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I Forge Iron


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About Kette

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    Lawrence KS
  • Interests
    Budding professional. Swords, sculpture, armor, decorative and practical blacksmithing.

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  1. Your website is spot on! I always like seeing your stuff on instagram. I'm dealing with all the same things but am a couple years behind you, so I sympathize. It's tricky finding what pays the bills consistently. I think Latticino hit the nail on the head, and that advice rings loud in my ears. Casting a wide net seems like a good option since the craft is so versatile, yet as a business you HAVE to specialize it seems. At least that's what people tend to tell me. Then the long arduous task of finding out "What is my specialty?". If you have any new insight into that feel free to share! I hope your year has been productive.
  2. Yeah it seems to be edging into the pricing of a lower tier belt grinder, so I might as well get something new. I couldn't even find replacement wheels with a quick google search, though if a new set costs as much as the machine I wouldn't be surprised. Thanks for your input Kozzy. Maybe I just have a thing for old shop tools!
  3. So i've found a nice old grinder in my area, and I can't decide if it's worth it for me. It's an Oliver 585 combo tool grinder. It has 3 stones ranging from regular grinding to a fine honing wheel. These were used mostly for woodworking shops to rehone hand tools. I was wondering if I could repurpose it for knife making or even swords? It would also serve general use as it's got a wire whe as well. He's asking $350 and it runs well. Any opinions would be appreciated.
  4. I came for the anvil pics, and left with life advice from Kozzy. lol
  5. The viking smiths of old would be proud of your work. Thank you for sharing.
  6. Don't forget that you do still have the back end of that anvil to work on, it might prove to be more stable than a RR anvil and you even have a hardie hole! You could smooth out the remaining face plate and make items to afford the rods, besides the cost of the rods the welding is relatively straightforward.
  7. That is some catastrophic damage. That's not so much repairing an anvil as furnishing a new face. Yet it can be done, if you use the right rods. I just bought some stoody rods like is suggested here to repair mine: http://www.anvilmag.com/smith/anvilres.htm These rods can be expensive in large amounts, and you'd pay an arm and a leg to build up that entire surface. There may be a way to furnish a brand new face that is cheaper since you've got the raw body to work with, maybe someone else has experimented with this?
  8. I'd buy this in a heartbeat for a good low price. Old European anvils didn't have horns or heels and looked surprisingly like this one you've found, and they were used to make everything you can think of! As a CHEAP starter anvil, you couldn't do better.
  9. Sounds rather bleak when you put it that way, but hey, paying the bills while doing something awesome is better than being rich and doing something boring (right?).
  10. "it was good for making my bones, but $3.70 an hour is not exactly a way to support a family, but for the first few years as you’re establishing yourself and your skills, it’s fair." "I make tools, I want them to be used as much as they're admired. When I retire I'll drop down to making a few dozen knives a year at much higher prices that collectors can swap and trade, but until then I want to make a great blade at an honest price and let that be the foundation for my reputation." Thank you for sharing. Being a young guy that needs to build a reputation I agree with your pricing, but the trick is knowing WHEN to start charging more. I'm not very far into the business end but a teacher gave me some good advice on pricing that was something like "if you're selling everything, your prices aren't high enough", the goal here being to sell MOST of what you're offering, but not all, netting you a price that agrees with demand. (Mostly applies to trade shows and booths really) For 20 years of experience you should be charging WAY MORE. I sell rough prototype pieces for $10 an hour to my friends and they think i'm giving stuff away! People who know a thing or two will understand what they're paying for, and those who don't won't appreciate the work you've put into the things anyways. It seems easy to forget just how rare of a skill set any kind of smithing is when you do it so often and for so long. $60-70 an hour for (efficient) work seems like an excessive amount of money to me, but in the real world seems to be pretty normal.
  11. Exactly Quarry! It was limiting since you have to constantly worry about the safety of the crowd. Even wearing hearing protection was annoying because of answering questions, but the anvil I was working on sure did ring (even quieted down). The crowd loves it, but they aren't listening to it all day long! I have tons of respect for good demonstrators, explaining what you're doing in a way that is understood is harder than it seems. We had a guest demonstrator that was from a certain corporations heritage site. Perfect parallel to your "pompous oaf" partner. Spent 20 minutes cold hammering stock to give a 'hammered' texture on a trivet, and made a WAY overdone leaf. He was great with the crowd though. I worked in Kansas City, so almost every parent who walked up with their kids said "oh look, this is where they make horse shoes!".... Got tired of that REAL fast. In their defense, it was a fake farmstead, but I got to explain to them how much more important the blacksmith was and they always left in awe. The fake fire conspiracies were the best though, so many elaborate idea's of how to fake it, when the real deal is WAY easier. J.W.S. - I can't believe how small your area is... do you have any apprentices? how do you all fit?!
  12. I've done a summer at a small brand new demonstration shop a year ago. MAN that stuff is hard, like you said Frosty : I wasn't prepared for the theater and the talking, so I ended up spewing the same information and cranking out the same 6 projects (snakes, snails, lucky horseshoes, etc.) that got super boring. The random requests were the funnest and most challenging part, it was great practice. Man those little kids LOVE this stuff and soak it all up. Most had never seen or heard anything about smithing so the history really fascinated them. I'll have to try and make it to PA, that ren Faire sounds HUGE, and they have some great smiths to boot!
  13. ​Thanks! I had a bar that was maybe 3/4" wide and 1/4" thick, with a hole at one end to start with. I figured I'd forge it out or cut that end off but the way i forged it made a perfect teardrop shaped hole. It was just a happy accident! Good points all around Charles, I'll definitely give those methods a shot. A stop on the fullering tool would help immensely, that's been the problem is keeping the fuller centered. I always seem to underestimate how much a block of wood and some sandpaper can do. Thank you.
  14. Update: I decided to not repair this anvil and work with it as is. I've recently mounted it and it works like a dream! Figured I'd share. The missing heel is actually perfect for holding hammers.
  15. Amazing work! Figured I'd throw my first few swords into the mix and see if anyone has any pointers. I've got a long ways to go. I've only made these 3 in total and I need to make about 50 more before I can hold my own against you folks. The solid iron sword was my first, the longsword second, and the gladius the third I made. These are just iron wall hangers, but i learned so much making these, like how hard it is gonna be to harden and temper a longsword! Does anyone have a good set up for forging the blades and fullers efficiently? Maybe a custom fuller design or an angled block to forge the edges? I don't have a belt grinder so I like to forge as close to finished as possible.
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