Question for Smiths

I have a demonstration on October 7th for my local ABANA chapter. It will
be held at my shop in Stroudsburg PA. As of yet I have not decided on a
demonstration. I would like some help from you all as to what sort of
things you have found to be good demo in the past or you would like to see
in the future. I know many of you are not near me and won't benefit at all
(chilla in freakin' OZ) but you may help out some folks around PA in the US.
You will especially help me out because I don't know what to do.
Please give me any feedback you think will be helpful (or amusing). I
have a full shop with coal and gas forges as well as most tooling and power
hammers. American smiths are really into the big hammers so any ideas there
are helpfull as well. I personally like hand work with chasing tools.
Thanks in advance,
Andrew Molinaro
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Andrew Molinaro
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Hi Andrew,
Well Oz is Oz... freakin' or otherwise :-) And if I could attend I definitely would ;-)
Your audience are blacksmiths, so show them something peculiar to you, a signature piece. As an example I got a book the other day called Practical Blacksmithing & Metalwork (not to be confused with Practical Blacksmithing), so now I know another way to make a set of tongs, so this makes three ways for me (I'm sure there's more).
I was talking to my teacher the other day, and after I made a huge meat hook for God-knows-what reason. He came out with this statement and simple, yet impressive demonstration.
"Now I don't do fancy, but here's a demo". He proceeded to heat the tip of a mild steel rod. "When ya' do this make a square point... nothing fancy". So he made a rough square tapered point. Then behind the point, about an inch, he reduced and rounded the rod. He heated up the the tapered point to a nice cherry red. "What's this? No Charles it's not a bodkin arrow head. It's a hot chilli." He then proceeded to fashion a leaf on the anvil, using the hardie hole, and pretty good it was too. Took about 3 minute including chin-wagging time.
For me I learnt that there's a lot you can do with an anvil, for the other students they were very impressed.
Having a look at your site, I would suggest that you make a candle holder, something that is simple for you to demonstrate, but with scope to add vines, leaves or other embellishments.
Regards Charles
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Ask yourself, 'what's the skill level of my audience'? You don't want to waste demo time teaching Gramma to suck eggs, and you don't want to lose the audience by trying to build a Moon rocket. Fabrication of specialty tooling is always good, because Bhob knows we need lots of tooling that just isn't available anywhere anymore, and it's sure to give everyone ideas for their own operations. Since you have both coal and gas, you might want to spend a few minutes on the pluses and minuses of both systems. I'm stuck with gas, EPA, so I've had to adapt a lot of processes that would be a whole lot easier with the stinky black rock.
Hope this helps...
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Charly the Bastard
Most of the guys that come to a demo want to see how you do what you are best at.
I have learned new things from every demo I have ever seen, ranging from pattern welding steel, through to making realistic metal flowers and heavy architectural elements.
What are you best at?
Do you want to demo design and layout? Detail techniques?
If you like chasing tool work, demo how you make your tools and how you lay out your designs. Explain your process, both the physical side (what you do, and how) and the design philosophy (why you do it, and where the inspiration comes from). That could fill a few days. :-)
At one demo I attended, the smiths made some very nice furniture(a table). Once they had done the demo, they took questions, and demonstrated their answers. Particularly, I had asked how they made such clean square corners on the stock they were using (one inch square soild, 90 degree bends, maintaining same cross section). I felt kind of silly asking, too, but the rest of the guys there were just as interested as I was, so they gave an excellent demo that ran about an hour. Very informative.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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Trevor Jones
The suggestions you already have are good ones. That is: do what you do best. Whatever you do, practice your demo ahead of time. 1. So it will work smoothly in front of the audience 2. To check your time
You probably know how much time you will have available. Plan your demo to take half of that time, because you get questions, have little goof ups (can't find the dang %^&(&), etc. Make sample pieces or a sample board so you only have to actually demo the unique parts of the process. Consider handouts, if appropriate. They can answer a lot of questions that the audience may have. Think about where YOU will be and where the audience will be when you are doing your thing. It does no good to be making your best teaching moves when the audience can only see your behind. If your group video's demos, consider, during your practice time, holding the work up for the camera as important steps are completed. If some members of the audience are hard of hearing, don't say important things while cranking on a noisy blower or while your back is turned to the audience. It never hurts to repeat important points.
It probably goes without saying that this is the time to clean up the shop, pushing things into corners, etc. to make room for the audience, etc.. There is probably more stress in this area than in the demo itself.
Pete Stanaitis -------------------------------
Andrew Mol> I have a demonstration on October 7th for my local ABANA chapter. It will
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Gday Andrew, I've just attended a workshop with Brent Bailey - yes he was here in Oz -, he's a well known maker of tools and damascus, from northern California. To start the whole show there was a demo day. He chose to show what he is good at (seems like everything ....), so he made various speciallty tools, like a rope swage and adze, demoed their use. He also made some pretty stuff, a square sprial damascus pattern and folded leaf. He did what he is good at, stuff he does every day, but many people would not have seen before. As part of it he told of his unique blacksmithing experiences, his teaching in other countries, how they built tools and solved problems.
I had a look at your site, why not show some of your chasing work, how you make the flowers and animals on your furniture and screens. Tell people how you build those great gates, how you set them up and keep them true - there are lots of amateur's out there like me that don't come from a trade background. Show your special tools, perhaps make one on the spot, show how its used then raffle it off, or do an Iron in the hat. I'd love to see this stuff. By the way, Brent made one of his special pattern hammers and then it was auctioned at the end of the day, fetched $150.
If you have any notes or pics from your demo, could you put them up on the web, we would like to learn too. Thanks.
Kind regards Rusty_iron
Andrew Mol> I have a demonstration on October 7th for my local ABANA chapter. It will
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Hey where in Oz are you and why didn't you drop me a note :-( Regards Charles
Rusty_ir> Gday Andrew,
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Gday Charles, Brisbane. And I told everyone that the Hot Iron Muster was on in a previous post, don't remember which one. Sorry I didn't remind you. It was $800, roughly, and filled very fast, lots of people didn't get in. Check out
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go to the events page, and look at the pics of previous Hot Iron Musters
I was speaking to some blokes from NSW, Graham Askew, etc from the NSW Artist Blacksmiths Association (of which I'm a member, as we don't have an association here), one of which was doing the same course as you, only the block release, day version, about 4 times a year. Thinking I might do it one day when I have the money and time.
Regards Troy
Chilla wrote:
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I remember now... geez I've had my head screwed on backwards for months, should be fine now I had an operation that removed the cause of the problem.
I was hoping enough people up in Queensland would band together and get the course running up there :-)
I know two other people that would be interested in it, the course down here only takes 8-10 students.
Regards Charles
Rusty_ir> Gday Charles,
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Brent Baily is really good... He was one of the demonstrators at the CBA Spring conference a little while ago. Watch his Demos, if you get a chance. He has a photo book that shows his trips abroad -- take a look at that, too. His trip to Africa was fascinating.
Well, back to the topic, if your audience is small, you might want to give more of a hands-on demo. Start walking people through something, and see where it takes you... Again, back at the CBA Spring Fling a year ago, one of the demonstrators made steel from charcoal and wrought iron. He ground up the charcoal and packed it around a little coil of wrought iron, and made a little "earth forge" kind of thing. Most of the time we were just working a bellows to keep the iron/steel hot enough to absorb the carbon from the charcoal. The demo itself wasn't a big production, but it was sure interesting!
Good luck. I'd like to hear how your demo goes!
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When Andrew Molinaro put fingers to keys it was 9/26/06 9:24 PM...
OK, It's over now. What did you end up doing?
- CW
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