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I Forge Iron


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    WV - Formerly Nome, AK

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  1. Sorry guys. Yes I did get the swage block and like it quite a bit. Wish it was a little harder, but that is to be expected from ductile iron. One made in H13 would be awesome. Here is the stand I made from scrap I had laying around. There was a mix of new and old wood, so I put on a vinegar/steel wool mix on it to age the new wood. I have found it to be quite sturdy and it has been working well for axe forging.
  2. How is it holding up? I am considering buying one or two for teaching. Not going to let anyone near my new Papa Rhino 242 anvil, but they can use my old Fisher and these.
  3. Thanks for the ideas. There will be no unattended kids. All will have a father present. We are all homesteaders and homeschoolers, so the kids are accustomed to work. Not that someone couldn't find a way to hurt themselves though. LOL! Thinking if teaching forge safety, overview of tools, how to use said tools, some basics such tapers, square/octagon/round, punching, etc. Maybe forge some S hooks, leafs, throwing spikes?
  4. Hey all. I would like to do a short series of beginner kids blacksmithing classes for the kids in my church. It has been a long time since I was a beginner, so any ideas of how to start a class of young kids and dads would be great. Basically looking for ideas of what to teach that would be appropriate for the kids. I have been teaching my 8 year old, but sometimes I try to teach him while I am working and it goes over his head. Thanks
  5. Got the swage block today. I looks nice. I did a little clean up this evening. Will post some pics tomorrow.
  6. Yes, I do not claim to be an expert or even know much about the Fisher anvils. Just mentioning that my Fisher has the date and weight on it. Not sure if they were cast in or put on with a stick welder. Mine as well as others I have seen with the date look pretty crude. Maybe the date was scratched backwards in the sand mold after the pattern was removed?
  7. Mine has the date on the anvil. It shows 1905 along with the weight of 120lbs.
  8. My anvil arrives tomorrow. I will update then. Excited to get a new anvil.
  9. No, I didn't say I wanted a reject, I was just updating the situation. He had some problems and was fixing them, and sent one of the new ones out to me, which I appreciate. Other people (cough, cough, China)would have just have sent out the rejects. Looks like I should get it Monday which I am excited about. Thanks Holland!
  10. Frosty, I will try! Btw, i heard back from Holland and they said they had a few issues with their last batch and recast more and it would go out tomorrow. Still waiting to hear what the deal is with my anvil from Morgan Jade. I have a lot of money out and want to see results though.
  11. That is a neat idea. How has it worked out so far?
  12. Well, it has been 7 days since I ordered this swage block and I have not heard anything yet. I sent a message on their site as well but have not heard back, so hoping they plan to get it out soon. Would like to get it put into service. Has anyone had experience with Holland?
  13. Pricing is an interesting thing. Prices for similar items or work are always all over the board. For the most part it depends on reputation, brand appeal, and quality. Years ago I moved into a town of about 10,000. I had worked most my life in contracting, and looked for work and jobs. No luck, it was a tight knit small town secluded from the outside world and people didn't want an outsider doing work. Up to that point while I lived in Alaska, I had gained a reputation for custom trim work and anything that took a detailed oriented person to do. Custom built in cabinets, trim, tile, panic rooms, whatever. Basically I got a lot of custom work that general contractors did not do as well as I did. After moving out of Alaska, for a short period of time, I got work as a carpenter for a ridiculously low hourly rate for my skill set, but I put in the time to start getting my name out. Then I took a side job for one of the doctors in town who had bad luck with the local contractors. I bid the job nearly 3 times higher then what locals were charging with the idea that in the past my higher prices made people feel like they are getting "better" craftsmanship. He gave me the work and was very happy with what I did for him. With their high profile friends, I began to get tons of work from lawyers, doctors, engineers, CEO's bank owners, etc, all paying 3-4 times the local rate. They knew I wasn't cheap, but that I was timely, did top notch work, and was polite and respectful. I became the "prestigious" craftsman to use that people would brag about when showing off my work in their houses. This lead to a really good situation where I could pick and choose jobs, and make more money working half as many hours as the local guys were. So all that to go back to pricing for products. Many times the same product priced higher will sell better, because there is a perception that the higher priced item is better. Sometimes it can be hard to remember this though because we think if we price it lower it will make people will buy it. However the psychology of most people tells them that less expensive is "cheap quality" and more expensive is higher quality. There is also a feeling that if you paid more for a product that there is "brand" appeal, or prestige to owning it. So they are more willing to buy it because they will be proud to own it. That last point is a big selling point. I am getting my blacksmith shop setup again. I am running my machine shop, but have wanted to start blacksmithing again. I used to make a decent side income blacksmithing many years ago. I undersold myself at that point, and do not plan on doing that this time around. I would rather sell one high priced item per week then a ton of the same lower priced items a week. Beside in this day and age with the internet you only have to cater to a faction of a percent of the population that has the money they are willing to spend. If someone does not want to pay the high price for handmade goods, then they can buy from someone else. If you start by selling low, you risk always being seen as the "cheap" brand, vs just starting out selling higher and build the brand appeal, and be seen as a high quality producer. Think Kia, it took them a long time to shed the cheap Korean tiny wheel car reputation and be taken seriously. Anyways that was a really long rant.
  14. Thanks Frosty, Glenn, & Thomas. I am not new to owning my own business, but have always just looked at equipment purchases as something needed to run my business and since I always buy in cash, I have just absorbed them into my business expenses(or as most entrepreneur do, I spend my personal money). Probably not the best way to run a business, but I cannot charge more for a product just because I bought a new piece of equipment. If I did that I would not get the business. This is in relation to my machine shop. I do add in charges for consumables, and overhead though. It is hard these days being a producer of goods because of cheap Chinese imports and every business trying to undercut the market just to get business. There are guys that have millions of dollar in CNC machines and sell parts cheaper then I can buy materials. They do this just to pay the bills and are not making profit, but it makes it hard to compete. It seems similar in blacksmithing these days. So many hobby smiths selling far under reasonable prices. Like you guys mention, they do not consider the cost to make the product. Not only materials, but consumables such as coal or propane, electricity, property or rent bills, taxes, heating cost(propane), phone bill, internet bill, website bill, selling fees for credit cards, and on and on. Anyways I appreciate the advice. I could definitely improve on how I do things. I am open to more advice by the way. Thanks.
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