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Vern Wimmer

The first warm evening

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Of the year and it makes me philosophical. Watched the sun set and the bats were out performing their aerial acrobatics. A night for pondering.

My mind drifts to history, the past in general. I'm thinking about what we do and how we discuss it on the forum and the bladesmithing myths some of us have heard all our lives. I have concluded that the root myth, in America at least, is that of "secret techniques of steels, tempering and such that 'Smith's have kept to themselves and never shared". Now I am not saying that there haven't been 'Smith's that didn't keep methods secret but those kind of folks are that way no matter what they are doing. I don't think, by and large, knife making could have existed and developed in a vaccum. Get a couple of us in a room full of people and we will find each other and will be talking tempering temperatures in about 15 minutes.

We do know more about steel and have far more options than 'Smith's did 150 years ago but I have a feeling they were just like us. They shared knowledge amongst themselves and learned from each other. It is those outside the craft looking in who looked at a knife and couldn't grasp how It was made that started the tales. I have read a lot of old books and histories and it seems that the tales always come out of the mouths of people who didn't make the knife. I have read a lot of "brags" but none from the guy who made the knife. 

Today we probably have more individuals making knives, of all different levels, per capita, than ever before. It only figures because we have more disposable income per capita. How many of us have heard of a 'Smith with some "secret method" today? There are a few, as always, but I am willing to bet, percentage wise, less than in the past. Yes the internet and the science of metallurgy have made  "public information" out of "trade info" but that has been good for all and I have never heard of a 'Smith today who feels threatened by someone else's work or who won't share knowledge with others.

I think we represent the makers of the past very well. If they could have gotten together in a convention it would only differ from this forum in the technology we have today, the conversations would sound very familiar.

Just a warm evening's thoughts.

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And I hope the forge gods allow him to keep his secrets......All to himself.

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It would be nice to finally meet another bladesmith face to face... You might be right Vern, people generally want to share what they know. 

My best friend used to be my parter in crime when we first started out, but he wasn't in love with it as I was. He was good at it though; as good as me; better at heat treating at the time. He saw the decalescence shadows better. We didn't know the name, or what caused the shadows, but he knew what they meant. Me, I took it to orange and hoped for the best.

But, we started like any other cave dwelling kids may have. We built a campfire, supplied air via a plywood board, and improvised. We slowly evolved off each other's knowledge. He built a coal forge, and then I built one to match. I made a tomahawk, then showed him how I did it.

Someday I'll have to join a guild. 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Zeb Camper said:

 

Someday I'll have to join a guild. 

 

 

You know, being on this forum you already have. After all what is a guild really?

There is another thread in the beginners place that got sidetracked into a discussion of the forum and how nice it is. 99% of that is because of the efforts of those that were here before you and I but I think the other 1% is because of the guild-like feeling here. A beginner with a brake drum charcoal forge and a railroad track anvil can ask a question and get a decent answer from someone with years of experience a costly power hammer, tempering oven, expensive belt grinder, who is probably using the same steel in his pattern welded pieces as the beginner looking at a piece and wondering what to do, and that experienced person remembers those days and treats the beginner as he, himself, would like to have been(and maybe was) treated back then. 

Hard to say that it doesn't amount to a guild.

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Don't get me wrong. I think this is better than a guild. So much info in one place and tons of great people willing to share their know how. 

But, there is no ability to say "hey buddy, you're holding that tool wrong. Try it like this.", or, "You're fluxing that way too much" "get that a bit hotter". You know what I'm saying? 

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Around here that would be called "A boss" and you probably wouldn't like that. Funny, people are fine paying money to get that but resent it at a  job when they are getting paid.

(Sorry, my inner foreman comes out once in a while)

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I was just remembering a certain hammerhead I had on my crew once. Paid money to go to a craft seminar on the weekend but resented it when I was paying him and tried to teach him something

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I'm semi-allergic to anything resembling a club, fully allergic to people politics and BS.

A friend and myself are trying to get the locals together, and my mentor suggested the same, but we've not been very successful so far.

My take on the trade secrets in this game is very simple - you might have the information, the secret, but you still have to do it.......use it.

That's why I share what I've learned at the drop of the hat, invite people over and show them.

Out of several, only one person has taken the initiative. Most of the rest wants to give me a piece of leafspring in exchange for a knife. 

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13 minutes ago, SteveShimanek said:

Wait....a warm evening in Gold Beach??!!

Hey now, it was a whole 68 degrees and the wind actually stopped for 5 minutes in our little valley, well, it shifted direction so it blew over the top of the valley instead of down it .

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I get cold here when it drops below 80....a far cry from my teenage days there running around all winter in just a logger shirt.

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On 6/13/2018 at 7:42 PM, Vern Wimmer said:

I was just remembering a certain hammerhead I had on my crew once. Paid money to go to a craft seminar on the weekend but resented it when I was paying him and tried to teach him something

Do'h

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