jake pogrebinsky

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About jake pogrebinsky

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  • Location
    The north bank of the Yukon R.,between the villages of Ruby and Galena,Alaska
  • Biography
    born,moscow,ussr.live in usa since the age of 13
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  • Occupation
    semi-nomadic hunter/gatherer

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  1. THANKS,to all you good folks,it's very heart-warming to be so kindly remembered. It is the forgework that unites us here,and it's only natural that one goes to ground when prevented from the actual practice of it. Extremely gratifying to even think that one may've helped by inspiring someone(EXCELLENT job on that fork,Jeremy,such careful craftsmanship...I need to learn that from you,some day!). I'll be,probably,setting up a forge again someday,in my new camp,but it'll take a while,as the primary buildings,the cabin and the cache,will have to be built first;of course,chances are,that i'll be incommunicado then,simply too far from the internet or phone. Bryan,i do apologise for staying out of touch,it's ridiculous,living in the same small town! I've initially came out to do a small const.job,and was very busy remembering how to be a sub,again,then the town whirlpool had me,i've not even visited all the old metalworking haunts in town(yet);but hear that you guys at Mark's have gone through the entire forged knife sequence... Still very busy(stripping paint off of old aluminun bush-planes),but will creep out of the woodwork,hopefully soon,and try to track you down! Ciladog,thank you for you vote of confidence,for believing that i could write something that would be interesting to read.I'm afraid that any attempt at this will simply be too stark,the events defining my life being what they are,AND,so closely intertwined with the lives of others,which will pose an entirely separate problem in and of itself. Hope that your experiments with pattern-welding chain are going swell!You.like Jeremy and many others on here,are (enviably) methodical and systematic about it,great stuff,the last i've seen it!
  2. Friends!Beth has alerted me to this thread,and i'm much flattered by everyone's attention,though have precious little to say for myself... Last time that i've posted here on IFI was a year ago,during my last,and final attempt to penetrate the Great Indifference that surrounds Forging today,in most places. In that attempt i've spent about 7-8 months forging a variety of objects,in preparation for a craft show being sponsored by the Museum of the North,at the U.of Alaska,Fairbanks. The result was pathetic-a couple of hundred of totally casual,indifferent visitors,shopping for a $5 dog-sitter gifts,the only thing that was sold was a $24 wall-hook,and even that had that pity-tinged flavor. That 24 dollars has become the final figure for my (monetary)earnings that annum,and there i was,in the city,penniless,among the ruins of yet another set of castles drawn on air. However,that wasn't the most disappointing part:In preparing for the event,among other ideas and directions in forging,there was a brief exploration into the Gothic work,in which i was assisted by many,chiefly the venerable John B,who went through much trouble helping with all the advice on history,and culture,and much more involved.He even sent a couple of the original fragments,removed during the restoration of the historic ironwork in an old London church. These fragments symbolised the entire reason,my intended purpose for being there at all,doing what i was doing-an attempt to remind the People about the Forged Ironwork,it's importance,and utility,and beauty,in the history of architecture and design. So,the starving practitioners of the heritage crafts aside,i attempted to introduce this educational element into the display of forged objects.And this too has attracted precious little attention,and many fewer questions that i so fervently wished for. Simply put,it was all another silly,quixotic flop. Afterwards,the forgings were dumped off at a friends gallery,at discounted prices,and i crawled back downriver,with no plans to continue forging. During the subsequent spring/summer/fall i tried to honor what few outstanding orders i've had left,accepting no new ones,till what was left of my being a blacksmith was one poor village kid still coming for lessons once a week(didn't have the heart to turn him away). Early this fall,for reasons sundry and varied,i've lost my access to the establishment in Galena,and no longer have a base there.I'm now a true river-rat,with nothing tying me back to any organised human community. But I'm in Fairbanks again this winter,for reasons having nothing to do with...anything,really,just being nomadic. And suddenly,here's an e-mail from the Museum,saying that they've applied for,and have recieved a grant,to purchase some of those last year's forgings for their permanent collection. Among the two pieces is that Gothic-themed job. I'm just about to go there for an interview,and to give them more information on the materials,the history,et c.,on the Whys and the Wherefores of my forging,and forging in general. I'm thinking Very hard on what to say,and how to best emphasise the point that it was a collaboration with John B and others,that Blacksmithing is a Continuity,a tradition as old and older then literacy,and was never done in a vacuum by one craftsman,but was a great,spreading root-system underlying the culture... (And that it's a part of the reason why i,for one,would never agree to reduce it to a method of producing those cheap,over-simplified doo-dahs that the populace(thinks that it)wants...). I've some other interesting things in the works here,potentially,some having to do with forging,even(other with use of forged tools in construction of log and timber buildings),but i'll tell about them when,and if,they ever come to pass.It leaves a painful void in my very soul to talk about the projects that may never come to be,as well as post on here(and other resourses),when i'm not actually Doing stuff... Thus the silences,often very protracted. If i go completely silent,that simply means that i'm not doing anything other than surviving... So,thanks,friends,there's life in the old rootball yet,(but barely).And all the VERY best to everyone!
  3. Hey,it's great to be back in touch at least somewhat! It's funny how high-tech we are nowadays,and how weather-dependent still,all in the same time.Like Bryan says,it's really stormy here,Fairbanks is loosing power one neighborhood after another,and i imagine it must be a fight to keep the runway open at the airport,the wet snow flying at some velocity all day. Bryan,we're good here,certainly there's no reason for you to carry a large anvil around,if you were to just show up there's lots of equipment already here,we can stay busy EASILY! You're right,electric tools may be the way to go to cut 3/4" plate,i even have access to a decent jigsaw,a sawzall may do it.Cut-off hardy or any other hot-cutiing will work too,would only require some reshaping of stock afterwards,not all bad of a thing,of a character-building sort But,really,it's all pretty much here now,and if you can make it without endangering yourself that right there will be all that matters!Please stay warm,dry,safe,and your conveyance between the ditches! Beth,you know,there's a funky thing going on with fuel here:Alaska does have one GOOD coal seam,but it's far away,and not exploited commercially.Instead,the mineral coal comes from the States,imported,like much else here. It's really not that expensive,and it's of a particularly fine quality(though i'm not a scientific judge of coal,that all's very complex).The grade of it is carefully selected at the mine that it comes from,and the size,as well. Now,we all get used to whatever it is that happens to be available locally,and eventually adjust,and this stuff's no exception:Having to coke it up oneself is actually very handy:It cokes Very sticky,and you just fall into the habit of shaping the fire to your needs,also controlling it with the yet green coal surrounding it,it's a good,practical way to manage a forge-fire(not necessarily the cleanest one ). This coal is great,i'll have a tougher time adjusting to the new forge,but here also,one does adjust,and i need to practice working with a side-blast anyway,too many years spent unadventurously with bottom-blast,i'm falling into some bad,slothful habits That is really neat that you're fitting iron to stone-i bet that it'll look cool!All the very best with math and measuring! I wonder if you're familiar with a method that the boatbuilders call the Tick-stick,a form of a single-plane scribing? I hesitate to try to describe it in words though it's dead-simple,and afraid to loose the message by trying to attach a photo now(but can,very easily,make a sketch and photograph it).Scribing of any sort is a Zen,thoughtless way to obtain those irregular shapes.But,the VERY best wishes in everything and every stage of the project!
  4. The exterior and interior of the new forge: P.S.This is ridiculous-how long will i be building forges,everywhere i chance to go?! Should i just bow to fate,admit to being a gypsy,travel with this little 25lb anvil,and work in a hole in the ground?Not the ideal climate...Maybe i can design a portable,one-mule sled-mounted forge...
  5. Only Blacksmithing can bring together such wonderful people as have gathered here!I can't do justice to all the incredible information and insight posted above,exeptional not only for it's thought-provoking content,but for the warmth,kindness,and respect for everyone and everything that dwells...Thanks,and my hat's off to the company... The internet has been awful to me lately,i've lost so many messages that feel like i need to write telegraphically,as i suspect that something on this site times out on me... Everything here's going a bit slower than i hoped for.I'm inside,with a stove functioning,and even lit-up yesterday,in a VERY primitive fashion(imported bitumen,side-blast). I was with my old friend and past student Hanna,whom i've absolutely poisoned and choked out,as the smoke expulsion is not quite worked out yet(and she doesn't practice like me by inhaling tobacco smoke all day).We forged some,but it was VERY tough. Because of the holidays i'm only just catching up to people whom i've hoped to rob all the better equipment from... Bryan,i'm sorry that it's all so discombobulated,it's coming together now.Unfortunately,this warm spell is catching up to us,and the roads the next few days may get deadly.I can't make it out of the neighborhood now,it's uphill on an unmaintained road for the first mile or so.A hefty 4-wheel drive+studded tires should do it,though,but it's not what i have access to(put the car entrusted to me in a ditch last night .That's unhandy,as today was the day that i was fetching a more or less decent anvil. BUT,i've an antique wrought 25-pounder here,and coal,what else anyone needs,to make everything else? So,Bryan,it's anytime that you feel safe driving now,and i'll continue improving the smoke draft and other details. I got us a chunk of 3/4" plate for axes,but haven't found the plasma cutter or some other civilised way to section it up.We can improvise :)
  6. Good job,we all know how it goes sometimes,with re-designs,and re-re-designs,(especially where firewelding is involved). The important thing is to keep trying,the lesson usually is cruel enough to remember it well,so that there's no problem there. A three-part weld is never easy,not having that central symmetry that keeps reinforcing the weld,many of the blows work to shear the fresh welds instead. Much work like that was done by welding the legs together first,in a 120 deg.variant of a T-weld. Then the central member was either bump-welded into the center(a weld that is scarved using the two conical shapes,the male narrower,of course(,and is something that i always found very challenging....),or just riveted through. But bundle-welds are one of the ways to do all that,so,again,good job,and good for you to pick on that far from easy technique.
  7. Hey,that is wonderful that this goofy thread didn't perish yet,but quite otherwise,turned to all these fantastic,Godly matters,such as weather,and beautiful horses,and much fantastic forging,too!Clay,those are some cool photos,incredible,thanks! Randy,thanks,likewise,i'll try the video,but not sure about this here funky dial-up connection! For a couple of weeks i've lacked internet access,but also the privacy of my habitual,village hermitage(having dived into the wirlpool of a City) to concentrate on a meaningful post,and have just come by both unexpectedly. Thanks,Bryan,for filling in the info on the show,and it was extremely pleasant to've met you in person,too:I've had the honor of meeeting Bryan,folks,a very large,warm,and gentlemanly person,with whom i now have the pleasure of sharing the immediate geography!(Well,it's tens of miles now instead of hundreds,anyway ). Bryan,stay warm,and i very much hope to see you at the knifemaker's meeting/get-together that the word on the street says is on the 13th. I'll try to put the results of the recent stage of the Mission in a nutshell here: By all "normal" parameters the show was a bust,i've produced one saleable item worth $24,in the 5 or so months of work (It was a spike-hook,with a plain twist,and ended up on the table accidentally). I've caused it all to be so,thanks to my craziness,very deliberately,so in that way it was a complete success-purpose accomplished as intended. The purpose was complex,and in a number of ways was very curious in it's process,it's progress: The display of ironwork has puzzled the people,it has,in a way,Unsettled them,as Winnie-the-Pooh puts it. It was not consistent with the Public's idea of forged goods.That is telling,to me it is(or i want it to be):The image of forgework has fallen low,and it's up to Us to uphold,and raise it.Well,everyone knew this the whole time,but hey,it was good to reassure oneself The prices were set obscenely high,which was also another inquiry into the Public's tastes and instincts,and their perceptions:IF,valued as everything else is nowadays,in money,how high do people value the Work of blacksmithing?What do they rate the sheer effort,the output of energy,at? The level(literally) of interest was an issue,too-many are simply not informed in the basic physics to actually realise What the material is,and Whereby it took those shapes! Many,of course,were,and i did have Many wonderful conversations,with some amazing,no exageration,people. Bryan,of course,and other kindred spirits,and very interesting people in all walks of life. It was very gratifying to see that practically everyone who happened by has read the short commentary that accompanied a sampling of original,old English forgework. It was a pair of incredibly elegant scrolls,that through decency and generosity of John B,have found themselves in Alaska,serving the cause of proselytising on behalf of Blacksmithing. I was saddened not to've been asked more technical questions about this old work,such as,"How was it forged so smoothly,and scrolled so evenly?",or "How were the welds blended- in so perfectly?". But i'm probably being unfair here:As a person who came to ironworking late in life,over the age of 30,i probably wouldn't have known to ask these questions either!Before being born again!!! Und zo,the moral from the entire experience,which includes working fair-to-middling hard almost half a year,communicating and learning from all of you generous folks to whom i'm speaking here now,and this,an artisan expo, as a finalising event,the overriding impression of the entire whole: There needs to more and better forgework! I've banged together a nasty,OSB&pallets shack,with my good friend here,and tomorrow we go to rob tools from another friend.And a barrel stove kit from hardware store.And a sack of coal. I've sabotaged all my chances to forge for lucre,and have so freed myself Entirely of any obligation. I'm now free to forge as much,and of Whatsoever i want!!! Bryan,let's get together here soon,and do those small Scandinavian axes!It'll be warm in the forge forthwith,and i should be working by the middle of this week-free at last! :D
  8. The Galena airport has all the conveniencrs,as you can see: In the background you can make out just hoe erect the old wind-sock is.Actually,300+ inland,that storm has largely blown itself out.It's only gusting 28 to 40mph.They fly in this habitually. Our workhorse,Beechcraft 1900C,cool machine,even pressurised. The Yukon right in front of my shack,as we're taking out over it. And here we are,unsettling the passerby.That's pretty cool that the comp just works here(better han home),i feel like a real spy.
  9. Hey,i've actually flown in on that storm-it was cool,Mary Poppins-like. Sitting outside the Fairbanks Inernational,on the piles of ironwork,dogs,tools,dogfish and my stashes of meat and fish,the pile barks and smells,and everyone gives us a wide berth. The Mission has truly Began!We're behind the enemy's lines!(if my friends won't show up i'll hook up the dogs,we're self-sufficient unto iven having a charged lap-top,and a small anvil.Good place to winter out as any...
  10. That is GREAT,Dave,beautiful,marvelous,all the adjectives you'd like-you deserve them!I'm envious at how you must feel,having to pull something like that off,that is one cool object that you've created! I'd only say that you can go ahead and quit that day-job of yours now! Excellent,and thank you,we all learned a bunch watching your progress,too.
  11. Randy,there's a simply INCREDIBLE importance to your story,in a number of different ways(here i'm at the computer again,with all the woodwork that i need to do,thus inside work,i'm just perilously close to my desk,i'll file it as a smoke-break,no,a UNION-meeting break,and make it brief). Only One of the many thoughts that flashed through the old brain upon reading Randy's story was this old idea,that this timber-framer friend and i discussed a few years back: It involved compiling,and publishing,a Directory of all the local craftsmen,so that if anyone was interested,for whatever reason,in this entire concept,Handmade,Quality,Responsible craftsmanship,that they'd know who's working in that area. It would list people working in all media,for we all have so incredibly much to learn from each other,just the way you describe in your excellent story,Randy,but also so many other things in which crafsmen of all denominations NEED each other. Just the technical aspects taken separately are crucial,things like if i wanted to use a forged iron object in combination with glasswork,who i could possibly talk to,et c. From the potential customer's standpoint such a thing would also be extremely valuable,say someone's just moving into a new timber-framed house,who can they talk to about appropriate fittings,hardware,decorative accents... I'm so in love with ironwork that it makes my thinking lopsided in many ways,but even that angle alone,as far as it relates to the aspects of architecture such as woodwork,masonry stoves,glass and ceramics,everything,you name it... Sorry for the jumbled together thoughts,but what Randy wrote leads into so much constructive ideas that i'm simply staggered... Over and out here,wishing everyone the best possible creative,constructive,in all ways wonderful day!
  12. "Thanks" sounds like too paltry of a term in return for everyone's wisdom,kindness,and sheer validity of thought expressed here. I can only hope that everyone knows just how much it means to me,how much it helps. Thanks. I'll go forth feeling like i'm vested with authority for the mission by all these powerful entities,the Blacksmithing individuals and guilds on both sides of the Atlantic. (I may have to think of staging a demonstration in Fairbanks where the "colors" of different blacksmithing guilds will be carried through the streets,big,colorful carved effigies of patron saints and banners,and all manner of reliquia!!!). I'm so far behind,that instead what i should do is turn the computer off,as usual i've left so much to the last moment that it's not even funny... I'm sorry that the photo function of the site has been so unwell of late,we're missing out on some unique stuff from all over the world...(I manage to sneak a shot or two in by endless re-newal of page). (The mention of a steamer going by has given me a pang,John,as you know,it's (yet)another mental affliction plaguing me,in this photo you can see a corner of the one that i keep by my bed )
  13. Wow.Owen,that looks ancient,somehow,like it came out of a Sciphian burial mound sort of a thing. Beautiful,powerful image,that is just SO cool that anyone can forge something like this. My hat's off,to be sure.
  14. Joshua,don't take this wrong,but:The tools for axe-making range from nothing(a rock to hit with),to a CNC mill and a closed die(shaped just like an axe,on the inside). So:What you got in mind to make,and,no less important,why? As in,for example:"I want to make a tomahawk,and i don't care about either historical accuracy or any physics of whatever people use one for,i just want to make it to be Cool" Or,"I'd like to make a hewing axe of a type used in Germany,in an N-th region/historic time-period,to weigh 758 grams,with the angle of grind of an X degrees,et c.,et c." There's not a "Axe-making Tool Kit"(that i know of).As an axe is a Highly specialised,very complex tool,that comes in more'n 32 flavors.... Hope that you won'y mind my sarcasm,it may be mean of me,but it's,alas,true. All the best,Jake