Avadon

Blacksmithing/Moving to Pacific NW (Advice Needed)

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Hello all,

Sorry I haven't been on much lately. For the last month or two i've been in the process of a major move. I'm moving my entire shop to the pacific northwest. A long haul from Massachusetts, about 3200 miles to be exact. I've lived in Oregon before, Portland and Bend but I wasn't doing blacksmithing before. So I'm curious what are excellent places for blacksmiths to setup shop in either Oregon or Washington. I'm basically looking west of the cascades, from Medford going up north along I-5 off into the washington Peninsula. I'm not looking for anything in Tacoma or Seattle or north of seattle, nor eastern oregon or washington. Trying to stay more in the temporate zones.

My requirements are to do my smithing/metal fabrication at a rental house like I did previously for five years. Less expensive rental house on prefably a few acres in a country-esque location. I'm debating on if I need to be near a bigger city and/or how far away I can be an still have readily easy access to materials.

Places i'm considering are Medford, Eugene, Corvalis, Salem, Portland outskirts (west side.. like Banks/Cornelius), and the Washington Peninsula (Port Angeles, Port Townsend area).

If anyone knows any good information about these areas blacksmithing or has any good general advice about relocating an entire shop i'd love to hear it. Right now all my stuff is in an ABF storage container. 16,000lb of stuff.. mostly shop tools and machinery. I'm looking to move fairly permamently 5-10 years+ as setting up and breaking down a shop is a huge, huge, chore.

Thanks in advance for any good help.

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cool! glad to gave you coming our way!... My vote would be for just out side a "destination" like Seaside, Ocean shores Port Townsend, Long Beach.. On second thought I think I would look real hard at Astoria.... I lived in Medford/Grants Pass for a while. One of the best places I have ever been, other than the hardest to make a living.. It was tough, but a fantastic experience.... Jacksonville just outside of Medford is probably where I would recommend if you went that far south..

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I'm southwest of Grants Pass, out of a little town called Cave Junction. Making a living? Whats that? :rolleyes:
I've been doing FS and BLM contracts for the last 22 years, logwork, and my shop are more of a side thing, I usually go a ways to make money.
Nice thing about this location is being able to be on the coast in an hour, or into Grants Pass/Medford in reasonable time.
Have you given Roseburg a once over? Nice area, comfortable climate.

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You could consider a little farther west and north, there's a couple parcels just up the road from me. 15 acres on out property line and 20 acres another 500' farther up.

Finding materials is generally a matter of picking up a phone though salvage is tougher to come by now all the wrecking yards are single buyer contracts to China.:blink: Coal can be had, I'll take you to the old mine and show you the good seams OR just help you make a propane forge, no sweat either way.

If you're concerned by winter temps, we have thick clothes that take care of it handily, same with home insulation and heaters. We have GOOD heaters. On the other side, out summers are generally really nice, it's in the mid 60's right now and NOT raining. Living on the Olympic Peninsula means living in a RAIN FOREST. I think excessive wet has caused Grant to mold some so think it through carefully.

Oh yeah, look at the national weather map and note how many places are at or over 100f today. Not ONE of those places is in Alaska. Sure, it's in the mid 70's in the interior, Fairbanks being the big city there but interior AK has some pretty common mid to high 80's in the summer. Let's forget about discussing the interior in winter . . . Okay?:huh:

Frosty the Lucky.

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Let's forget about discussing the interior in winter . . . Okay?


Ya that was quite a shock to me. An old Florida boy to come to central Alaska just before winter. I think my favorite night was the one that was - 40 f and we ran out of fuel oil. Ahh the memories. All kidding aside. Alaska is a great place to live and I'm glad I'm here. I lived in Seattle early in my life and loved it there. Another great place to live too. You won't go wrong anywhere in these areas. Good luck with the move and have fun.

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I am in Albany, about ten miles from Corvallis. Corvallis is a nice white collar town that supports the arts. prices for homes are high and taxes in benton county are high. Steel supply in this area comes from salem or eugene.

Corvallis has a nice climate and is a pretty area.

I prefer small towns and rural areas myself, but if you want to make the money... I would settle near a larger city. supplies are easier to get, customers with money are present etc.

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Think maybe Frosty painted a reaally nicepicture of his area and I would sure like to visit there someday. It almost seems as if the only folks in that area are the nice ones. But I do notice that there was no mention of bugs,,,like the ones the size of small airliners that in picture appear to be a mutnt cousin of wot we would know here as a mosquito.!

Nice to see your posts again here Frosty!

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Aw come on Rich, just because mosquitos here have to have tail numbers and running/landing lights doesn't mean they're a vexation. Seriously, you only need #6 shot in your 12 ga. to kill one. I mean really, it's not like there're blood sucking lawyers or politicians buzzing around everywhere you know.

Frosty the Lucky.

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I'm in SW Wa about 20mi SW of Mt St Helens. It's a great area and very rural where folk mind their own business and my power hammer is nothing compared to the gun-fire that goes off up here all hours of the day! - The biz I do isn't really location specific as it's smaller scale, interior decoration accent items that I sell online and ship worldwide via USPS.

If you're running with the Gates & Railings crowd or larger architectural work, being closer to a larger metro area may suit you better - just remember though, the PacNW is well populated with artist blacksmiths who are very accomplished and established that you'll be competing with. That's just normal biz but it might be a consideration.

Larry gave you some great locations to check out! The nice thing is, except for being wet (this year was a record setter), the Western half of Wa & Or are all temperate weather-wise and we rarely have extremes. If you've lived here before, you know the drill but we've moved away from the warmer/dry cycle of the 80's- 90's and back into the cooler/wet cycle that we had in the 60's - 70's.

No matter where you settle Avadon - Welcome!

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I'm in Eugene area. Lots of iron smackers here.A few,like David Thompson,even make a living. Anyway-feel free to stop by and say hi. I'd be glad to introduce you around. Eric Sprado

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After I found the weather climates I wanted the most I would definatley try to be close to a good source of coal.Scrap yards are nearly everywhere but steele suppliers aren't.If I planned my living on blacksmithing I wouldn't want to be too close to alot of artist blacksmiths either.Wish I had the option of moving you have.Good Luck! B)

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Thanks for the excellent replies all. Seems like many of my hunches were confirmed. In about 10 days or so i'm going to make a drive from Bend, Oregon up over the cascades to medford. From there check out eugene, salem, Western outskirts of portland, and the WA peninsula. I have about two weeks to do this in so I should be able to see a few places.

I'm sure alaska is absolutely beautiful and land is cheap up there. I am however highly allergic to negative temperatures. :P Even though most here would mortgage their homes to see frosty's setup and watch him work, Alaska is just to far and cold. So far i've only lived in Hillsboro Oregon for a few years and in central oregon. Central oregon Bend and Crooked River Ranch/Terrebonne is about the coldest area I am entertaining. I prefer west of the cascades for health reasons (circulation issues). What chyancarrek said was very interesting to me. Can you tell me more about that area SW of St. Helens? I have a very similar setup. I sell tools online and ship worldwide through usps so trying to find work local would only be for supplemental income. I love guns (yah I know that's strange for a liberal lol) so being close to a shooting range would only be a benefit. Of course Washington has more restrictive gun laws. I don't really need to be in or near a community of local blacksmiths even though it would be nice. I wouldn't be competing with them locally.

So far I have actually seen some places in a low price range that were either stick built or manufactured homes. They were really nice roughly modern homes on Crooked River Ranch (north of Redmond/Central Oregon)

They were...
2,3, and 4 bedroom houses
1-5 acre properties
2 Car garages
(some with an exterior barn/shop)

They ranged in prices from about $70-$150,000. Even though i'm not really looking to buy right now I can infer that rentals would be $700-$1000 range which is more in my budget rather then try to find $1000.00 plus which is going to kill me once I start stacking utilities and business expenses on that.

Now if anyone knows of places like this west of the cascades from grants pass, OR all the way up to port towsend WA i'd love to hear about that!! Also if anyone has experience with Port Angeles and Port Townsend i'd love to hear it. It looks dry on the weather map (averages) but i've heard there is fog/mist? And as frosty said I wonder about mold.

Also what makes Astoria pretty good?

I don't need access to coal, but being somewhat near (30-45 mins) to a steel supplier would be good. Also I can't be to far from some sort of gas supplier. I need propane for my forges and for welding/heating. (Argon, Oxy, Acet, Propane)

The Ideal would be... (and i'm dreaming here :P )
5 Acres
2 or 3 or 4 bedroom (stick built or manufactured)
1.5-2 bath
2 Car Garage
within 30-45 mins of a city (even if it's a small 30-100,000 population city)
less than 45 mins to a steel and gas supplier.

And rent that is $700-$1100 range

My last shop in cape cod, MA was only a little bit bigger than a single car garage and I did an amazing amount of work there. From forging, to welding, to grinding and heating. These pictures are after I painted and was leaving. New tennants never knew there was a small industrial factory in their basement. 10 days of painting and cleaning removed all traces. ;)

Thanks for the help. Keep any good ideas coming :)

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post-4647-046340000 1278138437_thumb.jpg

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Just my 2 cents here concerning Bend. the recent downturn has hit Bend really hard. This allows for very cheap housing, but I can't see there being nearly as much of a market. My family owns some propert there that was passed down to us, It's been very hard to rent it out just to cover expenses lately.

Best of Luck,

Blue

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Hey Avadon,

My neck of the woods in SW Wa (Google Amboy Wa) is pretty nice but it's an area that's been traditionally "depressed" economically. In the late 80's & 90's the city folk discovered you could build over-priced luxury homes and still only be an hour commute from Portland. With the recent economy a lot of those folks are struggling to make ends meet and are renting out houses they can no longer afford.

There's lots of 5 acre parcels up here with Mfg housing and shop buildings for sale and some rentals - rent is running in your price range.

The weather downside is that it's wetter up here than down in PDX. North Clark County is in a wet band that exists because Mt St Helens and Mount Adams draw in the moisture from our Southern dominant weather patterns so while it doesn't rain more often, it usually rains heavier and we get a lot more snow events than PDX especially if you're above 500' in elevation.

Retail resources are located about 20 minutes to the South or West (Battleground Wa & Woodland Wa respectively) but there's a grocery, post office, auto parts and hardware store in the small town of Amboy. Portland is about an hour to the South.

As I said in my earlier post, most folks up here like to mind their own business. It's a beautiful area with all of the wooded grandeur associated with the PacNW. If you'd like more info, send me a PM with any Q's you have and I'll do my best to answer them!

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Boy, I don't know-Frosty's idea sounds best. I was going to move to AK a while back and my wife says "Sounds great-I'll come visit you once or twice a year." Being as I actually like my wife, you know what happened next. Alaska is like a disease-you either get it or you don't. I got it.
Mark

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If you don't mind looking at other areas you may find that you can buy in your price range. My friend is looking at buying 40 acres in Utah for around $25,000. The elevation there is higher, so temps are cooler than here.

Other than the 3 summer months, the Southwest is a great place to be. Rust, rain, snow? What's that? Where I am we average 4.5" of rain a year with 3" of that over the summer monsoon season. Weather report will be something like this- Today it will be 105, and chance of thunderstorms, watch for flash floods. Remember to turn around, don't drown. It will still be in the 80's up until Thanksgiving. The average number of sunny days are around 350. Real estate has taken a big dive, and there are bargains out there. I am in a semi rural area with a population of 7,200, or so. 50 miles from Vegas with all of its suppliers, and other amenities. Gun laws are open,and all class 3 weaponry is allowed. I have friends who own artillery pieces, mortars, MG's, subguns, SBR's, SBS's, and suppressed items. Utah,and Arizona are also gun friendly B)

Reno will get you cooler temps/snow, and will also place you within range of Tahoe, 1.5 hours of Sacramento, and 3-4 hours of Napa, and the Bay Area of CA. Why would you want to be close to there? That is where the $$$$ is, and they are fun places to visit. You notice I mentioned visit, not live there. Don't get me wrong, California is a wonderful state that has a lot to offer, and has many great people living there. As far as I am concerned though the politicians have screwed it up, and I bailed out in 2005 after living there almost 40 years. Reno also has supplies, as it is a hub zone for a lot of companies. If they don't have what you need you can find it in Sacramento.

As for moving your shop. At 16,000# you don't have nearly as much as I do. My big lathe is 7,000# by itself. The machinery is easy to move,fork it onto the trailer, and chain it down. It is the small stuff that takes time to pack, protect, and get ready. I would say have everything palletized, so a forklift, and pallet jacks can be used. See if you have a plastics company around. We get heavy duty gaylords, used by a plastics manufacturer, from our scrap yard to put our chips into. They are quadruple wall cardboard, and will literally hold a ton. Fill'm,fork'm, and strap'm. If you use a flat bed trailer, wrap machinery with stretch wrap then tape it. This will contain any small bits that may work loose during the trip.

Good luck in your search.

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It seems to me that if you are planning to stay in your new spot for at least 10 years why do you not want to buy? If you find rent that is $1000 mo. for 10 years that is $120,000 to pay your landlords house payment and if house prices are really $75,000 to $150,000 seems like something to consider, When you move you sell and recover most if not all of your money. Good luck however you decide to to it.
Rob

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That is certainly something to consider Rob. Maybe I can find something with a small down payment. I really don't plan on moving anytime soon.

@ BIGGUNDOCTOR .. now talking about guns.. that's just hitting below the belt. lol Yes I am torn between my love of guns and my desire to live in the pacific nw. Can you really own sub-machine guns? Don't they have to be pre-1970's or something? You can't just order up an MP5 in Nevada can you? :D I thought you had to have a 16" or longer barrel?

It cost about $6,000 to get that 16,000lb of stuff from mass back to the west coast. Yikes! It filled a pup-type trailer which is like 2/3's the size of a full semi-trailer. I did use a bobcat to forklift it up in there. Really was helpful. For only about $350.00 it saved the day. You gotta be really careful with the bobcat though and lifting heavy stuff. It's mandatory to keep people away from the load.

Eugene and Medford I haven't totally ruled out. Can anyone tell me of places around either where there are ~5 acre homes? It's hard to get to there and figure out where the good outer areas of these smaller cities are.

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When it comes to purchasing class 3 weapons, it is a lot different than standard firearms.

1st category is fully transferable. These can be purchased by anyone in a state that allows them. There is a full FBI background check, and a $200 tax stamp that is charged by the BATFE. All of theses guns will be pre-May 1986 manufacture, as that is when the ban on manufacture, and importation of MG's for civilian sales went into effect.These are the most expensive; $3,000 for a MAC10, $15,000 for an AK47, $30,000 for a Thompson, and waaaay up for the more exotic items like a GE Minigun of which there are only 12 fully transferable. If you have to ask you can't afford it. Lets just say in some parts of the country you could buy a very nice house for the same money B)

2nd category is pre 86 DEALER sample. For these you need a letter from a police, or other gov't agency requesting a demo of that weapon. You need to be a class 3 dealer to get these. You do the demo, and you can keep the firearm if you give up your license at a later date. These can only be transfered through dealers.These are not quite as high $$$ as the fully transferables due to the limited market.

3rd category is Dealer samples. These can be new manufactured, and when you give up your license you have to destroy, or sell the gun to another dealer. Lowest cost per firearm due to very low secondary market. We bought new from the Zastava factory in Yugoslavia AK47's for $150 each.

Short barreled shotguns/rifles, destructive devices,suppressors, etc have the same $200 tax stamp. AOW's (any other weapon) such as the Serbu Super Shorty 12ga, pen guns, cane guns, etc have a $5 transfer fee.

I hear machine guns being shot in my little valley from time to time. Less now that ammo prices have jumped - 7.62x39 is no longer $60 a 1,000 :( A GE minigun will digest 308 at a rate of 3,000-4,000 a minute depending on the motor speed that is set. M2HB.50 cal 550 a min. M3.50 cal 1100 a minute. You get the idea, some of these are very expensive to keep fed.

Washington had some screwy gun laws, so check to see if anything you have may be considered illegal. IIRC just having the full auto parts (auto sear, etc) from a parts set is illegal.

Well I hope that wasn't too long winded for ya.

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Boy, I don't know-Frosty's idea sounds best. I was going to move to AK a while back and my wife says "Sounds great-I'll come visit you once or twice a year." Being as I actually like my wife, you know what happened next. Alaska is like a disease-you either get it or you don't. I got it.
Mark


No sweat, I like a guy who's willing to make a sacrifice or two to keep the wife. I know I'm pretty attached to mine.

Don't worry Mark, women change their minds and Alaska'll be here.

Frosty the Lucky.

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"Eugene and Medford I haven't totally ruled out. Can anyone tell me of places around either where there are ~5 acre homes? It's hard to get to there and figure out where the good outer areas of these smaller cities are"

Hi Avadon
I live in Central Point Or. a couple of miles north of Medford.
There are lots of forclousures here. The area grew rapidliy with the housing boom and is suffering greatly now much like Bend Or.

Steel supply here is good Large wholsale supplier in medford another one in White City and used steel nearby at .50 cents a pound , good selection. This is an aluminum boat building hub so lots Al. alvailable.

I live ona rual road with properties ranginging from 180 acres to small lots I think on the 2 mile long road that I'm on therare 3 or 4 forclousures.

Adjacent to me a frame house with 11/2 acres the guy just walked away a month ago. I'm going to guess value at 100- 150k. Across the street from me a 17 acre flat irrigated property with barn sales building and other buildings sold for around 300K about 6 mo. ago

On the other hand about a mi. down the road 40 acres with small house old barn irrigated subdividable 800K( this a very unrealistic price, I know the realtor that listed this property) You'll find a lot of that around here, people just can't accept the devaluation of their property.

Bottom line lots of property here at cheap prices but don't go by what you see in the realestate listings.

In general Ashland Talent Jacksonville areas are expensive.

Google "Rouge Valley"

Hope this helps
Mark Behnke

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Hello Mark
I just moved to Central Point, is there a group of blacksmiths around here? I haven't really unpacked yet, still in chaos. I am renting presently, looking to buy.
Yes, not many have accepted the devaluation of real estate around here, but there was a three million dollar price reduction on a 60 acre equestrian ranch in Ashland.
Now it's only 3 mil.

I went through a property management corporation to find this house, as much as I hated to do it, it was one way to be sure the property was inhabitable.
They want a nominal fee, credit ,and a back ground check that only covers Oregon.
That could be an option once an area has been decided on Avadon. Only a suggestion.

Happy Steppin'
Kenny O'Loughlin

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Hi Kenny
Welcome to the valley.
Not much going on here far as organizations or hammer-ins.

mikehr active here on the forum here lives in Klamath Falls, he's an ABANA instructor and full time smith. Mike is aware of most activities in the Northern Cal.and oregon area. He might see this and reply.

There are smiths in the area but I've only connected with Mike.

If I can be of help in anyway just email or Pm, maybe we could get together after you get settled.
Mark

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Places i'm considering ... Portland outskirts (west side.. like Banks/Cornelius),


I mean really, it's not like there're blood sucking lawyers or politicians buzzing around everywhere you know.

The politicians and county officials in Washington County Oregon could give Count Dracula lessons.

I suggest Columbia county instead. Many places in or near St.Helens or Warren or Scappose are close enough to Portland's NW industrial district for buying steel or other supplies. Land use rules are far less restrictive than in Washington county. And you can legally buy locally made suppressors for your full-auto .50 cal.

Check "Craigslist" for rental properties in the area.

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Hi Kenny
Welcome to the valley.
Not much going on here far as organizations or hammer-ins.

mikehr active here on the forum here lives in Klamath Falls, he's an ABANA instructor and full time smith. Mike is aware of most activities in the Northern Cal.and oregon area. He might see this and reply.

There are smiths in the area but I've only connected with Mike.

If I can be of help in anyway just email or Pm, maybe we could get together after you get settled.
Mark


Thanks Mark
I will take you up on your offer when I get settled in
KO

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