Closing Time

High school blacksmith class, Salt Lake City, ...
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Yesterday was my last blacksmithing class for the semester.

We were fortunate in that the professor let us use the first few hours to do some last minute forging, so I got a few more projects done – two small knives and a different design for a large serving fork than I was able to complete earlier. It was nice to get that last bit of time with the hammers and anvil before the class was officially over.

Then we completed some paperwork – class evaluations, final projects – and we were treated to pizza before we got down to the real work. You see, it’s a tradition at my school that you spend the last day of the class cleaning so that everything’s spic and span for next semester.

First I cleaned and oiled the hammers, hardies and anvils so nothing would rust or deteriorate over the summer. There won’t be another class in the blacksmithing lab for several months so it was important that the tools are safely stowed. I’ve picked up a hammer or two for myself but I’d spent “quality time” with quite a few of the school’s pieces, enough that I had definite favorites among them.

While I was doing that, the floors were swept, the propane lines were bled and the quench tubs were emptied. Once everything was cleared out, another classmate brought in the hose and we washed the floors and cleaned them with what were essentially giant squeegees.

Finally, we lowered the doors, an unexpectedly solemn moment for me. While there is some overhead lighting, most of the light in the lab came from the sun. With the doors closed, it was darker than I’d ever seen it in there. We waited for a few minutes more while the professor talked about final grades and thanked us, and then we filed out of the darkness and into the bright sun.

And then I left class and met up with my girlfriend, who surprised me with a fancy rotary tool kit she got a deal on during her Saturday thrift shopping rounds. It was a good reminder that the end of the class doesn’t have to mean the end of my work.

I still have some things we did in class that I want to talk about, so don’t worry, there will be plenty more to read in the next couple of weeks.

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