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I Forge Iron



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My nickname is ZIG. I've been a union Boilermaker for approximately 25 years, which I also am a certified, heavy industry Blacksmith. I come from a long line of Blacksmiths.
Having a great - great grandaddy as a blacksmith, 2 great grandaddys as working Smiths, all their lives. 4 great uncles and 3 cousins too. Plus the main, most loved man I've ever known, my grandaddy, who raised me as a son, was also a journeyman blacksmith. For over forty Years.
That all being said outta respect and admiration for the greatest man I've ever known. I have had returned To me the very anvil, thongs,and hammers that one. side of my family had used To create a living in this new world. Starting prior to 1845. Straight from Ireland, they chose Tennessee as a place to raise their families. Have purchased post drills, dated 1878, a green river #2 was also returned to me. All this in the last few years.
Knowing I have pictured of my great grandaddy holding the very 3 lb hammer I own today and the anvil he bought in 1906, when he began his family. I'm a fifth generation Smith, having worked primarily in large steamplants, I was still taught by my grand daddy' on the same power hammers, anvil at work. Now for the last ten years I have been in charge of the boilershop and watched the craft slip away, due To off sight work being done.
I know I've circled the world To say: that I am very proud to come from such a long line of some amazing smiths. I Am humbled by the tools they made in the mid 1800s and even thru today I either own many items They.made or use the actual Jack hammer bits or jigs. My G-daddy had made.
I have recently gotten my sons involved and they see the heritage and sense of pride I.have taken to this craft in honor of them and to hopefully keep.the craft alive in this area And in my heart.
Sense retaining so many.family heirlomes and built my.own shop. I have been working on pieced the boys can enjoy. Before I.used the equipment in the shop.at work. But after a on the Jon injury, which has left me homebound and not being able to return to work. I am lucky enough to continue this craft.at home. Within reach.of my.sons eyes.
I have had a tough road due to my.injury. but can't just sit here and miss this opportunity to stay active and productive too.
I apologize for the lenght of this post, but its late at night and I'm.enjoying This site so much. I.wanted to.say how happy I.am to have such a resource available to me.
I'm unable to do alot of things for very.long but yalls help and resolve has helped me want it more than ever again. All my family smittys have gone now and I pray.I'm half the man my.ancestors were. That my sons will respect me. Even half ad much. With yalls help and tricks, I can get back to the basics, away from.the huge pieces of equipment that I.had at work. To.more smaller jobs and greater skill levels too. I've learned so much by reading and pictures.
Y'all are the best. I.hope you will understand. Even though I.have been in the.and served my apprenticeship program years ago. I feel close to my grandfathers by having to make my tools,forge my.own stuff. I want be doing any wheel.work. but I just feel everything happens for a reason. And although I wish.I.could return to work again. That
After laying on my back since 2007, that I have I'm the last year gotten my shop equipment built up.to.a level I.can not hurt myself yet allow the forge to keep me outta that dark spot I was in not.long ago.
We've been making knives outta RRspikes, which They enjoy.
.I.just wanted to say THANK YALL for keep.this site so inspiring to me. And for allowing me to brag about my grandfathers. I took his hammer and struck the anvil. Which was first time those two items Had hit against each other since 1935. I about cried. It'd been that long. What a moment and to have my sons with me was oh so special
I Appreciate all your time and hard work. I've been on here For a while. But lost my info. So had to renter a new name,
..I thank you all for your help. And I'll soon get more operational in my shop. Having to.fix it to accommodate myself. But although slow, I still have, hopefully, alot to add to this site.
May God bless you all and thank you to all the veterans. For your service and sacrifice.
Sorry if this was hard to read.

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More: I live on the Tennessee river on the west side in Tennessee. I've made alot of equipment for logging teams and lately gotten more into crossed,wall hanging iron pieces. And have helped with the scout troop in the area.
I will Never return to my normal job, but can't not work with metal. Y'all have given me so many ideas. Although many days I'm unable to hardly stand, this craft. That I love. Has been a godsend. I thought my days of forgring iron were over. But as soon as I can complete my tire hammer. I can get alot more done. Without the ill effects that lay me up for days by just using a hammer and anvil.
So forgive me in advance for the many questions I'll ask. I always did my jobs at work mostly and finished at home. But having lost access to that equipment at work now, I must get my shop better established here.
Wish I knew I was going to get hurt so. I could've made more tooling,dies at work. But figure thirty yalls post and help. I will be a better blacksmith for It and feel closer to my ancestors. As They made a lifetime outta It. Without the benefit of a massive power hammer or machine shop.
Hopefully I can con a few of my old crew into making me a few dies or some good material that gets thrown away regularly there.
Again. Thank you for allowing me here and look forward everyday to seeing yalls work or designs.
Have a blessed week and hope to contribute in someway soon.
God bless you and yours.

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Howdy from East TEXAS!! and welsome to IFI! Enjoy very much this post about your family and think it's great that you have so many of their origianl tools!

I have a brother in Halls, TN that is trying to get his smitty set up. His day job is teaching welding and drafting at a high school in Dyrsburg(sp?), TN.

There are a few groups in your area that usually meet once a month. Check out this site for one nearest you. http:/www.abana.org I'm sure they would love to have you join them. Again, welcome.

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You might recall that a lot of european smiths *sit* when they use the powerhammer; I've seen one with a nice bosun's chair that he could swing from forge to hammer.

Part of the creativity of smithing can be to find out how to do some when we are no longer "stock" but are getting into the heavily modified if not "funny car" categories---I was just asking the company rep for a new insulin pump my Doc thinks I should go to how it would hold up to work in a blacksmith's shop----stumped them with that one!

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Thanks for the support. It is really the greatest thing To use the very tools they used and I have a dozen tongs, alot of farm equipment, ice tongs, and have had people down here that were amazed it remained in the family since 1870's.
I have had so many lifelong blacksmiths in my family its amazing. I'm actually a 5th generation Smith. But Just in the last Years have started do actually forge work at home. At work it was extreme heavy industry stuff. Different work but still alot of experience to be had. Downside is. I don't have all the equipment like the govt run plant does.
But therein lies the challenge. Little old school and some new thorwn off in there. I enjoy making gyidts for people and do welding jobs For folks. But not for money. I Just feel closer to my grandaddy, that I was raised by, by using his tools and even his daddy's and grandaddys tools. I still remember him speaking of working with his daddy and uncles in there shop and he also married a blacksmiths daugther who's brothers were blacksmith too. So pushing 10 or more lifelong smiths in the immediate family.
Now I'm the only one left. Wish I Had him here to help me. But I feel his spirit daily. I know he would be so proud. I remember the day I completed my Apprenticship how excited he was. Although he'd retired ten years prior. He was and always will be my inspiration.
With yalls help and guidance. I know I can bring back alot of the old world statics that were lost. I thank y'all for you help in advance. I enjoy your post and pictures. So tickled y'all picked up on how proud I am to come from such a long line of smiths. And with 25 years worth of experience as a Boilermaker/blacksmith. I hope to instill many of the same trade secrets to my sons. So we can have worked this same anvil and tongs in 3 diffferent centuries. That would be a great testament to the great men that made me who I am today.
Thanks for your support and kind words. Truely awesome bunch on here. Hope to add to it.

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