) 

 

Andy


He who asks is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever. 


#12 ggraham

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 04:48 AM

I am proud to have electricity ( not many did in 1875), brace and bit or the like is good when there is no alternative.

 

Light to see by is good, means I can work before daylight and after dark. or inside a building when the weather is uncooperative.

 

George



#13 freezinweasel

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 12:54 PM

Good point George. If people want to be total purists then they need to learn to work during daylight hours only.


! Corinthians 3:13-14 But on the judgement day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a persons work has any value.If the work survives, the builder will receive a reward.

#14 trez

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 05:37 PM

there is an other way to look at it. They did have water powered power hammers and grinding stones in the 1875.  Now it is just more convent to have an electrical one. Then there is the one I get a kick out of they did not have cars in 1875 so why do we make key chains for the horse. 

 

 

Joseph Moxen said it best a blacksmith ruler  are marked in inches, half inches and quarters and on the rare occasion half quaters


LongFellow; His brow is wet with honest sweat,He earns whate'er he can,And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.




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