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Mittwoch, 13. April 2011

Children´s Birthday parties at the Smithy-Bethaus in Witten, Muttental

 On Saturday I had a great ride in the morning with Kai, singletrails and such. We had great fun, and I was somewhat high from it. Had to drop by Volker´s to give a drill key wrench to him, for Viktor had built a drilling machine, and no key wrench would fit. I had one to spare, so I dropped by. But Volker had a lot to do, so I just helped him out a bit doing filing and grinding of knives and other little projects the kids did at the smithy-for they were there for a birthday party.
 This is Linus forging his first project, a small horseshoe. Volker´s the one kneeling before the anvil giving help and advice. This guy is even friendlier with the kids than he is normally, and his patience is admirably. He simply loves children, and it shows in his work.
 That´s Michael, helping Jan forging a snake. Michael is another guy frequently helping out and also of great patience and friendliness. There can be as many problems, the forge might be defunct, the steel burn, the tongs bend, but he never loses his composure. Really great, laid-back people, and a joy to work with.
 Heating the steel for the kids is a task not only technically challenging, but you always have to have a look for what the little ones do, for not to hurt them. Some want to touch it, for the colour appeals to them! Then you´d show them what a piece of hot iron does to wood and never tire to explain that they should not pick up anything lying on the floor! All the while you are multitasking with those simple blacksmithing tasks.
 That´s a snake Volker did for fun.
 A snail, a common project with the kids. Made from mild steel, and NO, it does NOT throw sparks;-)... (but I am thinking....;-).
 That´s a drill Volker forged from mild steel. He has forged some million of them while working for the Freilicht-museum Hagen, quite some slave work, if you ask me... having worked there myself.
 One perfect nail by Volker! I dream of forging one like this. Mine are always a little off-center. Guess you need some challenges, still, eh?;-)
 That´s what the kids achieved. The blades are all mild steel, and forged by Volker. I did the grinding, fast and dirty, with a roto-grinder, all the while explaining that one never should do this;-) not quite good for my credibility;-)...
 Was some fast, arduous work, so I started a little knife project from leaf spring steel... and how will it look...;-)?
 Taking form... annealed it in the ashes. As you can see, it´s pretty much forged into form before grinding.
 Finished grind. I let it cool on the anvil to take it home to drill it. In the meantime I completely messed up the drilling. Will make a skeletonized handle to make up for it;-) and simply claim I did it on purpose;-). The spine´s quite thick, some 5 mm, but no harm done, because the convex bevel is quite high (almost 4 mm wider as a Karesuando blade in total) and measuring some 3 mm there.
 After some really hard work we cleaned up and had a beer in the Bethaus´s restaurant. This is Michael II, another smith. having a refreshing Weissbier. He works as a lanscaper most of the time, and is no stranger to knifemaking either.
 That´s Hans, who sold handsewn caps to passers-by. He sells sewing machines and is quite a funny chap. We had quite a laugh, but also some relishing in the silent and peaceful atmosphere of the place. Had some cake and some coffee, too, and a really interetsing conversation with Jochen, the cook of the restaurant, who has worked on either submarines and high-quality restaurants all over the world and who works there-for fun!
It was a long, strenuous, but thoroughly contenting day. I rode home with the sinking sun, and had a lot to think about...


  1. Wow some real nice forgework there Markus.

    Its good that the young ones see these old skills at work.

  2. @sticks: That´s a big motivation for me, too. We live in a society where there are children with motorical impairments due to the loss of traditional values. Sitting in front of a box the whole time makes kids a heap of wobbly flesh, and not so sapiens any more.

    @Gorges: Me, too, and I was utterly surprised it all went so well - until I messed up drilling *grml.;-)Guess one has to be modest, and this was a reminder;-).


Now go on, discuss and rant and push my ego;-). As long as it´s a respectful message, every comment is welcome!

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