Metal Working and Need for Knowledge in The Great Outdoors


“Well, that doesn’t look too difficult, does it?”

I’m sure most of us have been in a situation where we’re attempting to do something new and find that the process for pulling it off is much harder than we had anticipated. Perhaps whatever we happened to see beforehand was done by a master or teacher who has years of experience on something you are just starting. This happens often in my life where the intricacies of doing something are actually much more detailed then I had thought.

I think it probably has to do with the fact that a lot of my hobbies are skill or technique oriented so when I try to attempt something for the first time, my own lack of skill is apparent.

Oftentimes, the reason for why people don’t make it outside for fishing, camping, hunting, or hiking is based around the fact that they don’t know what to do or how to do it right and to a certain extent that makes sense. I wouldn’t want to do something if I had no idea what to do which is why I always turn to the internet for help. However, the internet is so full of information that it all seems like all things are based on personal opinion.

How to compost, how to save energy, how to fish, all these things end up having a trillion methods.

The blacksmith in Japan I was taught by recently showed me an extremely eye-opening example of the difference between a master and a beginner which is shown in the above picture. He demonstrated that his hammering technique with proper heat maintenance resulted in a much smoother and refined metal grain then that of what he interpreted as a beginner hammering technique. To me, the way the blacksmith hit the metal piece was the same, to my untrained eye it appeared that nothing in his actions had changed.

The outdoors is a scary place. To some people especially who have never pursued certain outdoor activities, it’s extremely daunting to have them do something for the first time that they had no previous knowledge of.

Therefore, it is imperative that we who know photography, writing, fishing, conservation, and cooking share what we know with as many people as possible because something that may come as instinct to us may be alien to another person. In this age of knowledge at our fingertips, real people doing real things is still the best teacher than any YouTube video or online article is ever going to be.

The refinement of metal grain would have been lost to me had someone not shown me the difference in small strikes of a hammer. Then, my new knowledge has lead me into an appreciation for handmade metal goods made with the utmost craftsmanship.

The outdoors is like that. Much of what is touted about getting out and about or changing our lifestyles falls on the ears of people who need help finding the first step and the following steps down a certain path. If we’ve been down it, then it should become our responsibility to lead others.

The question now becomes; what is your metal, and how do you refine it?



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