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I Forge Iron

IronPuppet from Saskatchewan


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Greetings, fellow smithees. I happened upon this site by accident. A happy accident, I might say. You see, I have more than just a few hobbies and sometimes they overlap. One of the things I like to do is carve wood. I seem to gain the most satisfaction when I carve wood with tools I've made myself.

When I was a lad I spent my summers in Barkerville Historic Park, a goldrush mining town of the 1860's in the center of British Columbia, Canada. One of the things that has been restored in that town is a blacksmith shop. It was run at the time by an old fellow named George who had a thick, almost indecipherable, German accent. George was quite the metalsmith and would make fantastic things out of steel to exhibit his prowess. I remember once he made an iron mushroom with a wrought iron butterfly perched on it. I used to hang around and help when I could and he was kind enough to tell me a thing or two about being a blacksmith and tricks of the trade. And that is where I cut my teeth.

Things being what they are, I grew older, other interests took my attention until I was in my mid 20's. I built a forge at my friend's shop and made some tools. My friend used to work on Model Ts and Model A Fords. Some of the steering parts need to be worked in a forge to align them properly and we used my forge for that. I also had a go at casting aluminum parts with the lost wax casting method, which turned out to be a disaster due to my lack of experience with this technique.

So recently, about 20 years on, I've taken up wood carving again and I am about to set up my forge again, too. I'm going to have a go at making my own carving tools, like "U" gouges and "V" gouges and fishtail gouges. I am also going to have a go at making some small hand adz (sp.). I'm still gathering parts for my forge. I got a big old truck rim I'm going to use for the hearth. I have an anvil but it isn't very big. It should be big enough for what I'm going to do, though. And, of course, an assortment of hammers and things. Last summer, I got a good job and was able to acquire a mig welder and a set of torches and a cutoff saw so I have my steel working tools back after a long absence from my life. I know I could probably buy these tools for cheap. A dandy fishtail gouge from Lee Valley Hardware is only about $15 but where's the challenge in that? I also plan to make some gardening tools for another one of my passions.

So here I am eager to learn. Please fill my head with knowledge and grant me the gift of technique and I will be forever grateful.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher, a.k.a. The Iron Puppet

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This site has a bunch of projects called blueprints. Start with BP0300, then read them all. Build the things you feel you can accomplish. Read them a second time and the projects you once thought were too difficult will now seem simple. The rest of the site is like a treasure hunt, you can find pearls of wisdom scattered everywhere.

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