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renaissance fare blacksmith coop


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well ime now going to run a coop for the local renaissance fare ..going to be interesting if you know anyone in arizona that is interested in selling quality FORGED ironwork ime the one to contact . ime still setting up things and any ideas you have ide be interested ... (picture is of previous blacksmith who passed away last oct)

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Great! Will you be upgrading the shop to a more renaissance one? I'd be happy to suggest documentation on what it should look like!

will be changeing it slowly.. first things for safety and for ease of use. but was approved for eventually setting up a true trip hammer ... probably run on electric but not visable ... saw one where the arm and head stuck thru the wall ...of course the bellows will stay the same .
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Actually it's that anvil that I found most glaring. Perhaps a sawmaker's anvil or even make a renaissance style anvil (though some european anvils are quite close to some renaissance styles.)

How about a side draft forge too?

A renaissance tilt hammer would be muy spiff indeed! "De Re Metallica" has some good examples of similar technologies and "Venus at the forge of Vulcan" painting(s) has some spot on examples shown. Moxon's "Mechanics Exercises" was mainly written in the second half of the 1600's and published in 1703 and has a section including instructions for setting up a complete smithy of that period. (beware that many reprints only have the section on printing and not the complete work!)

For real bragging rights you could set up the tilt hammer to actually be water driven and have the motor run a pump! Probably too expensive but it would be a great crowd draw---if you could keep the kiddies out of the water!

A double lunged bellows is quite appropriate coming into blacksmithing usage during the renaissance from the goldsmith's field. They can be a bit picky about setting up. Mine I could pump to welding temps with my pinky. A friend working at a historical site had to use one that took excessive force to use---he pretty well ruined his shoulder using it for 10 years.

I'm usually in the area in February for the SCA's Estrella War, I bring a Y1K forge to the Period Demo center, (two single action bellows, a clay and rock side blown forge and medieval stake anvil(s)). I often visit a smith in Apache Junction that I've alerted to your request for hand forged items for sale.

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I believe i met you at estrella this year ... i had my forge there and didnt do so well ... the windstorm broke a couple of my tent poles and kinda killed sales ..as far as the anvil if i can find something i can afford at the time i can afford it(not usually the case) i will upgrade it . mostly i figure to set it up to work better things like a tongs rack and a better post vice ...maybee some practice pieces hanging on the walls ... we will see how it all works out ..

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Eric, glad to see you are stepping in to fill Jim's place. I'm sorry to hear he passed on, heckuva nice guy and good smith, I'll stop by the Museum this weekend and if you're forging we can talk about what you might be able to sell at Rennfaire.

Ellen

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Hi Guys and Gals,
re workshop and "happy to suggest documentation on what it should look like";
A question (for Thomas especially), could anyone give us a run down on the earliest benches you have seen. I'm keen to make a robust portable workbench just small enough to fit in a 6 ft box trailer. The earlier the better (grotty dark ages/ late R. empire).
Particularly need to know styles of construction and accessories like carpenters' type leg vice, like in this web site- http://www.rm-workbenches.co.uk/

tnks!
AndrewOC

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...could anyone give us a run down on the earliest benches you have seen. I'm keen to make a robust portable workbench just small enough to fit in a 6 ft box trailer. The earlier the better (grotty dark ages/ late R. empire).
Particularly need to know styles of construction and accessories like carpenters' type leg vice, like in this web site- http://www.rm-workbenches.co.uk/AndrewOC


Andrew, I apologize, I am confused. It would likely help if you clarified what you are trying to do. Are you doing carpentry or blacksmithing? What are you using the bench for? If you are going to do blacksmithing are you making a wooden portable forge with bellows? If you are doing woodworking are you going to primarily using a Shaving Horse? I can see a "carpenters type leg vise" being useful for carpentry, but limited use for blacksmithing. I can see a small 2' by 2' wooden bench somewhat useful for blacksmithing, but I am not sure what you would be using a full-sized woodworkers bench for at living history blacksmithing stuff. If you are doing living history blacksmithing events you might wish to be careful to only take stuff that you will need, and a woodworking bench would likely have very limited use to a smith at a living history event.

Also "robust" and "portable" workbench might be contradictory terms. Plus wood benches tend to be very very heavy especially if you making them "robust" and not shaky. You are a bit far away from here to see and try to lift one of the wooden workbenches that my father-in-law made, I had to take them apart to move them from his shop to mine.

For portable workbenches I built chest/workbenches inspired by West Virginia carpenter's benches shown in a book by "Fine Home-building Magazine". The picture on the right shows them sitting on one of my father-in-laws woodworking benches.

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well ime now going to run a coop for the local renaissance fare ..going to be interesting if you know anyone in arizona that is interested in selling quality FORGED ironwork ime the one to contact . ime still setting up things and any ideas you have ide be interested ... (picture is of previous blacksmith who passed away last oct)



Hey Eric,

Nice to see a posting here. There really is a lot to consider for being part of the Faire, both for fun and profit....and the more profit, the more fun.

I'd definitely tackle the 'shopping' design and inventory before I'd worry about making much shop adjustments. We had quite a bit of unused display space (mostly in the back room), but in general, it's kind of a challenge to "showcase" such a diversity of ironwork that we had.

I would underscore the importance of *quality* ironwork...but I think people at the Ren Faire are expecting the work to be thematically congruent to Renaissance or "medieval" as well. But the faire owners seem to have given a wide berth for anachronistic stuff.

Can't say I have answers, just plenty of questions.
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Hey Eric,

Nice to see a posting here. There really is a lot to consider for being part of the Faire, both for fun and profit....and the more profit, the more fun.

I'd definitely tackle the 'shopping' design and inventory before I'd worry about making much shop adjustments. We had quite a bit of unused display space (mostly in the back room), but in general, it's kind of a challenge to "showcase" such a diversity of ironwork that we had.

I would underscore the importance of *quality* ironwork...but I think people at the Ren Faire are expecting the work to be thematically congruent to Renaissance or "medieval" as well. But the faire owners seem to have given a wide berth for anachronistic stuff.

Can't say I have answers, just plenty of questions.

yes quality is important ! but more than that it needs to be forged! the renaissance part is important but not as important as being able to sell...I have been looking for other smiths work done at renaissance fares and have not seen much so far...from what ive been able to find most are eather making simple stuff or are strictly blades ..or bolth...still looking for items to make that will fit. as far as the back room it might end up blocked off ... depends on who we get to sell items and how much iron work we have...
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Portable benches: fairly heavy trestle tables can be built that break down for travel and don't take up much space. They do require being made of good wood to give strength with less weight. I'll hit the books and see what I can find depicted---which of course usually translates as high to late medieval going into renaissance as the earlier stuff is not generally shown. I'll check "Cathedral Forge and Waterwheel" as it has a number of blacksmithing illustrations in it.

The Hausbuchs generally have several benches in them for different crafts. If you do want woodworker's bench you are a lucky dog as St Joseph was a carpenter and so a lot of depictions of the holy family show his workshop (as if it was current to the time of the picture!) If only he had been a smith!

Goods: You do need to focus on Sales---it's the nature of the business. Also there can't be too much high end stuff as it doesn't move as fast and generally takes up more room. However I would suggest that your both have an alcove where high end stuff is displayed: candelabra, table and floor standing, perhaps one of the documented iron cirule chairs. if you can partner with a woodworker a spiff chest with iron ornamentation. This might be behind the regular display area but still visible---maybe the "office" for the sales area. It will give a more period "look" and still be a sales display as well as a work space.

Also try to have all the shop fittings forged and "appropriate" Lights, hooks, racks and make sure ALL of them have a price tag on them! Sneak in the good stuff even if most of it is "fast food forging".

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Hey Eric,

The fella in your OP, is that Jim Marson?

I swung hammer with him for a number of years at Powerland in Brooks Or. He was a great guy and a bunch of fun to be around. All the boys at the Steam-up were really sad to hear of his passing last year.

Good luck with the Ren/Fair!

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Hey Eric,

The fella in your OP, is that Jim Marson?

I swung hammer with him for a number of years at Powerland in Brooks Or. He was a great guy and a bunch of fun to be around. All the boys at the Steam-up were really sad to hear of his passing last year.

Good luck with the Ren/Fair!

ya Jim will be missed ... i did get too know him before passed but not for long ... did one year at the fair with him ...
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I'm taking a forge to an SCA event the end of this month. Unfortunately out here the fire restrictions start at draconian and get *worse*. Only forge allowed is propane (or induction and no electricity on site).

When I am "allowed" I've been bringing a two single action bellows, side blown forge made of stone and mud fueled by chunk charcoal forge. Big problem is that it requires a bellows thrall to work efficiently. I also have a period appropriate anvil and I even have some tongs I can document to pre-1000 CE.

I'm looking at an event over 4th of July weekend where me and a lady who cooks medievally have been the *only* "open fire" uses allowed out of several thousand folks camping there! Long way to travel, but with folks *wanting* you and the forge it's hard to say no.

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you wouldnt think so ... ive made 3 different portable forges over the years and every one has gotten better.. but the basic idea isnt that difficult but it does take planning and time ....


In case anyone is interested in making a historically correct forge for the US Army mid-1800s here is a set of diagrams. I guess it could be converted into a blueprint section if there was enough interest..... and I or someone else could figure how to convert it into the "blueprint" section.

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In case anyone is interested in making a historically correct forge for the US Army mid-1800s here is a set of diagrams. I guess it could be converted into a blueprint section if there was enough interest..... and I or someone else could figure how to convert it into the "blueprint" section.

ya that is a lot more work than the forges ive made ...mine are more wooden boxes with a steel plate in the bottom and a holder for the bellows... i have tried bolth side draft and bottom draft (i stick with bottom draft its what i know)and spent the most time building the bellows...

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ya that is a lot more work than the forges ive made ...mine are more wooden boxes with a steel plate in the bottom and a holder for the bellows... i have tried bolth side draft and bottom draft (i stick with bottom draft its what i know)and spent the most time building the bellows...


A wood box with a steel plate bottom is an excellent type of forge for any time period in my humble opinion. The first forge I ever built was a completely wooden forge with loose bricks lining the bottom and a small bellows. It worked fine but it was not very portable. After looking at a friend's sample of the mid-1800s portable forge, I am planning on constructing one when time allows so that I can have a folding forge that is easily transported for when transporting my wheeled Traveling Forge is not practical. After asking a few questions on how he made the pan and the hinged joints on the legs of the portable forge, it sounds very doable. Yes making both the wheeled Traveling Forge and the folding portable forge takes an investment in time, but making my tools is a big part of my hobby, and once the forges are made I have them for a lifetime of enjoyment that I would not be able to achieve if I just continued to drag my buffalo forge and champion blower around.

I have "upsized" the measurements on the folding portable forge a bit to make it more comfortable for me to use. See diagram below. Also see bending jig to make the bend in the front of the frame, with supervision by my female Mastiff. ;-)



Are not those the plans from the war office on how a military forge *must* be built to be accepted by them?


The drawings were done cira 1840s by Captain Albert Mordecai under commission by the US Army to research European Army equipment and then put together drawings and specifications that could then be given to contractors making equipment for the US Army. Those drawings and specifications included plans for both a wheeled Traveling Forge as the standard Army forge, as well as a folding Portable Forge for use with the mountain howitzer. In addition to the two US Army standard forges, both sides were documented to use wooden box forges both as part as Sherman's march to the sea as well as in late-war southern fortifications.

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