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Sledgehammer and anvil are one.

Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012, at 5:46 PM

Starting at age 11 in my dad's blacksmith shop at Amherst, Texas, my chief responsibilities over the years became painting farm implements and trailers, grinding plowpoints and mouldboards on emery rocks driven by a big electric motor and using eight- and ten-pound sledgehammers to bend thick steel heated by torches or the forge. The drill press helped to develop an understanding of machines, but the hammers were most gratifying, requiring practice for the requisite precision.

Swinging a sledge while avoiding breaking the handle or injuring others necessitates setting and keeping your feet in the right spots, holding the end of the handle with your left hand and sliding your right hand down to your left as the hammer falls, increasing force with the call of "hard" and lightening at "light" or "medium."

Sledgehammer and anvil are thereby one: on the one hand the redoubtable instrument with which anything can be bent or broken with enough well-guided blows and on the other its ringing antiphon -- the only thing in the world a sledgehammer cannot bust.

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That is interesting. I remember the days when I was growing up on the farm. We did alot of fencing, either repairing or creating new fence. We had to learn to use the sledgehammer to drive the posts in. I must say, we broke alot of handles. Dad was not pleased but he didn't offer any advice. Aw well, we can learn alot by watching others or asking.

-- Posted by Chris Jones, Production Manager on Wed, Jan 4, 2012, at 8:27 PM

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James R. Campbell
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