I am probably the most common sight around this section of the forum - a newbie from Ohio. I have yet to build my setup and get started, but plan to do so this Summer for a specific project. Basic info - I'm 36 and a married homeowner with 4 cats and 2 dogs. My 9-5 is mental health and addictions counseling, and I am a licensed independent clinical counselor in the state of Ohio. I have been buying knives and (mostly decoration) swords most of my life, and enjoy both historical and fantasy weapons. I've wanted to try blacksmithing for as long as I can remember, but up until recently I felt it was too cost prohibitive (starting with 0 tools) and I didn't have a good place to work (was a renter until about three years ago). I've come across this forum a few times, then a couple months ago started lurking pretty regularly trying to soak up ideas and knowledge. The gem of this has been seeing the various JABOD designs and improvised anvils. My main goal this summer with taking a go at Blacksmithing is to make a set of forged marshmallow roasting sticks as a wedding present for my brother-in-law this fall. As a project it will help with what appear to be the most suggested skills to start with - tapers, scrolls, and perhaps - a twist.
Slightly broader, and longer, reason to start blacksmithing: I have been fascinated with blades and weapons from a young age, and I mostly blame books, tv and movies. While shows like Xena provided fantasy (unrealistic in both design and abilities), Highlander brought historical blades (with still unrealistic abilities). By age 18 I had roughly 7 swords, an small war axe, and maybe 3 dozen various knives (I like unusual stuff - like a giant bowie-style folding knife.) I had saved up to get a computer to take to college (back in 2000) and had some money left over. I commissioned a blacksmith - Rick Schmidt aka Race Morningstar aka Duncan Alexander Malcolm MacDuibh Kilgour of the Oak and Iron Forge. We co-designed a polearm loosely based on elements from the Ashandarei from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, a glaive, and a naginata. Race was a former Coast Guardsman, an auxiliary member, and a heck of a nice guy. He passed away nearly two years ago, and it rekindled my desire to look into the craft. I had already watched numerous YouTube videos (which I continue to do), and browsed through sites like Anvilfire. But in the past year I started into more practical authors like Lorelei Sims and Alexander Weygers. Being in central Ohio I know I have tons of local resources (metal suppliers, fabrication shops, schools like Columbus Idea Foundry and Southern Ohio School of Blacksmithing, and I'm just a hop-skip-jump from SOFA). I've read, watched, listened and learned, the only thing left is to get off my xxxx and apply it - and then learn some more!
TLDR; Another long-winded newbie from Ohio wants to swing a hammer at hot steel.