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Kerri Duncan

Looking for a bit of assistance with a curriculum

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Morning folks! This was a toss-up to put here or in the "Hot Work" category... but seeing as I am:

  1.  a newbie of the first order to knife-making (three official "blades" and 2 classes under my belt and a ton of literature digested)
  2. not very experienced with the forge... I own one, I have an anvil- both are used as Christmas chatski makers and in the off season are shelves for other things (heck ANY horizontal surface counts as a shelf if not in use!)
  3. a neophyte to this forum and posting here

I think the "Beginners place" is appropriate to start from...

So Im looking at the 2 week Intro to Bladesmithing course from another knife-centric group (Dont know if I can name names but the course title should give it away) ... and have a question or two about it. It was a gift from my wife to "speed up" my hobby and as well provide me some serious get outta town time thanks to a job that is a bit more stressful than 9-5 work.

I cannot find a "Curriculum" for this course to pre-study and cannot find any intro exercises to try. When I asked in another forum I was told "Just practice forging..."  And to be honest am a bit leery about asking on the Courses' Main sponsoring agency's forum as if its not already up- there may be a reason why.

I am an adult learner- but I am not shy from the fact I get frustrated easily and would love to be more confident in the proper skills prior to going. I have a set of challenges I am trying to overcome before the class to maximize my take-away from the course. Not saying Woe is me at all- Im saying I want to Pre-Learn to NOT be frustrated and to comprehend more, faster, and in depth when I do get there.

I have the Mark Aspery Intro Blacksmith book w the knife-making section, ALL Mr. JPH's books as well as several from Loveless, Terozoula, McCreight and others. Im hopefully starting w Aspery this month.

Anyone care to weigh in and give direction or some insight behind the curtain? I have really enjoied the forum for reading to this point- and appreciate what every contributor has put into it. Its my fallback web-read when I'm looking to casually read/learn/dream!

Attached are the first 2 knives I made- "Camp" knives for me and the wife- no forging- just stock removal... Just so you guys know Im legit in the newbie category- HA!

As always thank you for the gathering of information and like minded souls here. I hope this note finds you all safe, well, at peace- and in good spirits!

Kerri In Norfolk where the rain has made my okra grow to bananna -size and the beans are storming the fence!

Knife1FW.gif

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If you're going to the ABS school in Arkansas, you've made a wise decision!  Feel free to name anything here, unless you're making libellous statements of course. :lol:

I hesitate to try to tell you how to forge a knife, since you've got those books which are better at explaining it than I am.  I recommend practicing forging a point on flat bar.  That is one of the harder skills to master.  Then work on forging a long even taper without widening the bar.  Play with the pein end on the hammer to see what it does.  That way you'll be a step ahead when you get to the class.  Forging anything is easy (relatively speaking) when you understand how hot steel moves.  And the only way to learn that is to do it, although you'll be shocked how much easier your instructor will make it look.

You will not regret the class.  It will put you literally years ahead on the learning curve versus teaching yourself, even with all the books and forums out there now.  Welcome to the madness!

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8 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

 Feel free to name anything here, unless you're making libellous statements of course. :lol:

I hesitate to try to tell you how to forge a knife, since you've got those books which are better at explaining it than I am.  I recommend practicing forging a point on flat bar.  That is one of the harder skills to master.  Then work on forging a long even taper without widening the bar.  Play with the pein end on the hammer to see what it does.  That way you'll be a step ahead when you get to the class.  Forging anything is easy (relatively speaking) when you understand how hot steel moves.  And the only way to learn that is to do it, although you'll be shocked how much easier your instructor will make it look.

You will not regret the class.  It will put you literally years ahead on the learning curve versus teaching yourself, even with all the books and forums out there now.  Welcome to the madness!

Thanks Alan- It is the ABS Class but in NC at Haywood- no libel or slander here- I have TONS of respect for the folks that are building the art and craft and teaching. Just when I asked ?s I feel like Im getting short answers when Im looking for the long view. Nothing against those folks- just trying to use my resources to gather info.

Understood about the book explanation vs a typed web-posting... I was looking for a bit of a skills progression or basics layout so I can go in with not having to dwadle on learning underpinning skills and focusing on the "meat" and not killing my shoulder either (being physically as well as mentally prepped).

Thanks for the skill primer as well- Im still learning the pein thing...

" Welcome to the madness!"... you say... One would say madness can be translated to inspiration that happens where its not expected- and so let the madness begin! HA! 

Thanks again- Im off to breakfast and then domestic chores!

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The ABS class at Haywood is a great one too!  I know a few of the instructors.  Should you run into Bill Wiggins, don't believe a word he says about me...;)  Not that it's not true, you understand.  We've just been giving each other a mutually respectful hard time for the last 18 years or so.  :lol:

Skills and not hurting yourself:  Look in the Shop Safety subforum pinned topics. Lots of info about how to hold a hammer, how to swing it without hurting yourself, how to use your posture to improve the ergonomics of forging, and things like that.  Stuff I could show you in person in less time than it takes me to type all this.  That's why you're getting short answers, it's simple to explain this stuff by demonstration, much more difficult in words.  

There is also the fact that you need to study this and develop good habits before the class.  It's a lot easier to learn good habits starting out than it is to break them later on.  That makes explanation over the web a tricky thing, because I can't see what you're doing and point out ways it could be better. The knive you posted look good, but I don't know how you stood or held the steel while grinding, see what I mean?

Now I'm off to the monthly blacksmith guild meeting.  Find yours and join!

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