Advice to myself

If I had a time machine and could go back to tell myself a few things years ago I'd tell me these things:
1. Buy tools.  Stop being so cheap and get the ones you really need.  A few more hammers and another good instrument will make you better at what you do, and have more fun doing it.

2. The two best tool investments I've ever made are my Beverly shears and my oxy-acetylene rig.  The first gives you the freedom to experiment with flat patterns, and the second gives you the freedom to make many tools and do hot work.  The forge has a lot of very useful applications, but the focused heat of the torch will let you sculpt things far more easily.  Whitney punches, angle grinders, and swages are great too.

3. Talk with every armourer you can.  You'll learn something from each of them.  Try out what they suggest.  Some of their ideas won't work for you, and that's OK.

4. There is truth to what they say about opinions and assholes.  If you ask for an opinion, which is something you do when you enter a competition, don't be totally bent out of shape with what you hear.  These opinions will make you better.

5. Realize your opinions can sound just as harsh or uninformed as those other people have, and do your best to soften the blow, particularly when you're talking about something another person has spent years learning about, lots of money acquiring tools and materials for, and possibly days of their life creating.  It's their baby.  Even if they see the warts too, and even if they asked you about them, it hurts to hear about them from others.

6.  Draw more.  Getting things to fit just right requires a deep understanding of how bodies are shaped.  You only really notice these things if you draw them.  If you can't draw it, you can't sculpt it in steel.

7. Put more lights in the shop.  You don't get extra credit for armouring in the dark.

8. Record more.  A recording is unforgiving of any issues with pitch or rhythm, so recording, particularly with a metronome and playing it back will show you the bumps you're too busy to hear when you're playing.


Sasha Khan said…
Number 8 was an eye-opener for me, when I implemented it as part of my daily practice.
I'll follow the 1st :)

The 3rd is very useful, there is always something to learn.

Thanks for sharing this advice, it will save some headaches over here ;)

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