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Greetings from Texas!


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Hello all!

New here to the forums, and to blacksmithing in general. My brother and I both work in the computer industry for a living (coding / qa / IT), and we are both right around 30 years old (i've got a few months left of the sweet, sweet 20's). We need a life change in our hobbies, and we are_stoked_ to get started with blacksmithing. We've bought some books, such as the backyard blacksmith and the art of blacksmithing, and we've been doing lots of research into what we need to get started. These forums have been invaluable so far. We've even scheduled some classes locally here in texas with a blacksmith who offers weekend teachings. Once we get things rolling, we plan to join up with any local blacksmith groups so we can make some friends and hopefully learn from the masters.

Now our biggest problem is figuring out where we can setup our own smithy. I currently live in a leased house in a very residential area in Ft Worth - there is an elementary school not 100 yards away. My brother also lives in a residential area, but in Dallas. He owns his place, but his yard is still small (.5 - 1 acre maybe), and we are positive the noise and smoke levels would make it impossible to work there as well. We both have neighbors who would complain, regardless.

What are our options? We are bumming hard that without a shop somewhere, we may not get to travel down this path! This is something i've never really looked into, so i'm not quite sure what to search for or ask about... if that makes sense. I've thought about renting/purchasing a small plot of land outside the city limits, I've seen small 1-3 acre lots going for $1-2 grand (or < $100 a month in rental fees). Thats affordable, as we are really serious about starting this up... but I just don't know if thats the best bet we have. I guess i'm at a loss, and any help from you all here on the forums would be much appreciated!


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First, Welcome to IFI. There is a wealth of info and a bunch of great people on here that are more than willing to help folks get started. Have you thought about maybe starting out with a gas forge? That would eliminate the smoke issue. As for the noise, check the local noise ordinances and see if you can do your pounding within the time restraints of those ordinances. If you can afford to get a little place of your own, outside the city limits, and could set up a storage shed that would be big enough to hold your equipment, that would also be a really good option. Also, you have the right idea about finding another smith, locally, to help you out. Who knows, you might even find one that would help you get some forge time at their shop, before you make a big expenditure. Keep us posted on what you decide and the progress that you are making. Don't forget to post pix of your set up. We love pix. :D

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Welcome to IFI,
There are a lot of people that live within the city limits and have to lease or rent a space to do their blacksmithing. You can get away from the smoke problem by using gas. Sound may be a different problem but if you have a shop or shed , you can insulate it against sound. I have a coal forge but if I was faced by the problem of smoke and space, I would switch to gas.
I wish you both luck as you head out on your new obsession, er I mean addiction, er um habit, um hobby, yea thats it hobby!

Mark <º))><

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Thanks for the feedback!

We really wanted to go the coal forge route at first, to get a real feel of things... but it sounds like gas may need to be the option we choose based on our current living situations.

As far as insulation for a shed... how well does that muffle the pings of the hammer as it strikes? It seems like that would cut through just about anything :)

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Howdy from East TEXAS!! and welcome to IFI! Who is the smith you are taking lessons from? I'm a former member of NTBA and know a lot of the members. If you go the rout of renting/leasing a place out of the c/l I would suggest you have a building you can secure! anvils have a knack of growing legs and walking off if not watched closely! Charcoal may be an option for you too, you can use it in the same forge as coal and anyone smelling the smoke will think you are just grilling steaks! You might also think of meeting ALL of your surrounding neighbors and take them a little 'goodie' you have made in the forge; i.e., candle holder, steak turner, key ring, just something simple. Makes folks much nicer that way! Insulation will most definitly kill a lot of the ring of the anvil and associated noises. You can also deaden the ring with a magnet, chain wrapped around the anvil, or bolting it down tight with a chain on a wooden block--my stand is metal but I have a piece of 3/4" plywood under the anvil with a chain that has bolts welded on both ends that goes across the front and back feet and pulled tight. you get all the rebound and little ring this way.

Check out the NTBA at www.ntxba.org to see when n where their next meeting is. You will meet some good folks. Also, if you don't mind the drive, there is the Saltfork Craftsmen group in OK, www.saltforkcraftsmen.org and the Balcones Forge group in Central TX--neat Austin area www.balconesforge.org.

Also, if you want to make a trip east, my shop is always open! I have both coal and gas, a 25#Little Giant power hammer, a 135# Say-Mak air hammer. I also have several blowers, anvils, forges, and leg vises for sale if you are looking for such. Once again, welcome.

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