Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Taking Small Bites


When working new projects that involve multiple steps or processes I like to spread the work out over several forging sessions.  I set up work so that one or two steps are done each day.  That gives me time to study the progress and make any needed plan changes.

When a project has been well worked out and the routine established it’s a different story and I work start to finish at one session.

I organize a queue of work so that if I run into a problem with one job I can lay it aside an move up another and keep up a steady pace of work.  I don’t have to stop and solve the problem until later.

Lately this strategy has been particularly noticeable as I have been doing a lot of die making.  Forging the positive form in one session.  Sinking the positive into negative blanks in the next session.  Cleaning up and relieving edges in the negatives and refining details.  Then working back to forging a more refined and detailed positive.

That back and forth work can run over several days but only take a few minutes of each day.  The small bites eventually produce the desired result - incremental progress through patient and persistent fiddling.

There are a number of other examples in blacksmith work where it is important to proceed slowly and carefully so as to not stray too far in one direction and find it difficult or impossible to recover control.  I can faintly hear the teacher saying, “Haste makes waste.”

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