Camulus777

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About Camulus777

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    Member

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  • Website URL
    stoicforge.com

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Spanish Fork Utah
  • Interests
    Blacksmithing, Weapons, Historical Accuracy, A little bit of gunsmithing, and lots of learning. I am a very hands on kind of guy so smithing for a living is a dream come true.
  1. Capital for start-up

    Love it.
  2. Capital for start-up

    True it's much easier said than done, i'm not going to lie, but some of it is as simple as flipping a switch. There is a lot that you can do though without a large startup fund. I'd say for those just starting out it's a factor of time or money. Time breads experience, but like most education it pays little at first. Money when spent wisely can multiply quickly and predictably but only when spent wiseley. Don't experiment with money unless you don't mind losing it, because chances are you will. One bad month at a shop with ill planning can set you back months, years or force you to close. I have had to do that with one shop already and learned from that costly lesson. Your most valuable asset will always be your contacts and relationships. Make friends and try hard to be honest with your competition. Don't pick fights. It costs money and causes problems down the road that just waste time.
  3. Capital for start-up

    Truer words my friend. I told my original partners when I first started out that a shop like ours will not be a single product shop and it will not be a mass production part shop. There are a few items that are worth it however. Large tent stakes and quick little no heat s hooks are terrific. Your 100% right about everything you posted above. Before anyone starts this type of work they need to seriously look at what kinds of things they want to make and what kind of equipment they need to make it. A decent welder for starters I found is a must. A propane forge is by far less expensive than coal or coke as far as fuel goes and you can control the temp so much better. Has anyone made up a comprehensive list of what it costs to start their shop and posted it yet? That will give a little heads up to those interested parties.
  4. Capital for start-up

    I would first like to point out that my post here is based on personal observations and mountains of readings on the subject of marketing. As well as 12 years in the industry as a salesperson, product manages, designer, and business owner. I do have a degree in business marketing as well from National University although that is nothing compared to hands on experience. This opinion I give has some bearing in academia but like I said is personal opinion mostly. I see there are some here that have a bad taste in their mouth from social media outlets. I agree with you to a point, but that point stops with the notion that you can get that type of exposure from person to person interactions. Social media has been a tool for business, and a very useful one for those that know what each aspect is used for. Facebook is a great place to get your story out to people that might be interested in the same things you are interested in but it is also a fabulous place to post inexpensive advertisements that tap into a market of half a billion people. It's not as personal as a face to face but it is a good doorway to get a person to person interaction over the web. If an individual sees you page and interactions but has not joined of friended, you should friend them sincerely though your group. This makes them a frequent visitor and window shopper of your products, and when the moment arises for them to buy an item offered by yourself or a competitor you have the home field advantage over those competitors. The customer "knows" you, you have a personal, albeit digital correspondence. Instagram is used in a similar fashion of telling a story. Your story. If you look and see all of the youtubers that blacksmith out there one stands out to be as being rather good at what he does by not following the normal youtube rules. Chandler Dickinson. He is not very frequent with video posts, but he has 170k followers with tens of thousands of views on may of his posts. His instagram does rather well too, and its all organic. This is because of his story. His personal touch to everything he does. He exposes his life, the goods and the bads, and people feel that they are with him along the way. Large companies use the mass spamming of huge email lists and facebook adds all the time and its rather effective because of the ability the system has to follow what you have been looking at recently and posting adds that a relative to those searches. If you are looking for mother's day gifts you will start to see more advertisements for those, if you are looking at sofa covers then you will see those on sites you go to. If this was not effective no one would be doing it. It should not however take the place of intimate customer relationships. It should all be used to strengthen it. It like fishing with a net. You will get a lot more tuna but you have to be sure that you also look for the other things you are catching as well. This of course depends entirely on the type of business you are framing. Mass email marketing does not work well with a custom shop compared to a bargain store. There are three types of shoppers based on their social and economic status. There are those that shop out of necessity and volume for their dollar, those that shop for the best looking and most highly rated products, and those that buy product based on brand recognition and status. You will not see a person in the last category go out and ask for a Ferrari during a huge sale at the dealership. These types of businesses tend to negotiate less, meaning fewer special price offers, and almost no bargains. The middle group would not buy an expensive product unless it was the absolute best in its class, and they would never do it for self recognition. The product has a task and it will be the most likely to perform that task in the best way. These customers have a brand favorite and tend to be the most loyal out there. If they like your product they will convince everyone to like your product because of X, Y, and Z. The customers that are looking for bargains and deals do so because they believe in mass over volume. The more of something you can get for the least amount of money. Name does not matter so much, and quality is second to quantity. For a blacksmith shop the best customers tend to belong to either group B, or C, or a bit of both. It can be difficult to hook customers in group A because handmade items are not nearly as interesting as a good sale. They will love your clearance bin but little else. This means that you can either focus on creating unique product that look the best or function better than your competitors or you can build a name for yourself in a niche market, charge twice what your competitors are and lure them with your brand. Both of these can be tapped into with social media and if done right you can be successful with either or both. Its best to focus on one at a time I think, but that is just me. How you achieve luring your target customer now becomes easier but is still somewhat of a crapshoot. You may even find that you attract customers you never thought but not in the volume you would like. Or to many of one type of customer that makes managing your business difficult. Look at shoes for example. Nikie is one of the best marketing empires when it comes to footwear and athletic attire. They target customers through using famous athletes and beautiful people in their adds. Their product is going for that best product in its class market and they do it very well. Louis Vuitton on the other hand does not use famous people as their spokesperson in the same way they use the valued attention of peer influence to drive sales. Some fat cat executive wears the shoe to a board meeting and the guy next to him asks about the shoe and sells it through perceived status. Keeping up with the Rockefellers. Believe it or not you can do this through social media as long as you can connect with the right people. In this case it's less force marketing and advertising and more bribing people to use your stuff. Give free product to a well to do influencer and everyone that wants that kind of status will try to get your product. Your name and brand become synonymous with a particular lifestyle and statement. This does not have to be an expensive item either. There are many tiers to the price of items like these and many sub-markets. I have done sales of all kinds in my life, and seen products evolve as well as companies change. It is fascinating to me how the markets change as we improve our lives. Fads influence buying, trends create whole new markets. Essential oils, videogames, food franchises, diets, these are all waves on the sea that you can take advantage of and ride to success.
  5. TFS Anvils

    Even mild steel in some places a bit of steel that size is going for $250 unless you can find scrap. Leaf Spring is rather easy to get and so is a bit of 2x2x4 total cost is $15 and you can forge a 3x5 with a 1/2 inch harden top in a few hours. Without the 5160 on top it more like 45 minutes with a power hammer of a few helpers with 10lb sledge. It's also worth the experience I think, but to each their own. $250 is still relatively inexpensive for an anvil.
  6. Capital for start-up

    Rockstar, I have not given it much thought to be honest. I'm no wizard at social media I just have a lot of experience with it. There are formulas for some things but others are organic and had to control. My youtube for instance is a pain in my rear end, but my instagram, and facebook are pretty steady and predictable. Both have grown rather quickly and take little to maintain, but youtube is harder. I totally agree though about learning to crawl before you run. It's like giving a power hammer to someone that has never used a hand hammer to move metal. Without the basics and the growing pains you miss out on all the lessons that the experience has to offer.
  7. hans138, I agree. It is hard to sell S hooks of your own design today. That said there is some stuff that I would recommend the average smith be aware of when they sell "original crafts." I was approached by a customer going to a harry potter get together and they asked me to forge an iron wand. Pretty much nothing more than a bit of 3/8 tapered off with a twist and a crystal held by some prongs. Apparently when she got to the party another individual was there with a similar wand and was mad because they thought that I had copied it off of their website. I got a call from this irate individual because I was encroaching on their customer base and they did not like it. We calmed the situation down and the conversation ended with both of us talking about doing some skyrim stuff together. I had the same experience from the other end when I saw one of the styles of rings I make regularly on a youtube video that I did not make. The assault in this case was directed at my shop and the person ended by saying how simple the rings were to make on your own and that you should probably make one yourself rather than buy it anywhere. (I personally know this individual and they were not happy when I told them I was making rings.) The moral here is original is so hard to claim and even in the engineering and product development legal world it's a mess. Just don't be a Troll about it. We live in a time where forums like this exist because the idea of trade secrets is lost out in favor of freedom of information and a sense of comradery. I go all over the united states and run into other smiths that get excited when a fellow klanginsmith walks through their door. We talk and teach and learn from one another and we (forgive the obvious pun) forge a bond of friendship that benefits both. I love adding the nails of other smiths to my post outside my door. Be courteous. Give credit where it is due. Tell your viewers and customers where you learned to make the item and how you adapted it to your style. People love stories and will probably buy more.
  8. Capital for start-up

    This is an older post but I would like to add to it. The question of money comes into play only when you don't see it as a tool like any other. For example if you had all of the equipment and metal you needed to start money would be less of an issue however you have to get customers to support your overhead. If you are limited on the tools and resources then you would need money to buy those items to get started but your overhead is much lower so you need to make less to turn a profit. In reality what you are lacking is neither money nor customers but time. We measure time in dollars no matter the job or skill you might have. When we price the items we make in our shops a popular pricing mechanism is to count the number of hours involved in the work and charge accordingly. We get faster at the work we make more in that time frame we get more money, or become more competitive with prices. We go back to what you need as a blacksmith to start making what you want to sell. A forge, a hammer, and a surface to pound on. I made a forge for $25.00 with stuff from the scrap yard and no welding involved if I add the cost of the hand grinder $18, and the hand drill $50, and the bolts from the hardware store $5, and finally the hair dryer $20 I have me a working coal forge. I would get a 3lb cross pein from harbor freight for $6 and for an anvil its back to the scrap yard for a plate or I beam or if you're lucky a block of steel for $0.15 a pound. I used to sell my stuff at the farmer's markets over the summer and saved every penny after taxes to buy more equipment. I learned how to manage a number of online stores to widen my customer base as well a use other social media to gather interested parties and create a captive audience. I began making the tools that I could wich ment later nights and earlyer mornings but is totally worth it when it comes to a power hammer or specialty jigs. This allowed me to widen my product line and improve efficiency so that I could make more product. This does not mean that you should just start like I did. It was a lot of work and taxing on the family a little bit, and if i had 10k to spend starting out I would have happily spent it on things I needed. However I gained a sense of what my work was and what I was capable of along the way, and that I feel was well worth the time spent over money. I have tools that I never take for granted. I know how to fix everything in my shop if anything breaks down, I know what customers want what products and how much they are willing to pay for those products. I have learned a lot about social media marketing and facebook adds, as well as etsy, instagram, twitter, redit, youtube, and imgur. These are lessons that will do you far better than any power hammer or fancy 400 lb anvil. So how should you start off creating your business? I can't say for you but if I had to do it all over again I probably would not change a single thing. I hope this helps anyone that reads it. Just start right now and don't wait.
  9. First rounding hammer

    Thats is a very nice hammer.
  10. TFS Anvils

    I think I will make one for the renaissance fair. It would be far more authentic than a horned anvil and I am all about the recreation. I am not a fan of the double skin bellows though. Horidly taxing on the arms. And larger bag bellows are cool looking but overly complex and expensive. I'll do some box bellows for the air. Still wondering about other fares and stuff. Does anyone here do fairs or events around the country with a nice little 70 pounder they like, that is not a farrier's anvil?
  11. TFS Anvils

    I could probably use my striking anvil to forge a bit of 3" stock into a pretty decent size I could use some truck axle or a bit of 1055 or 4140. Any thoughts?
  12. TFS Anvils

    that sounds like something I would love to try for shows. Does he still sell these, and are they decently hard on top or just soft steel? If they are hard awesome I would probably buy one in a heartbeat if they are soft I would love to try making one myself. Either way thank you for the suggestion.
  13. TFS Anvils

    I guess my real question is, are these far more expensive anvils worth the much higher price just because they are not made of ductile cast iron? Also do you think a good 50--77 lb anvil would be better for these shows. I have done several but never with an actual manufactured anvil. I simply make what I need and use it, but I think it is about time. I'm not savey on anvil brands or their manufacturing processes. It just seems silly to me when I can get a metric ton of S7 impact steel or 4140 for the same price as some of these over engineered blocks. Someone please educate me. I am serious about being in the dark about some of these companies and don't want to buy something that will crack in half a year from now.
  14. TFS Anvils

    Thanks Biggundoctor, I'll take a look at them. I hear JHM has some rather large horns but great surfaces. Rhino was one I looked at but xxxx xxxx per pound those things are nearly twice as much as a scott. I'm looking for something to take to shows that don't look overly modern which leaves me with few options other than going round the country looking for a decent anvil in working condition. Jymm Hoffman makes amazing anvils but they are a bit large for their primary seller or a bit modern looking for the 110 and the 100 pounders. Also they are almost $300 more for anvils of the same weight. If they are far superior in design and function I won't mind so much, price is not a problem but if I'm going to pay that much more it better have a treadle hammer attached to it, you know? Nimba are great as well from what I hear and that double horn is a neet option but again we are talking $400-$500 bucks more for anvils of similar size from other brands. Peddinghaus has the problem of having nothing between the 77 and the 165 and. A 77 could work for the road but the surface area I'm looking for is closer to that 4-4.5 inch. I know I'm being picky but that's why I'm consulting the experts here. Thank you so much for the input thus far though guys. It is helping out a lot.
  15. TFS Anvils

    I've done my legwork so far throughout the midwest and California Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming with very little to show for it. But I am determined.