(Prepare yourselves for a bit of a ramble..)
Well, transitioning into--crafting full-time has made for an interesting month. One of my first commissioned projects involved designing & fabricating wall sconces for a local brewery. We settled on a medieval'ish theme which will also incorporate cues from the old steel banded wooden kegs.
I would be hesitant to call myself anything more than an amateur blacksmith, but it's definitely a craft I plan on delving into further.
Anyway, part of my vision(this word makes me feel snooty) relied upon blacksmith nails, the creation of which require a few specialized tools--namely a cutting hardy & a nail header. Many if not most blacksmiths may find it curious that I would order these tools as opposed to forging them myself. which led me down an interesting train of thought.
I used to teach guitar & sell instruments, and many times I would encounter enthusiastic people trying to learn on the cheapest instrument money could buy. The problem is many of these cheap instruments or hand-me-downs were simply unplayable--the strings were so high off the fingerboard they(or I) couldn't depress them adequately to make a note, they wouldn't stay in tune, etc. The point is this: I found that despite their enthusiasm, and good intentions, often times people set themselves up for failure before they even get started. I'm not saying they should have gone out and purchased a custom shop Les Paul(a top tier guitar), but rather something that offers value, and rewards their effort.
Yes, I could have made these tools myself, but I also understand my limitations, and I know the results & positive reinforcement I would get from using proper tools would help kindle my blacksmithing experience. Were I to have made the tools myself (with my current blacksmithing skillset) the process of forging nails would certainly have been more frustrating, and less encouraging.
I remember when I bought my first hand plane, I decided to purchase a new plane which was in guaranteed working order, as opposed to buying and restoring an old plane(which is arguably a much better deal). The reason being, without the firsthand experience of using a properly set-up plane, how was I to know how to restore one to proper working order. I have since acquired & restored a hand full of vintage planes.
This blog is more of a ramble than a coherent presentation. I suppose if there is a point I'm trying to make it's this: Don't sell yourself short. Whatever it is you do; building, painting, singing, cooking, etc. Conventions aside, it is in your best interest to do whatever you feel is necessary to create the positive reinforcement that will encourage your progress.