Mittwoch, 29. Mai 2013

Another productive day at the Bethaus smithy

 Last Friday it was meeting with Nick again to do some tutoring and some forging myself. So we met at Volker´s place and started right away. Nick had quite some ambitious ideas, and I felt right sorry to calm him down a bit. It´s just that he´d just forged the third time in his life and wanted to do some master projects, and that would be only frustrating. That guy´s really fired up with blacksmithing, and that´s great to see. When I told him to set aside the BIG and complicated project he was working on, I daresay he was a bit frustrated at first. But then he just shrugged and started working on the handle of the knife he wanted to complete. Of course, he needed a bit of a tutoring, too, and I helped him out a bit, but all in all, he fared well enough. Guess the outcome will be a fine one;-), and you will find it in this place.

Apart from tutoring, I did some big projects myself. I had found some material in the woods, ingots as well as steel rods from apparently the same or a similar material, crucible steel appearing toi hail from the beginning of the 20th century, with an extremely high carbon content. Blimey, that stuff´s not easy to forge!;-) But I did it eventually, and made these:
 Top to bottom: Ingots I probed and messed up. I will try that again, but this time forge a spatula out of mild steel to weld them back together and to refine them. Then an integrally bolstered belt knife, selectively tempered, as you can see by the quench line, which is already visible quite well. Then a leather working intgral half-moon - knife for the magic troll;-). Then I forged a seax blade from the crucible steel rods I found. I also did a spark analysis of the ingot to the right. The Birka style knife below is made from spring steel, and there´s another piece of spring steel lying beneath the integral, from an old wagon or whatever silently rotting in the middle of nowhere;-).
The leatherworking tool.
It simply feels good to share knowledge and to learn, and to be able to pursue your learning and your projects in an atmosphere of fruitful conversation and respect. I cannot thank Volker enough for letting us use the smithy whenever we want. Of course, there are always questions and discussions, wherever humans meet, but, compared to the smithy in the industrial museum, it is a whole different matter.

Volker is a smith who loves what he does. He is not the best of all blacksmiths, and he is aware of that. He´s sometimes driving me mad;-), and he is aware of that, too;-). But he knows what he gets by letting us do, what we love, too. We learn, to promote the work of the Bethaus as a concept, and we all feel responsible for something great; people keeping the world alive by telling stories with voice and song and sickle and, pardon me;-), hammer. Craig dropped by to fetch a sgian achlais I made for a friend of his, and we had a chat about this and that. Now Craig´s a great folk singer, an award winning one, to be precise. We had a good conversation about art and life and gypsy culture and what one could do to stop the madness of the modern world. And I daresay, we might not save the world with the Bethaus. But we made some kids and even their grumpy parents smile already. And we will keep telling our tales. Noone will prevent us from doing so. Might be we will be driven away from this place, too, as we are currently driven out of the Industriemuseum Ennepetal (mobbed out, in fact, feels quite familiar:-/). But nothing will keep us from doing what we believe in. And our number is growing, and the friendship amongst us is growing, as are our skills, for we are never done learning. This is what feels best these days.

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