Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-07-2019, 12:43 PM
Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: N of Denver & S of Sanity
Posts: 13,553

Blacksmiths, what's your opininion of Alec Steele


I've been watching Youtube blacksmith Alec Steele and bear in mind I have zero experience blacksmithing. At first I was entertained but there's something off. I think part of it is that he continually calls layered metals "Damascus". I know laypeople call it Damascus but I would think a professional would call it pattern welding since it is not wootz steel. Also, he says I don't know a lot which I thought was self-depricating but now think he really doesn't know. So is he a good blacksmith? Not so good but a good youtuber? Inexperienced blacksmith?
__________________
When I was a boy, a mere lad, A FAERIE APPEARED UNTO ME AND TOLD ME I WOULD BE BOTH POPE AND KING! But I am a bastard. And a pretender.

-Richard Hariss
  #2  
Old 10-07-2019, 05:36 PM
kopek is offline
born to be shunned
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southwestern PA
Posts: 15,372
I can make some basic things I need for the colonial events and I make fairly good knives and tomahawks. He isn't bad but I don't consider him one of the ones to study and mimic except for getting started. I'll forgive the terms he uses sometimes; he is doing it for a YouTube audience after all. But his basic technique is solid.
  #3  
Old 10-07-2019, 05:48 PM
Ethilrist is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Saint Paul
Posts: 26,950
I find it intriguing that he's not selling iron things on his website, but t-shirts.
  #4  
Old 10-07-2019, 09:13 PM
Isamu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Osaka
Posts: 6,549
I'm not a blacksmith. He is entertaining and charismatic and making a killing as a youtuber.
  #5  
Old 10-07-2019, 10:03 PM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 is online now
Corellian Nerfherder
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 15,757
I've done a tiny bit of blacksmithing myself, but I've hung around with several professional and semi-professional blacksmiths for many years, and I worked at a blacksmith shop at a Renaissance Faire for eight years.

I think the guy knows what he's doing, but from what I saw of his videos (I watched portions of several of them), his videos seem to be more about the cool imagery than explaining, in any real level of detail, *what* he's doing. He clearly has an awful lot of high-end equipment -- most working blacksmiths that I've known do have some of the tools that he has (like gas-fired forges and power hammers), but he seems to have a lot of expensive grinding and milling equipment, as well.

Also, FWIW, I've heard a lot of blacksmiths talk about pattern welding / Damascus steel, and I've heard many of them use the terms interchangeably (even if inaccurately).

Last edited by kenobi 65; 10-07-2019 at 10:04 PM.
  #6  
Old 10-08-2019, 01:59 AM
MrDibble's Avatar
MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 26,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
I've been watching Youtube blacksmith Alec Steele and bear in mind I have zero experience blacksmithing. At first I was entertained but there's something off. I think part of it is that he continually calls layered metals "Damascus". I know laypeople call it Damascus but I would think a professional would call it pattern welding since it is not wootz steel.
Only re-enactors and archaeologists really care about the difference.

Most blacksmiths, knifemakers and allied trades, as well as their suppliers, call it Damascus regardless or mix the terms. Just check any random Forged in Fire episode, as well, or most any site selling knifemaking blanks. That last one even sells "Nordic Damascus" blanks .

Quote:
Also, he says I don't know a lot which I thought was self-depricating but now think he really doesn't know. So is he a good blacksmith? Not so good but a good youtuber? Inexperienced blacksmith?
IMO as a non-blacksmith fan of blacksmithing - He's technically good, and creative, but inexperienced, is what I always think (the fact that he still looks 14 probably doesn't help). It's good that he also shows his failures in addition to successes. He certainly knows the basics well.

Last edited by MrDibble; 10-08-2019 at 02:01 AM.
  #7  
Old 10-08-2019, 02:22 AM
Mangetout's Avatar
Mangetout is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 57,943
IANAB, but I followed him for a while.

In the end, I found the charisma a bit overwhelming - it was like: Michael McIntyre; The Blacksmith Years
  #8  
Old 10-08-2019, 04:12 AM
MrDibble's Avatar
MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 26,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
In the end, I found the charisma a bit overwhelming - it was like: Michael McIntyre; The Blacksmith Years
That's a perfect description!
  #9  
Old 10-08-2019, 06:06 PM
gogogophers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Appalachia
Posts: 1,010
This young man has accomplished more than most in a lifetime of effort. Is he the da Vinci of smithys at this time? No, but impressive nonetheless.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:20 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017