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October 2008
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corvi [userpic]

One of the things I wouldn't have guessed until I started blacksmithing is how pretty it is. Kind of surprising, for a process that involves cutting up bits of bridge cable or iron railing or drill bit or car, heating them until red hot, and then hitting them with a hammer.

"Scale" is iron oxide that forms on the surface of the iron as you heat it. It's a sort of dark metallic grey. When you hammer the metal, the scale flakes away and sits on the anvil like an eggshell, pearl-gray and curved and delicate. When you put the piece back into the forge, you can see the scale that's left, curling in thin and shining yellow leaves around the hammermarks like a stream around rocks, living gold.

There's the forge itself, the way flame bends around the metal, the cobbled luminous refractory along the inside walls of the forge, the colors the flame takes on: a pale green if there's machine oil on the piece, deep luminous purple for some kinds of paint, blue when the flame is warming up. All the musical ringing notes of the anvil - I can tell whether a hit is true by the chord the anvil makes.

I wish I was a good enough photographer to capture these things.

Current Mood: happyclang clang clang

I love watching the metal move under the hammer, particularly when you can see the heat scooting around. The guts of a square piece are glowing yellow but the edges are black and scaled, and each time you hit it the hammer takes a bit of heat away and you can see the darker spot where you hit heat back up as the metal around it surrenders its heat.

The sound of someone doing light, consistent blacksmith work on an anvil is incredibly soothing, to me at least.

Let's hope my neighbors agree. :)

It's porno for pyros. Too bad you guys didn't make lunch, but I see you were gainfully (?) occupied.

I misunderstood cow and thought I didn't have a ride.

If you continue blacksmithing, I wouldn't mind tagging along as a photographer sometime. It seems incredibly cool to take pictures of.

We'd be glad to have you, and you'd be welcome to use the forge if you were interested in trying it out.


Count me in. How often do you guys go? I leave for my worldwide travels on Jan 18th, but I'm relatively available between now and then.


Since I have a few Christmas presents I'm commited to making, I'm running it as often as my schedule and the weather allow. Hopefully tomorrow (Monday), and then as much of next weekend (Friday-Monday) as possible.

Hi! tikimonkey directed me to your journal, as we have blacksmithing in common. Would you mind if I friended you? It's always nice to discover new interesting people :)

This is just a stab in the dark, but do you use a gas forge?

We are using a gas forge, a cute little thing gfish built. Unfortunately, it doesn't get hot enough to forgeweld, so we'll have to build a new one eventually, but there's still a lot we can do with it.

You are welcome to friend me, of course. I look forward to having someone else to be gleeful at about hardee tools and temper colors! :)

as i understand it, gas forges are very hard to use for fire-welding compared with coke burning ones. But so much cleaner to use!

I'm working on convincing the family that a smallish forge and anvil will present no geat fire risk in my workshop, and that the noise won't be an issue. It's restrictive only having access to the college ones.

Share the glee around, blacksmithing is deeply satisfying :)