Friday, October 14, 2011

Blacksmith Dirt

On Saturday a crew is coming for an interview and some filming in the studio and I have been trying to do a little cleanup and picking up to make it look less scary.

My wife says the studio produces a special kind of dirt. The most stubborn variety. It's true. My hands only look respectable after several days of vacation.

I suspect most of it is coal dust, soot, ash and the various iron oxides of fire scale. The tumbler is responsible for processing the most tenacious black stuff as it removes all manner of surface coatings such as paint, lacquer, oil, fire scale, rust, and more. I especially dislike having to deal with pickled and oiled stock.

The sticky products I handle such as silicone caulk, glue, Permalac, Polyurethane, paint, sanding sealer, oil, Goop, etc. serve to attach the blackness nearly permanently to skin cells.

Even after I empty 20 pounds of black powder the place isn’t going to look clean to a new visitor and even I won’t be able to tell much difference but it will be 20 pounds cleaner.

The dirt is generated in the forge room and tumbler room but travels everywhere throughout the shop. Putting the tarp and drum shell around the tumbler helped some. Probably I need to get a vacuum attached to the tumbler. That would be a good project for the winter.

In reality I know I’m never going to get a clean workspace - it’s a blacksmith shop. Francis Whitaker was shown a piece of work and asked, “Is this straight enough?” He responded, “There is no such thing as straight enough. It is either straight or not.” The same goes here. Clean enough is never clean.

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