A long time ago someone told me. "If you're looking for a helping hand you'll find one at the end of your arm." Certainly, self sufficiency is a trait we're all expected to develop, but when the job exceeds my ability I still have to ask for help.
As soon as I acquired a forge, anvil and a few tools I started getting requests to do old time demonstrations for various historical celebrations. A friend and organic chemistry professor, Ken, stepped up and offered to help me and ever since he has been available when needed. He's developed good blacksmithing skills and comes many days for two or three hours.
My wife, Betty, has helped in the studio from time to time, too, but mostly she takes care of correspondence, billing, packing, shipping and other management aspects of the business.
As a result of layoffs, so prevalent in the economic downturn, I acquired the help of Hector, a certified welder with many years of experience and also young and strong. For a few years he could come most week days for several hours and build equipment which allowed me to take on some larger jobs. It a big loss for me when he returned to live in California again last winter.
On some weekends and nights my friend, Scott, comes to work in the studio and has also helped with some demonstrations. He is in the young and strong category, too, and has a penchant for organizing and cleaning. His grandfather was a blacksmith and he is learning the skills to carry on the tradition.
Recently I was visiting with friends at a local engineering company and was asked about how I got a ton of coal out of my pickup and into the coal bin. I said I used the amazing Scott Miller machine, they are well acquainted with him and the comment got a good laugh.
It's true, I've benefitted a lot from good help and I hope it continues. In addition to the obvious assistance with the work the socializing and conversation is really enjoyable.