Sunday, July 31, 2011

Do your Thinking in the Fire

What doses that mean? To me it is a strategy similar to playing chess in which success depends upon thinking several moves ahead - a mental step set. The movement of the iron won’t be as tricky as a chess opponent but I need to have a contingency plan if my next move doesn’t accomplish exactly what I intended.

It means having a clear idea of what I want to achieve on this heat. Where does the heat need to be isolated? Does this require a convenience bend or selective slack tub cooling? What color heat is needed? Is the hammer and ancillary anvil tools set up properly?

It wasn’t always the case, but today when I plan a forging session for a project I usually have a written strategic plan or drawings detailing the sequence of steps I imagine. I divide each step into a one-heat-at-a-time tactical plan.

In order to learn something new, some time must be set aside for experimenting and doing test pieces so when it comes time to do the project I don’t expect to be surprised by some bummer problem. On the occasions where that happens I quit and move to another project. A fall back and regroup tactic is best done when the fire is out. And it is one reason I carefully layout somewhat more than I expect to accomplish in the allowed forging time.

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