Hammer Time

I spent the past week picking up the final few supplies to begin blacksmithing.  I got a couple files, a punch, a chisel, an extendable metal hose, a bag of anthracite coal, and some steel stock, round and flat.

Yesterday I lit some cardboard and shoved some coal over it and... nothing.

I piled up some cardboard and small pieces of firewood, cranked the blower a bit, and piled up the coal... nothing.

Piled up some cardboard and small pieces of firewood, then three of us took turns cranking the ever loving heck out the blower and finally got some nice glowing coals.  Stuck some round stock in and pretty soon I hand a handle on the end of it.  And the coals cooled off.

And then, an epiphany!  Blacksmiths in days of yore had 12 year old apprentices.  I'm guessing that was not so much to pass on the skills, but to have someone to crank the daggone blower!

Then, I hooked up my leaf blower and went to town.  Worked like a charm!

 I ended up making a coal scraper to move the burning coals around in the forge.  It isn't pretty, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out for my first ever project.

I made a second one to give to a friend that helped me yesterday and it had a larger handle and a longer scraper end.  I liked it better, but wanted to keep and use the first one.

By the end of the day, I was beat.  Back hurt, hips and knees hurt, shoulders and arms hurt.  It was darn hot too.  But it was good.  I felt like I had accomplished something.  I'm really looking forward to building this new hobby.

I felt better than I expected this morning, and I got in some kayaking.  Did some turning practice in the pool, then took a lap of the 5 acre pond.  I got a good rhythm going a few times and got going pretty good.  Next time I'll take my cell phone and use the GPS to figure out exactly how far my path is.

It was a great weekend.  Next weekend is my NOLS Wilderness First Aid course. The weekend after that starts my 4/10 workweeks for the summer and 10 straight three day weekends.

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