Thursday, January 22, 2009


I am in the habit of forging a prototype for most architectural commissions that I create. Not only does the prototype help me to figure out the pricing of a project, it also allows me to learn if the ideas and drawings are to scale and the right choices. The prototype comes after the drawings and the design concepts are realized.

Here is a close-up photo of a 3 foot prototype section for a balcony that I learned a lot about the joinery, sizes and textures...

For example... if I am commissioned to forge a railing...

First is the drawings and concepts for the piece. Then once the drawings are accepted by the builder/owner, I will build a measured section(usually 3 feet long) full scale. Railings are generally priced by the linear foot, therefore, I make a measured section( 3' for this example) and the amount of time it takes to create the prototype divided by 3 for this sample multiplied by my hourly shop rate gives me the price per foot to share with the builder/owner.

I also learn if I selected the right material sizes and techniques to see the project to its completion and on schedule. If there are things that need to be changed to make the project smoother or easier, the prototype is a great way to learn the project from the inside out. It also removes any mis-guided or unrealistic design concepts. This is also the time to make adjustments and corrections to make the project as quickly, professionally and efficiently.

While I create the prototype, I also figure out ways to make jigs and other helpful tools to hopefully speed up production once the design/prototype is accepted by the client. This means that hopefully the actual project will go faster than the prototype which can equal profit or simply allow for unforeseen delays in construction that can sometimes make one loose money on a project.

Smyth Boone

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Feature on Design Style Guide Blog

Here is a nice feature on the Design Style Guide's Blog

The site is a great resource for the home decorating community and customers.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome Obama! and his Inaugural Address

Cheers for all of humanity!

Here is the coverage of the Inauguration...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Practice is the key to Excelling

In continuation with the last theme of mastering your art form(10,000 hour theory)...

According to many studies, practice is the common denominator to people that truly excel to be outstanding at their medium. It appears that all people who are truly above and beyond most participants(99%),in their medium, practice as much as or more than others in the field. This concept of practice seems to be true for concert pianists, vocalists, writers, painters, teachers, sports players, artists and crafts-people of all kinds etc...

So, if you are looking to excel at your art, craft, sport or anywhere in your life... the key is practice.

Smyth Boone

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

10,000 Hours Theory(Master Crafstman)

Are you a master of your art/craft?

According to author, musician, neuro-scientist, Daniel Levitin in his book; "This is Your Brain on Music" ( a New York Times best-seller, Plume Printing 2006) , an expert or master of any craft is measured by that person practicing their craft for 10,000 hours.

Here is how Daniel Levitin puts it...
The emerging scientific picture is that 10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again.

Now how long is ten thousand hours? It is equal to roughly 3 hours of practice a day, or twenty hours a week, of practice for ten years. Of course some people never reach mastery, which is not really explainable yet. But, no one has found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery. -Daniel Levitin

This theory totally resonates with me personally and why I feel comfortable calling myself a Master artist/craftsman. I have easily put in 10,000 hours and feel confident with my skills and knowledge to solve any problem in the field of artistic blacksmithing.

More info at

Are you a master at your craft?

Smyth Boone

Monday, January 12, 2009

Design Topic 3: Center Element Off-set (optical illusion)

When creating a stair railing that has a center element on the upright balusters, it is critical to have the center element raised slightly above the center-line of the baluster.

Here is an example... the collars in the center of each elongated 'O'(oval-the upright balusters), are the center elements off-set higher than mathematical middle of the 'O'.

When one views a stair rail, on a rise(staircase) or on the flat(balcony), the center element will look low if the element is mathematically centered exactly. The reason is due to the viewer's position regardless if it is from above or below the railing.

I believe we are dealing an optical illusion that is created due to the relationships involved. The perspective of the viewer, the top and bottom rails, and the element in the center create specific relationships with each other.

My general rule of thumb is to raise the center element 1" above the center of the baluster. So... if my bottom horizontal rail and my upper horizontal rail are 30" apart, then I would put the center of the center element at 16" high from the bottom bar.

I hope this design tip helps. I believe that optical illusions are very powerful in art and I think that we need to accommodate and work with them them in our designs. More on optical illusions in the future.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Blog Tunes!

Well a cool gadget just came my way that allows me to share music on my blog!

If you are like me, you know how important music is for your life and well being. Music is not only a cure for what ails a person, but also great for transformation, exploration, spiritual growth and good vibes.

I hope you enjoy the tracks that I have added to the blog. I just added a few tunes to begin with, but I am sure I will be expanding the collection for you to check out.

I am an avid listener and collector of music, a radio dj, a radio program producer and night club/party dj. One of my favorite things to do as dj is to introduce people to new music that they might not be familiar with, but totally enjoy!

I have been a radio dj on KVNF community radio, broadcasting in Paonia, Colorado, for 9 plus years. My show is called Room to Groove on Thursday afternoons(every other week) from 12-3pm MST. I also host a show on Saturday nights called Saturday Night Soundtrack, which I share with other dj's, and my show is the third Saturday of each month. Please feel free to check it out at

The beat goes on...


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Removing Candlewax from candlesticks

Here is a helpful hint on removing candle wax from your metal candle cups.

Just freeze the leftover wax and it will "pop" off!

If you can fit the candlestick into the freezer, just freeze it and the wax will come out easily all in one piece. You can also clean off the drips that have landed on the candlestick also. They just "pop" right off after being frozen.

If the candlestick is too large for a freezer, just set it outside in the winter (if you live in a place that gets below freezing at night) for an overnight and in the morning just "pop" off the wax.

I use a metal "screwdriver" shaped tool to remove the unwanted melted wax.

Naturally, drip-less candles do not require this at all. I happen to prefer natural beeswax candles personally.

I hope this is helpful.

Smyth Boone

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sierra magazine features Boone's Hooks!

Hello and welcome to the new year! I hope yours is wonderful and you manifest what you want. I am looking forward to a brilliant, prosperous, abundant, successful 2009.

Here is a great start...
Boone's Hooks is featured in the current January/February issue of Sierra magazine of the Sierra Club!
Sierra magazine is the award-winning magazine filled with spectacular nature photography and in-depth reporting on the hottest environmental issues from the largest non-profit lobbying organization dedicated to preserving the Earth's natural beauty.

The article, "Building Better: Cool Products for an Eco-Home", featuring Boone's Hooks is about building green and using green products in your current home/office situation. It is very insightful on how to retro-fit your current home to save energy and be more friendly to your family and to the Earth.

Here is the article from the Sierra Club website...

Hooked on Recycling
M. Smyth Boone calls himself an 18th-generation blacksmith and a descendant of Daniel Boone. But it's the fact that his designs are crafted from 100 percent recycled steel that is truly pioneering. Boone's signature piece is a leaf-shaped hook that can be used to hang towels, hats, or anything with a strap. He's also a sculptor and has crafted stair railings and a series of forged-steel sculptures of surfers. $34,

I am honored to be recognized as a contributing part of such a great movement. Go Green, Support Local Business!!

Please visit the Sierra Club website at