These first couple days working with the new forge has taught me quite a few things and I have a feeling the lessons will continue if I keep working. I didn’t just jump right into trying to make something the way I usually do when I get excited about a new craft. I didn’t set up the forge the first day it came. Shannon and I were busy getting the website and our Patreon ready for launch. There wasn’t time to get lost in a new craft so I took the forge down to my workroom and threw myself into the work of the launch. The sooner we launched, the sooner I could get to hammering!I started watching Youtube videos when my brain needed a break or if I was having a smoke I’d pull up a video on my phone. I sure am glad that there are some real helpful folks out there making good information available for free because I would not have been able to do this without them. I was able to get good information about making a pair of tongs before firing up the forge but I should have spent more time on videos that talked about good technique. But I am getting great practical experience finding out what works and what doesn’t, which is my way of putting a positive spin on lots of things not working out how I thought.It was clear right from the first few strikes that I was going to have to do something more about securing the steel block and the anvil on top of the stool that is my makeshift workbench for the time being. Thankfully the steel block came with a rubber encasement and that helps with some shock absorption but I am spending a lot of physical energy and losing time to work by having to readjust after almost every hammer strike. Now I have the steel block tied to the anvil in a way that keeps both of them from jumping with every strike and Shannon bought me a no-slip rubber pad to put under the leather I have the anvil and block sitting on top of. So hopefully that will take care of any sliding or slipping.I am also really glad that I am working on this set of tongs because the work will be just a little bit easier to maneuver with them but part of me is kicking myself for not giving myself a simpler first project. My muscles feel the strain of forge work three days in a row. I can easily sense which muscles in my forearm are working to lift and strike the hammer. My thighs are sore from extra time crouching because I set up the forge on the ground in our backyard and crouching is just how it will go for the time being because the concrete back there is the safest place for the forge right now.
Doing more research I’m thinking that the issues I ran across in these first few attempts are not letting the metal get hot enough, not having the anvil secure enough, and not using proper hammering technique. Being patient and letting the metal get to the right temperature will save me a lot of physical energy in the long run but I also have to be forgiving with myself and work on building technique and stamina rather than brute force. I found an excellent video on hammering techniques and that is information that I found extremely useful and wish I had watched it before my first go at it. Live and learn though and I have a feeling I am going to be learning lots more at the forge.