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I Forge Iron


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About jlpservicesinc

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  • Location
    Rutland, MA
  • Interests
    anvil making, utilitarian tools, hardware, tooling, knife and sword making. Martial arts tools especially Ninjutsu.. Industrial forged items..

    Nin video link.. : https://youtu.be/yfQaqeF9MaA

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  1. Something I think that happens when I post something like this is that people take it "as my story only".. It's just ideas that should be taken away.. Not stone, nor this is what you should charge.. Information and ideas are all there really is.. That is what I'm trying to share.. Any given situation can be anything you want it to be.. But, you as the center has to decide.. Its not very often people fee badly about finding money on the side of the road or that 10.00 spot they find in their pocket after laundry day.. With this. when it comes time to buy something it becomes how much money does 1 have to do it with.. What is it worth is solely the persons own decision. With every thing there is a value to cost assessment and the value or cost is totally the judgement of the person.
  2. 30+ years ago when I was involved with trying to make the business better I went and took a bunch of courses and spoke with many people from industry and services with the SBA. I met with 10 different people and they always said the same thing.. The same business model and the same way to success.. 2 of the only factors was this.. Charge enough for a given volume of work.. And make products faster and then have employee's so every person whom works for you, you can make 3.00 to 5.00 dollars off of each person per hour. I would then say my business is hand forging, and they would start down the road of automation and power presses and closed dies.. I was and still am about hand work.. The blacksmithing business was very successful.. I had plenty of work and charged a premium price even back in the 80-90's 60.00 per hour.. When I finally closed up shop it wasn't because I didn't have ample work.. It's because I started to see how easy it was to make money as a farrier and could work 1/2 a day and make 400-500 per day without trying to sell the work.. (research, presentation, education of customer, samples, meetings, etc, etc).. Some people don't really care about what time they have into the odds and ends and not get paid.. LOL.. Well at first they feel that way.. But eventually they start to notice the trend.. The formula was what I keep repeating with time and what do charge goes by what it costs doing all business + the needs of the person.. (health insurance, retirement, vacations, sick time, etc, etc).. I personally don't care what others charge just the same as I don't really care what others have done in the past.. It's what goes on today that I am truly interested in.. I'm not a pro any longer.. I just have a bunch of information and can forge all right.. With this.. People really have to understand, they are in charge of their own destiny and how they price their work.. I know/knew 5 smiths who are excellent smiths and back in the 90's I was charging 2X what they were getting and I was swamped.. Today I still charge a premium over what others charge and still get that kind of money because I set the pricing standard and my work backs up that pricing point.. Is it fair.. Fair to who? That is for the seller and buyer to decide.. Last 2 thumb latches I sold were just over 1000.00.. I felt like they got a bargain yet was priced well, and the customers were elated.. I was told this by a successful farmer.. Really smart guy.. Owns all his own equipment, never buys something that won't be paid off within a year or 2.. He said to me.. "As a hobby and having extra income buy what ever you want and know it won't ever pay you back".. That ok since it's a hobby and hobbies cost money.. Be it motorcycles, cars, boats, stained glass, pottery.. etc, etc.. But, anytime you decide to buy a piece of equipment that is no longer a hobby type item, then its business and that item or tool needs to pay itself off from use within a year.. 2 tops.. If that tool is not going to earn it's own keep then rent 1 or lease 1 for when you need it but do not buy it.. I keep that in mind with every purchase.., I look at all cash exchanges as business.. If it wasn't business there would be not cash, trade or barter to do..
  3. JHCC how cool is that.. Luckily it stayed in the family..
  4. Thanks for sharing his videos.. On the nail video he goes into the mechanics of it.. Very nice for newer smiths.. I don't like he cut forging footage out though.
  5. It becomes user preference as to hole or peen.. It really depends on the design of the hammer. Wrought iron being as soft as it is when hot can deform a bunch when working on the peen or punching the eye.. This can be a problem when the eye gets off center or skewed as it is hard to shift it back. Many want to see the eye in first to know if they should even continue.. (wrought iron can delam or shear ) so many want to see what will happen when the punch is driven in. I personally choose what to do next when the time comes.. Do I have a lot of work on the peen end and can isolate it from the eye.. Or is the eye going to be a problem where it gets moved around a lot.. If the cheeks of the eye gets moved a lot it can just start a stress fracture and will just fall apart from these cracks. Its a terror because the cracks get bigger and bigger even though you are no where near them with each hammer blow. So, ideally it is what ever is going to be left alone after the operation is done..
  6. JHCC thanks for the clarification.. So to culminate the difference. I considewr what you are describing as a "friendly wage" .. Basically taking on the thought process of kindness and it's a wash or maybe a few scheckles in the coffers.. A person feels good about what they are doing/charging and the perception is the customer is happy.. I feel in a perfect world.. Money should be a secondary thought.. Helping should be the first and in a perfect world that would be the case. George, from that business perspective one has to account for busy time where the forge is not lit and booked as shop time.. Travel time for job quotes and such.. This whole thread is about what to charge.. Your formula is a good one taking into consideration what it breaks down to hourly rate based on that 40hrs a week.. Simple.. How much per hour does one want to make? Having started out as a hobby smith and charging 10.00 per hour myself, It was a learning progression as to how much I should charge.. "Should" being the key word.. "Value" or "Worth" are all perspectives.. Nothing more.. Time as pointed out really is the only thing that we give up/out no matter what we are doing.. I can sit here and the time is still going by.. I work on someone's order the time is still going by.. Both are exactly the same value wise.. At some point on the money side of things the "Balancing of the budget" becomes the factor.. With this.. There is no such thing as "balance".. Each aspect of money is just "Have it or don't have it".. One minute it's there, the next it's gone.. No matter what gets said.. It becomes only up to the individual about how they feel about what is "the right rate".. Personally, I charge what I charge in every facet of work I do.. I learned a long time ago, no one is in control of this but me.. I'd rather produce quality work at a premium price vs lesser work to try to meet the lower price.. "I have to feel good about what I am selling the item for or else its not work making it".. If I make 1 thumb latch per hour at X dollars.. Why would I want to make 3 in that same hour as now I am only making 1/3rd the amount for those 3 items.. Not only that but now it becomes a pressure aspect because if there is a problem now if I only get 1 item made, I'm still only making 1/3rd.. Thanks JHCC and George for clarifying..
  7. So, while this could apply for someone who has it as a hobby and not looking to make bank but maybe cover expenses.. It's a great formula not to succeed.. I'm sorry JHCC.. much respect for you.. Has nothing personally to do with you per say. 1, customers budget sets the tone for what they think the item is worth vs what it actually will take both in resources and in skill/labor.. 2, This is a pretty good one if you are looking at just balancing the books vs making money. 3. Never compare what you charge vs someone else charges for a given item.. they might be doing the same exact thing by checking Etsy and thus locking you into a mind set of "WHAT YOUR TIME IS WORTH".. Forget the comparisons and sit down and figure out exact what it would take for you to make an item and then figure out per hour what you want to make.. If you want 10.00 per hour they so be it.. They are paying 18.67 at McD's up the street.. So what does that say.. 4.. Any item purchased to do a job has to be accounted for.. There should be a savings account from the money that is made in the shop after all expenses are added up including overhead of shop, electric, stock, tools, coal, bolts, nuts, etc, etc. Then what is left over should go into an equipment account.. Say 3% or something like that which is manageable. Tools should not dictate what one is capable of until you get into heavy forge work.. Then a power hammer is a need. If you need to tool up for a project then this needs to be discussed with the person and ideally the rule of making enough to help pay it off over a few jobs vs 1 person paying for the whole expense.. It does not mean once in awhile the purchaser won't pay for a tool outright as part of the contract.. But, it does not happen everyday. 5. Repeat business does not mean you are making a fair wage.. What it means is, if you get caught making 10 items under rate, guess what.. You are losing money and it's all because of under valuing what it is you are making. I see this all the time with newer smiths that all of a sudden decide to become a pro.. You want to charge what the product and level of work you have into it will pay you.. (AKA "What is it worth to you".. ) 6. If you are making bank then this won't be an issue because you have accounted for this when you decided on the rate.. 7. Some people don't care if items match.. Some don't want them to match because they think hand made means sloppy.. (AKA should look hand made). I always charge more for items I'm making sets of.. UNLESS, the item is a stock list item.. Any stock list item I make I should be very intimate with and know exactly how much time it will take to forge/make the item and exactly what I have into it on the business end.. With this I'll add on 10, 20, 30.00 each for matching items if the items are custom. If someone wants 1 thumb latch it can be made in a few hours I can charge less because I don't care about matching anything so can just bang 1 out.. Easy peasy.. Problem comes a few years later or when you give them a stupid low price and the next thing they ask you for 10 items at that price. The correct price to charge as a hobbyist is what ever you feel, you are worth.. Don't compare to anyone else, it's a very bad comparative. There are a ton of variables one can not know.. I'd rather charge a premium price and get the appreciation of knowing I am getting what I am worth and you'd be surprised just how undervalued we look at ourselves with. Charge what you want to.. The jobs that come in at that price point will leave you feeling good about what you made, vs having accounted for 3 hrs and it taking you 6 and now you have X amount of hours into it and the customer bales.. I wanted to add.. If it's a friend of yours or family and you charge less it's more of a hobby thing that really doesn't matter at all.. Right.. Taking a loss on 1 item say a bottle opener.. What that is no biggy.. what if you take a loss on 30 openers? Auto shops get what per hour? Electricians get what per hour? Dr's get what per hour? It's amazing how expensive it really is, when you start to account for everything related to doing business.
  8. Every solenoid connection was completely loose.. Many of the fine wire weren't connected.
  9. Ted, the unit can be configured for 220/440 50 or 60hz.. (Allen Bradley is a USA company) or used to be. The control circuit was 110V.. So the transformer would take the 220/440V and make 110V just for the control circuit. Today I pulled it all apart because I wanted to use the old one to see how it was put together.. Turns out the original is completely shot.. The insulator is completely cracked really badly.. Came apart in my hands more or less.. I wanted to figure out how to change out the 220V solenoid for the 110V units I ordered.. The original is so rusty, it does not want to come apart easily. The nice thing is they used good hardware so the screws came out and it gave me a good view of what needs to be done step wise. So while I was there I finished the job of paint.. The inside of the box will be white like the original and the outside will be blue. It's always interesting when I want to take short cuts and then forced into doing it all.
  10. The crushing of the wrought iron is kinda normal.. I had this conversation with someone not long ago about taking a good heat on the bar and let the outside cool a bit then upset it.. the idea is to have the center of the bar hotter then the outside layer.. this will upset the inside and bulge the outside layer evenly if done well. Nice job on the etch.. You might want to shelve this one and start a new 1.. In a few of the books I have read, they suggest making the steel piece about 1/16" smaller on all sides. I don't like to do it that way.. I like to make it exact..
  11. nearing the finish line on this bad boy.. Sadly with all this stuff its a learning curve.. I had to order a new controller/contactor.. It came in from Amman Jordan. Decent shipping time, but it arrived damaged though the box had no damage.. We will see how that works out. The solenoids I ordered few weeks back are the wrong size.. I ordered 0A01 and I needed 1A01.. Live and learn. The new uinit comes with 220v coils vs the 110v which the original came with.. I also ordered a new transformer and it came in beat up with no abuse to the box. LOL.. I have most the stuff completed so just a few more things. Few before and afters as well..
  12. It's all good. I was just being a stinker.. Those spots will come in mighty handy.. New sharp edges are not all they are cut out to be. Having some tapers and radius built in comes in plenty handy..
  13. I have seen this type of wear as pointed out before.. Exactly in those spots.. but, hey.. what ever.. Thomas they were still using flat drill bit here way past your date.. In fact I still know some rock jockeys who still use flat drills for certain work.. But, hey, what ever.. could have been a knife makers.. LOL..
  14. That looks great. One of my customers used the clear poly sheets on the barn. Amazingly bright in there. So are the ends of the containers completely opened? Or still separated?
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