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I Forge Iron

"Of Shoes,and Ships,and Sealing Wax ..."


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Michael,you're a wild man,for sure!I like that crazy torso,a human skull sounds fitting...You'll have to...umm...,harvest it yourself?(I'm so tired that had to sit a while to think of a politically-co

Wow(again ),Clay,i forget that you're a fellow dweller of essentially the same Pacific Northwest!All is the way you've said it,much of it news to me,in my isolation. Made me think of all those giant

Bug on Jake, First off ref WI supplier in UK I personally would not and do not go there, I have my reasons and will stand by them. I did start to post a response to JK last night as I was respondin

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Right Phil, the doorstop is mounted on the baseboard and keeps the hooks (which are mounted on the top rail of the door) from hitting the wall when the door is opened. The hooks are antique wrought iron which tends to lend a natural rusticity to the shapes and the doorstop is made of an old hay rake tooth which is springy steel.

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Just had to share this with you. It shows the passion that this art exudes in us:



I had the pleasure of meeting Alex the other Summer when I was demonstrating in Carbondale, Colorado. A very talented and enthusiastic young man. I love this video!
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thanks randy!! what a lovely expressive chap - a very endearing video- yes it sums up how doing this work can make us all feel? there is so much there for the senses - i love his expression when he talks about the sight the sounds the FEEL - he is so right - it gets right under your skin :) thanks for that randy - i have to go out, but had just the time to watch that - i adore the enthusiasts of this world - utterly adore them! :)

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Bryan, I don't like to get anywhere near metal at minus 40 degrees, and I don't usually spend much time in the shop when it gets below 20 degrees.
We have the FFA (Future Farmers of America) out here in the West. Its similar to 4H I believe. I have a friend whose kids raised piglets into hogs and then sold them at auctiion.
Lets see if I can get these pics loaded. Hands, mid morning (dirty). The right is kinda blurry. Not used to taking left handed pics.post-22629-0-64792600-1321976086_thumb.jpost-22629-0-09329300-1321976106_thumb.j

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Bryan, I don't like to get anywhere near metal at minus 40 degrees, and I don't usually spend much time in the shop when it gets below 20 degrees.


I tend to stay out of the shop when its that cold. I do forge at about 20 F, but any colder than that and its just to uncomfortable. And your right. Steel at that temprature (-40f) can instantly freeze skin and take it right off your hand. Luckly, it healed. But it did hurt. I make sure I have gloves on now if I have to touch metal.

We have had one of the worst cold snaps in central Alaska for the last 40 years. The temps have been below -25 f for over 2 weeks. Its a new record for this time of the year. Yesterday i spent two hours or so out in -38 temps to stack wood on the porch. Properly clothed and being careful not to sweat, its not that bad. Just need to cover face to avoid frostbite on the cheeks and nose.

Of course this sucks if you desperately want to get into the shop and make anything like I do. Its important to stay busy and keep the mind active this time of the year. Alaskans ignore the temps and get out and do things anyway. I got acclimated very quickly and enjoy the weather. But, -38 is too cold to forge.
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Hey,that is wonderful that this goofy thread didn't perish yet,but quite otherwise,turned to all these fantastic,Godly matters,such as weather,and beautiful horses,and much fantastic forging,too!Clay,those are some cool photos,incredible,thanks! Randy,thanks,likewise,i'll try the video,but not sure about this here funky dial-up connection! For a couple of weeks i've lacked internet access,but also the privacy of my habitual,village hermitage(having dived into the wirlpool of a City) to concentrate on a meaningful post,and have just come by both unexpectedly. Thanks,Bryan,for filling in the info on the show,and it was extremely pleasant to've met you in person,too:I've had the honor of meeeting Bryan,folks,a very large,warm,and gentlemanly person,with whom i now have the pleasure of sharing the immediate geography!(Well,it's tens of miles now instead of hundreds,anyway :) ). Bryan,stay warm,and i very much hope to see you at the knifemaker's meeting/get-together that the word on the street says is on the 13th. I'll try to put the results of the recent stage of the Mission in a nutshell here: By all "normal" parameters the show was a bust,i've produced one saleable item worth $24,in the 5 or so months of work :) (It was a spike-hook,with a plain twist,and ended up on the table accidentally). I've caused it all to be so,thanks to my craziness,very deliberately,so in that way it was a complete success-purpose accomplished as intended. The purpose was complex,and in a number of ways was very curious in it's process,it's progress: The display of ironwork has puzzled the people,it has,in a way,Unsettled them,as Winnie-the-Pooh puts it. It was not consistent with the Public's idea of forged goods.That is telling,to me it is(or i want it to be):The image of forgework has fallen low,and it's up to Us to uphold,and raise it.Well,everyone knew this the whole time,but hey,it was good to reassure oneself :) The prices were set obscenely high,which was also another inquiry into the Public's tastes and instincts,and their perceptions:IF,valued as everything else is nowadays,in money,how high do people value the Work of blacksmithing?What do they rate the sheer effort,the output of energy,at? The level(literally) of interest was an issue,too-many are simply not informed in the basic physics to actually realise What the material is,and Whereby it took those shapes! Many,of course,were,and i did have Many wonderful conversations,with some amazing,no exageration,people. Bryan,of course,and other kindred spirits,and very interesting people in all walks of life. It was very gratifying to see that practically everyone who happened by has read the short commentary that accompanied a sampling of original,old English forgework. It was a pair of incredibly elegant scrolls,that through decency and generosity of John B,have found themselves in Alaska,serving the cause of proselytising on behalf of Blacksmithing. I was saddened not to've been asked more technical questions about this old work,such as,"How was it forged so smoothly,and scrolled so evenly?",or "How were the welds blended- in so perfectly?". But i'm probably being unfair here:As a person who came to ironworking late in life,over the age of 30,i probably wouldn't have known to ask these questions either!Before being born again!!! Und zo,the moral from the entire experience,which includes working fair-to-middling hard almost half a year,communicating and learning from all of you generous folks to whom i'm speaking here now,and this,an artisan expo, as a finalising event,the overriding impression of the entire whole: There needs to more and better forgework! :):P I've banged together a nasty,OSB&pallets shack,with my good friend here,and tomorrow we go to rob tools from another friend.And a barrel stove kit from hardware store.And a sack of coal. I've sabotaged all my chances to forge for lucre,and have so freed myself Entirely of any obligation. I'm now free to forge as much,and of Whatsoever i want!!! Bryan,let's get together here soon,and do those small Scandinavian axes!It'll be warm in the forge forthwith,and i should be working by the middle of this week-free at last! :P :D

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Absolutely Jake! I'll give you a call. Anytime is good for me. Mid week sound good to you?

While I understand the general public may not understand or know what "real" forged work is. I know they have a perception of what it is to them. Like we talked about when we met. I believe it is drawer pulls, gate latches and hinges. Things of that nature. I still believe there is a large and growing market for those types of forged items. Are they the more commercial pieces? You bet they are. But, its what they can get for next to nothing at the big box stores. Basket weave drawer pulls, "hand" wrought hinges, complete with hammer marks. Of course no self respecting smith 150-300 years ago would ever produce a piece that had hammer marks. Now its expected.

Its very inspiring to see everyone pitching in and talking about the passion of their work. Now if it just wasn't so dang cold outside. Hope to hammer with you soon Jake.

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Great to hear from you again Jake! I am sorry to know that the sales were so miniscule at the show but glad that you are still forging onward! I will be looking eagerly for the work you'll be hammering out in the new shop! Sometimes the greatest successes seem to spring from the most humbling events... keep alert! As a hunter and fisherman I learned that an optimistic aura of expectation was among the most important factors leading to success... I've since found it true in many types of endeavor. BTW great book alert: "Ordinary Wolves" by Seth Kantner!

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great advice bigfoot!! we must all keep alert... strangely was at a very marvellous choir thing at the cathedral last night (your cloister vaults cathedral jake :) ) very awesome choirs singing, all lights off initially - and then tiny candles - felt like it was a thousand years ago - the voices wouldnt have sounded any different - beauiful latin unaccompanied voices MAGIC! ANYWAY i fairly did not concentrate on the readings, as my offspring were burning each others hair and fiddling about with wax swinging legs yawning etc but the one i heard which i had not heard for an age, is the parable of bridesmaids with their oil lamps waiting for the bridegroom, and he is late, and the oil in their lamps runs low, finally running out while they wait - it is impossible to find more oil from anyone, but some of the girls had thought to bring flasks of oil, and they could re fill their lamps and get to the wedding, where the others who had not prepared, are left in the dark, and are not let in to the wedding. not sure why i told you that, but the moral ah yes! the moral of the tale being, be constantly in readyness - you never know what you may be needed to do, what opportunity will arise - much like what you said bigfoot. i feel the thread taking on a religious aspect again.... :) insanely good to have you back jake - teach us your ways of righteousness!! :)

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And Jake went forward to spread the word, You reap what you sow, and Jake sowed seeds unto the visitors to the event, and in my experience the rewards from these seeds will start to develop in the days and years to come.

Well done Jake, and keep your individuality, no doubt many were impressed with your work, and so long as you left a contact detail you will probably hear from some of them, you don't need that many clients to become swamped with commisions that you then may have difficulty with the time required to take to fulfil these needs.

IMHO shows are for educating the public to what is achievable, and where to go to find someone who can produce what they want. Selling any items I regard as a bonus, its always surprising when someone actually wants to pay money for what I enjoy doing.

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Great to hear from you, Jake. Been there, done that. But then your presence proved that someone does still do this! Hallelujah! What an impact that in itself makes on the world. Ah, but, yes, we still must pay bills. I at times wish that wasn't the case and I could just hammer willy nilly. But alas the word is out there and time and positive vibes will provide.

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Jake : If you can, watch this short video, it'll be worth your time. It's very similar in your quest. I hope you can see it before it's pulled, it's a time sensitive posting...20 days left to goal. All gothic forging. http://www.kickstart...cently_launched

Here's a link to a file of some of his work, pics at the bottom are the gothic stuff.

http://www.vinlandforge.com/JH_Portfolio.pdf

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wow thanks jk thats so interesting!! who is funding this guy?? i think jake will love that if he can possibley get to see it - i did not know that piece he mentioned in the v and a , but i have not been in there for a long time and probably wouldnt have noticed it then anyway... there are some really interesting pieces in the portfolio too - i love it that people are out there with these wonderful niche obsessions! its what makes the world go round :)
jake - im so happy that your now feelin very free - after your show, to forge whatever you want, in your new throw up workshop - its very gratifying to get something that looms over you, safely behind you! i agree with john, that the interest in your work will not necasaerily make it self instantly apparent, its like that sometimes isnt it? all that you said about the public and the problems with this kind of work, are spot on, its very cool that you have friends, we all have friends here who understand these issues!! i think, like you said, also, is that the thing is to try to do it all as well as we Can and learn as much as we Can to bring quality where we Can :) an inspiring mission..... through all these conversations i have realised i do not want to take short cuts (possibley in other areas of life... but not this one!!) i want to be able to do the work properly, not to be able to make lots of half arsed mediocre nonsense, this as we know will not always be valued in monetary terms, but this is only ONE, and one very retarded and limited one dimensional way (in my oppinion) of showing appreciation, and value WILL be expressed in other ways through other channels. ( i do realise we have to eat.... but there are two sides to this tale of following traditions and learning the best way - that may be a different subject entirely to earning a living, certainly a posh fancy lots of money type living!!)

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Beth - The guy in the video is asking for donations for his study in forging the 3 window grille samples, with the time left, I'd say he most likely will not make the deadline with donated funding as he only has a small portion of what his goal is - unfortunate for him. I would be interested to see his progress none the less. I would like to also see how he forged the sample window he did do - the designs on the diamond look to be very challenging at least.

Jake - I hope you had enough good times during the show to balance out the non sales. There may be a call sometime in the future that you may least expect for a forged comission that was born of that show.... never know.

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Happened to be in a bookstore the other day with some time to waste. I happened to come into the art section and the first book that popped out at me was the Artists Way. A very serendipitous occaision for me. I had to have it after hearing of it here . So now I have a copy and have just began to read it.
Jake, I think my favorite piece of yours was the cross on the coffin that few will ever see. That was a terrific piece to me and I am not a religious person. Thanks for showing it to us.

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Wow, that guys stuff is beautiful, I can only view the pdf, as my computer is too ancient to watch videos on. Will have to try to watch the clip from the other half's laptop sometime.

This past Saturday I had a stall at our local market. It's a very popular outdoor market in town, twice a week. Lots of vintage stuff, antiques, tools, clothes, and all the other normal stuff, clothes, fruit and veg, etc. It was windy... it was cold, it was grey. I set up at 8 am as required, and stood all day in the wind, and the cold....
It's an odd feeling, having your work laid out on the table, for judgement, to see if someone will judge it worthy enough of their hard earned cash. I felt like a goldfish in a bowl at one point!!
I've done markets before, but only craft specific ones, or wee small-town cosy farmer's markets, all very friendly, people are going there because they know what to expect and want to spend their money. This felt different as most people were just wandering by, going about their business, running errands.

Well, anyway, I stood there from 8am until 3pm and didn't sell a thing. Lots of interest and conversation, but no sales. No personal vindication. I thought that at least I've given out loads of business cards, and talked to a lot of people, and it really is a good way of cheap advertising. So, slightly demoralized, at that point I gave up, and huddled across the sidewalk out of the wind to wait for my partner to come help me pack up for the day. Then a man came along, and was my angel for the day, as he came and quickly glanced at my stuff, picked up the second most expensive thing on the table and said "I love it, I'll have this!!"

I can't tell you how relieved I was!! Made standing in the cold all day worthwhile. And I'm not sure if its the money, it's the personal justification.

I know I'm much happier just making stuff in the workshop than trying to sell it... But, I have to sell stuff or else I can't afford to make it...

So Jake, you've sown the seed and I think your angel will come!! {Although I re-read this and felt that I might come across as being condescending saying that, it's not meant that way at all!! I don't think you need an angel to vindicate your work like I do!!!}

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colleen! so glad you sold something - makes it worthwhile knowing that they are out there - The Rational People !! the one that Care and Know!! brilliant - hope you feel totally that your behaviour as a blacksmith is justified :) as for jake - i think you have an angel of sunshine sorts wether you sell or not!

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I just got off the phone with Jake and we are planning to get together next week. This week didn't work out and thats fine. It gives us more time to prepare and get things together. So I hope to get lots of good pictures and maybe even be able to figure out how to get them on the site. I'm excited to do some smithing and whatever we end up doing it will be great fun.

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Only Blacksmithing can bring together such wonderful people as have gathered here!I can't do justice to all the incredible information and insight posted above,exeptional not only for it's thought-provoking content,but for the warmth,kindness,and respect for everyone and everything that dwells...Thanks,and my hat's off to the company...

The internet has been awful to me lately,i've lost so many messages that feel like i need to write telegraphically,as i suspect that something on this site times out on me...

Everything here's going a bit slower than i hoped for.I'm inside,with a stove functioning,and even lit-up yesterday,in a VERY primitive fashion(imported bitumen,side-blast).
I was with my old friend and past student Hanna,whom i've absolutely poisoned and choked out,as the smoke expulsion is not quite worked out yet(and she doesn't practice like me by inhaling tobacco smoke all day).We forged some,but it was VERY tough.
Because of the holidays i'm only just catching up to people whom i've hoped to rob all the better equipment from...

Bryan,i'm sorry that it's all so discombobulated,it's coming together now.Unfortunately,this warm spell is catching up to us,and the roads the next few days may get deadly.I can't make it out of the neighborhood now,it's uphill on an unmaintained road for the first mile or so.A hefty 4-wheel drive+studded tires should do it,though,but it's not what i have access to(put the car entrusted to me in a ditch last night :).That's unhandy,as today was the day that i was fetching a more or less decent anvil.

BUT,i've an antique wrought 25-pounder here,and coal,what else anyone needs,to make everything else?
So,Bryan,it's anytime that you feel safe driving now,and i'll continue improving the smoke draft and other details.
I got us a chunk of 3/4" plate for axes,but haven't found the plasma cutter or some other civilised way to section it up.We can improvise :)

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The exterior and interior of the new forge:

post-3679-0-43417900-1323018218_thumb.jp

post-3679-0-05339500-1323018167_thumb.jp

P.S.This is ridiculous-how long will i be building forges,everywhere i chance to go?!
Should i just bow to fate,admit to being a gypsy,travel with this little 25lb anvil,and work in a hole in the ground?Not the ideal climate...Maybe i can design a portable,one-mule sled-mounted forge...

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This is ridiculous-how long will i be building forges,everywhere i chance to go?!
Should i just bow to fate,admit to being a gypsy,travel with this little 25lb anvil,and work in a hole in the ground?Not the ideal climate...Maybe i can design a portable,one-mule sled-mounted forge...


and a Yurt,

Carry on the good work Jake, nice to hear from you
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