Red-hot Fun in the Shop

The blade I’m making in my dad’s shop.

For decades, I’ve wanted to learn how to forge steel. I’ve been watching blacksmiths in person and on YouTube since I was a teenager. And then, while discussing it with my dad, he told me what I tell my students: Try it! See what happens. It’s obvious when I say it to someone else. It’s mindblowing when someone says it back to me.

I started with something small, and I’ve already learned a ton about what to do next time. I’m pleased with how this is coming out, but the real product here is experience.

To finish, I’ll be making a handle out of a couple of piece of wood. A storm brought down some beautiful trees a couple weeks ago and I collected a ton of wood from oaks, maples, and magnolias. I don’t think I’ll truly be able to make this a practical knife, like I’d wanted. This one seems like it would be better paired with a shield belt, but I’ll still give it a shot to see if I can finish it into something I have a use for.

Naturally, my hands are now covered in tiny cuts. Thanks to the diamond hones, most of the edge is quite sharp. The section near the heel remains a problem and I wish I’d realized it earlier in the process! Nonetheless, it cuts well enough near the heel and is razor sharp on the rest of the blade.

This type of learning is deeply, deeply satisfying. I’m hoping to set up a summer activity for my students with a local blacksmith of astonishing skill so they can experience this kind of learning with their hands.

There's not much metal in The Fifth World, though aluminum is abundant and stable. I wonder what stories they tell about it!
The level of handcraft of the Fifth Worlders, from glass knapping to aluminumsmithing to bamboo forming must be astronomical.

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