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strike while the iron is hot

Posted by Lewis on November 21, 2005

In Reply to: strike while the iron is hot posted by ESC on November 14, 2005

: : I would like to ask what is the meaning of "to strike while the iron is hot"?

: It has to do with performing a task or taking an action at the right moment. It means timing is everything. The origin is the blacksmithing process. Here is a WikiHow article about making a knife:

: Heat the metal in a blacksmith or your own personal metal working furnace.

: When hot, pound on an anvil to shape the metal, folding of the metal is a good way to get it to layer properly.

: Put it in water and then reheat it slightly to temper it

: Make sure you leave room for the tang, (the part which goes inside the handle) so you actually have a knife and not just a blade.
: Sharpen it.

: If you want to go it the easy way, just use some thin metal and sharpen it on a whetstone or any grinding surface

to be clear - for a blacksmith (or farrier) to work metal it needs to be soft, which is only for a short time after it has come out of the furnace. there is thus a physical limit on time to act.