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First project?

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I have recently begun volunteering at a local living history museum. I have a loose apprenticeship going on with the village smiths. I was wondering what would be a good beginner project to work on. I was thinking of making a pair of tongs, but I was not sure how difficult they are to make. I have some basic experience at this point. I have plenty of metal working experience, but it has always been with welders and torches. I have been making hooks, practicing drawing out, and twisting. This week we experimented with tempering and forge welding. The forge welding was :cool: ! I would be glad to hear any suggestions. I am trying to get enough experience to someday make froes, broadaxes, and even chisels/slicks to use for work, someday;) . We usually make hooks as a quick demo, but we also have larger projects going on as well. Thanks.

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Pokers are a good project as many people want one. Helps you practice your forge (fagot) welding.

BP0071 Poker 01 - Beacher Alan (Possum)
BP0084 Poker 02 - Cheryl McDowell, aka Baby Anvil

The dinner bell will help you with scrolls.
BP0085 Heart Bell - Cheryl McDowell, aka Baby Anvil

The Blueprints are a great resource that cover a wide range of blacksmithing skills.
BP0166 Hammer Stand, BP0291 Square Helper and BP0237 Toys may be a place to use your welding skills to help with your blacksmithing.

BP0295 Nail in Hook is just a new twist on the hooks you already make.

Go to the opening page of IForgeIron.com and click on the yellow Blueprints button on the left side of the page to find these and some 300+ more Blueprints.

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Good suggestions so far but don't be frightened by the tongs. They're not so hard if you concentrate. You do realise if they are seperated and laid next to each other you will mostly have two identical pieces of steel.

I know a lot of beginners who shy away from tongs because they can't handle the apparently mirrored parts...which of corse they are not except in special circumstances.

At a demonstration, where your masters are probably doing most of the entertaining, it's great to have someone in the background having a go at something new, like tongs. The interaction between the learner and the smith often gets a bit more out of the crowd as well and everybody wins.

What ever you do have fun

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I agree with Strine, spectators allways seem to identify as well with an apprentice more then with a master as they think you know as much about smithing(HORSESHOES!?) as they do.:cool: though on the little apprenticechip action, sounds like the master is a cool guy willing to teach you some cool stuff.

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Thanks for the ideas. I will probably try the tongs soon. There are a ton of very large tongs in the shop, but no smaller sets. The smiths usually bring their own tools, so I need tongs, I have a ton of hammers at this point. All of the smiths that volunteer at the village are retired, most of them from engineering backgrounds. They are very happy that I am taking an interest in blacksmithing as I am 29 and will be another generation involved in the craft.

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