Friday, October 27, 2006

Sluggish Freelance

Well, I'm finally a official freelancer.

I picked up a job this past Sunday, I've been working on it all week, and wow, I had forgotten how much fun coding can be. I also learned how exhausting coding can be. This is the first time I've ever had a coding deadline that I really had to put in effort to meet. I was actually kind of surprised of how long it took me to complete the job.

Well... complete the job as much as I could. I'm having to work through another guy who actually has access to the server. Unfortunately, he is often busy and so I can not always get what I need right away. In fact, a whole section of this phase of the project is on hold until some updates can be made to the server. Such is Life, I suppose.

Even with all the stress, I'm having fun and it pays well. I love the fact that with this job, I get to exercise some of my creativity in my coding.

As a side note, I've also added in a chatterbox to this blog. Have fun.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Soot Happens, Cleaning Must Follow

It has been a while since my last update. Mostly because I haven't been getting any hours at the forge. Though it is time to pack up and move on, that's no reason to stop this blog. In fact, I find it a wonderful oppurtunity to transform it into something else. Rather than letting Soot Happens be a blog of my life as a blacksmith, I will use it as a window to show you how I am doing in life in general.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Life Happens

Sorry about the long time since my previous post, but life happens.

I have now made my first real knife. It started out as a piece of a spring. I flattened it out, formed a full spring-hilt from the remainder, after grinding, I hardened the blade, tempered it, then, after sharpening, I have a finished knife. (Pictures to come soon)

I've also made my first blacksmith puzzle. It's one of the standard two horseshoes connected by two small chains with a large ring in the middle that at first does not appear to come off.

I plan making more puzzles, and I'm currently on the lookout for for a book on making this kind of puzzle (known as "Blacksmith Puzzles", "Tavern Puzzles", and "Pub Puzzles").

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Soot Happens, and so do Injuries

Ok, since my last post, I have aquired a number of injuries, as is bound to happen in this line of work.

First, a burn on my thumb, from a piece of steel I had removed from the fire and set on the anvil while I stoked my forge. The steel was probabbly around 700°F at the time I leaned against the anvil and my thumb came down to rest on the hot metal.

About a week later, I was doing a forge weld, and the 2000°F piece I was hammering jumped out of my tongs and landed on my bare arm on the way down (I could smell the singed arm hair).

Two or three days after that, I was using the belt grinder, my hand slipped and I got a nasty papercut from 80 grit sandpaper being rotatated by a machine pretty quickly.

Injuries happen in this line of work, but I hope that I don't ever get quite so many, or so harsh, in such a small amount of time ever again.

But as we all know, Soot Happens.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Holidays and Photos

Today started the mountain's 4th of July Celebrations. This means that things were extreamly busy. I had several folks take pictures and it reminded me to post a link to my pictures.

So, to get to the pictures of me smithing, just click here:
Smithing Photos

Also, if you have any pictures of me smithing, please send them to

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Smithing with the Elements

Just a quick post before bed.

The more I smith, the more I realize how this art encompasses all five elements.

Many would say that to work with metal, you must use the four classic elements. Metal of the Earth, heated in the Fire of the forge, which is brought to greater heat by Air, then finally, the metal is quenched in Water. While all this is true, none of it can take place without the smith, who shapes the metal to his Will, who imprents each piece with his Soul, reguardless of conscious effort of doing so.

While the four classic elements can all be found in the forge, it takes the fifth to actuall accomplish anything.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Why are Blacksmiths called "Black"smiths?

Durring my demonstrations, I answer a lot of questions about blacksmithing and what I do in the shop. Often, if no one has any questions for me, I will ask questions of them. One of my more common questions is "Why are Blacksmiths called 'black'smiths?"

The other morning a young girl (maybe 12 years olld) raised her hadn to answer the question. Her answer: "Because they are black?" I didn't really know what to say, so I asked her what she meant, and she said "Because they are black." and pointed to her skin (she was a light skinned black girl, btw, "black" is the most PC term I will use, but I won't go into that here). Myself, knowing my own past did not include any African any time in the past 2000 years, looked down at my skin, then back up at her, and said "Well, why I do get pretty dirty in this job, that's not it."

I went on from there to talk about how iron is considered a black metal, and so forth.

All in all, it was a pretty interesting day.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Soot Happened

Greetings, and welcome to my blacksmithing blog: Soot Happens.

I have reciently become one of the blacksmiths out at Stone Mountain Park. Soot Happens is to serve as a way to blog my progress on the path of blacksmithing.

The title comes from something I said on my second day at work. One of the area supervisors came over and commented on the fact that while I had been there less than half an hour, my hands were filthy and I already had black streaks across my face. I couldn't help myself, the words just popped out of my mouth, I told her: "Well, Soot Happens."

As things stand now, I have just completed my first full week at the Mountain. Durring this time I have been getting my skills back up to scratch. I have made many tent stakes, botched a couple of hooks, and burned quite a bit of stock.

Wednesday, a young couple came up to me requesting a horseshoe nail ring for use as an engagement ring. I informed them that I had never done a ring before, was severly out of practice, and didn't have any horseshoe nails (the SMP smithy is not set up for farrier work). The young man asked if there was anything I could do. I advised him to go into the shop and pick out a nail (we had several simple nails of various sizes) and I would see what I could do.

I did manage to fashion it into a ring for the young couple, leaving the head turned on the ring to look kind of like a gem (I know nothing of jewelry terms).

Anywho, I believe I am going to enjoy this gig, and getting to hone my smithing skills.