A thought to add to the mix though: I sometimes joke with students
that metalsmithing is the ultimate craft, because unlike all the
others, we can make our own tools. Tools are (generally) made of
metal. We work metal. What is there to stop us from making tools
out of anything we please? In any way we please? I phrase it like
that to get them thinking, and to get them over the mental barrier
of regarding tools as inviolate and unchangeable. It's made of
metal. Therefore, there's no reason that you, as a metalsmith,
can't mess with it if you need to. Of course, the next hurdle is
figuring out (A) *when* you genuinely need to modify the tool, and
(B) exactly how to modify it, to perform what function? That's the
one that'll keep you guessing for a lifetime.
Just loved what you said!
Its not guessing its DOING!!.
If your like me, always wanting to make something that others dont,
then you do need to think and deliver outside the normal envelope.
Been at it since 1968. and still doing it.
Only yesterday had a call to look at a stuck Bridgport mill.
Got it sorted by thinking sideways.
A Good feeling. Customer v happy.
The key is the ist problem solving youve done, then keep doing it,
you will get better with regular practice.
Till it becomes second nature.