Glenn

Interview with a blacksmith

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Geoff is the name. Thompson Manitoba Canada. New to blacksmith sene. So new I don't even have an anvil yet. Made a few knifes and spears as a kid, in my dads work shop. He didn't like that to much. 30 yrs + now with kids of my own. One wants a bronze knife for his Boy Scouts camping trip. So I built a my first propane forge for videos on YouTube. I would like to find a blacksmith here in Manitoba that would give lessons. Maybe I could even get good enough to change a hobbie into a full time job.

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1) Name

Gareth Alderman
2) Location

A little village NW of London UK

 

3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make.
Hobby, anything  i can create/need. Im doing it for fun but still want to make the best and most usable I can.

4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing

Was taught a few basic over a few days  while away with a small bushcrafting group 3 years ago.

5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil,

Railway sleeper.
6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks,

Just brought my own forge, a little solid fuel (gas just doesnt seem right i think i like it traditional) Iron Dwarf forge for the garden/workshop.

1st forge i used was an old water cooled solid fuel one sitting  in a clearing full of bluebells in some woods.

7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft

1st assisted by Hugh. My wife encourages me in everything.

8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing

I think watching Dave Bud create traditional blades at a show from a charcole filled hole in the groung a small anvil and a hammer and a ton of knoledge and experience. Realising you dont have lots of expensive equipment just lots of ability, experience and knowhow.

9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop

Hmm the internet as it is a font of knowledge (good and bad) or maybe my new forge as i was going to be using a hole in the ground and this is far easier.

10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing

Speak to people go to bushcraft/country shows and see them. The internet is good but as in all things anyone can post their own views on what is good/bad and works but doesnt mean it true so be careful. 

11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing

Please dont get jaded by the idiots passing through some of us really want to learn even as hobbiests (but who knows what we will become).

12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith.

I couldnt call myself blacksmith yet but its amazing how willing people are to show you when you have the right attitude.

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1) Doug Wilbur
2) Bucks Co Pa ( just north of Philly)
3) Hobby blacksmith concentrating on hardware and tooling

4) Got started in Jr high school in Poulsbro Wa where the school shop had both a gas forge and casting furnace.
5) I have a 50 lb Fisher that was my grandfathers.
6) 1st forge is a steel railroad forge I fabricated myself.
7) I took a class with Warren Holzman  at a local college last 2 years to get me back into forging,

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Jerry Frost

 

Meadow Lakes, South Central Alaska.

Most anything, decorative, light architectural, tools, etc. etc.

Been drawn to fire and hammers since I was really little and been playing with said since.

I don't know what I started using for an anvil but the first "anvil" I managed was a steel rem Dad didn't notice me appropriating, about 4' of 2"x4" steel bar.

Most any fire the folks wouldn't make me put out as soon as I got built. The first "real" forge would be an old top loading washing machine I gutted, turned the lid over, axed a small hole in and packed with adobe. The air blast was an old hair drier, really old school with a hose that originally went to a large cap. Burned wood, forged in the coals.

Nobody, till I was in my mid 30's, as A kid, folks wanted me to learn a "paying trade." Farriers charged the folks extra if I got in the way.

NO single event changed my attitude, I've always loved beating hot steel.

I found my first "how to" book, "The Art Of Blacksmithing by Bealer", My first really GOOD anvil, the 125 lb. Soderfors, Sorceress #5 I talk about. The internet and all the folk I've met to pump for knowledge, ideas and puns.

New guys, don't waste time looking for the "Perfect" tools, there aren't any. There's no magic to this or any craft, it's knowledge and practice. The best tool in the universe is just an inanimate object till someone makes it work. WEAR PPE! Learn the basic, practice till you have a good handle and practice more. Get together with experienced follk, you'll learn more in an hour than you will in days figuring it out yourself. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Find someone YOU can teach, you'll lear more trying to explain why YOU do it THAT way and keeping ahead.

Old guys, teach new guys, take care of your body and stuff. The original retirement plan was losing the second eye. There's a reason all the old blacksmith gods were one eyed. Wear your PPE and make the new ones wear it! Keep an open mind, just because that's the way they did it back when doesn't make THAT the best way to do IT. Even if that IS the best way, it won't be soon so keep an open mind. Kids say the darnedest things and often have terrific ideas un-polluted by knowledge.

Yeah, there are lots of interesting, amusing, scary things happened to me at the forge but that's just asking me to get started on long winded story telling. <wink>

Frosty The Lucky.

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1) Name: David Knight

2) Location: Inola< Oklahoma

3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make.:What do you need?

4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing? I started in High School. 1981 but have been more earnest 10 years ago about 2003

 

5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil? my first anvil was an 80# tractor weight

6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks,: first forge and still using today after a couple of modifications. 1/2 car tire rim with 1/4" plate welded to the bottom

7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft? My Dad, he always said if someone else can do a lot, you can do a little.

8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing?

9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop? it seems like everything I have acquired since the anvil, forge, and hammer. Probably the London pattern anvil.( just a 150 vulcan)

10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing? talk to everyone you can ask questions, and listen to the answers

11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing? Teach when you can.

12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith. All of the people I have met and inspires i.e. 2 young boys that went home after they saw me demo, built a forge and made a knife and brought it to show me the next year at the same venue.

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  1. Bogdan Popov
    2) Carpathian Mountains, Ukraine
    3) Axes, hammers, knives,  tradtional forged tools, all kinds of traditional items a village blacksmith did, making blacksmiths (teaching blacksmithing)

    4)  I started in 1988 when came to work as a blacksmith apprentice in Kiev


5)   It was actully quite good German old anvil but it was stolen the next day I started  and I had to carry on with ugly Soviet one
6) Terrible huge uneconomic plate 50 to 50 cm with many holes, burning sacks of antracite every day nobody cared for as it was almost free in Soviet times. 
7)  First was a good artist and sculptor Oleg Stasyuk (died in 2000).  The next and real teacher was famous russian bladesmith Vyacheslav Basov (died in 2003)
8)   No changes really for all these years.  Always magic and mysterious
9)  Char coal actully.  When I started to use it after antracite I felt like I learned to fly.  Of course designing my own hammers helped a lot  but it was gradual evolutionary change

10) Do not try to get many tools  at the beginning especially power ones.  Work in simple ways first with just the anvil and hammer.  Get the spirit of blacksmithing.  The spirit is the most important. It will guide you.
11)   Do not forget about magic.   We are magic blacksmiths, not just industrial workers.  We change the world by our hammers and hands.  Hopefully for good
12) . Well,  I always felt I am kind of attracting women when working  at forge.  That’s how I met and merried my sweet heart. 

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Galen Base

Redwood Valley,Ca

Basic Blacksmithing ie, Metal Roses, BBQ tools, fire place sets, rose arbors, candle holders, Trinkets.

From a friend, mentor and Former Master Blacksmith 1992

Anvil from Grand Father

Portable Champion Blower

Tom Dudkowski was the man for helping me get started and getting me to Frank Turley's Blacksmithing school

Fritz Hagist's Oktoberfest 1994

Plasma Cutter HAHA. I love my LMF anvil that my grandparents bought me. My first Brand new 175 lb. Anvil.

Never stop learning and asking questions. Never stop practicing either.

Keep in touch with your fellow Blacksmith's as life is short. Live hard Smith harder and tell stories of the times you have had and of the lives you have touched.

I have seen a lot of amazing people as E.A. Chase and his breath taking Lamps, Tom Joyce when I was in New Mexico with Frank Turley, Toby Hickman and his famous 3 egg omelet's at Oktoberfest, John Mclellan and his Japanese Damascus swords, Dorothy Stiegler as she helped me improve my rose making, Kirk McNiel and hammering on the spring anvil at Oktoberfest after a few beer's, Erin Simmons and owning one of his magnificent hammers. This is just to name a few that i have had the pleasure to meet and enjoy their knowledge.

 

 

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1) Name

Dave Herold
2) Location

Onalaska Wisconsin
3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make.

I will make anything that I can. However, right now with my novice skill level I make a lot of hooks. Wall Hooks both drive and punched for screws. S Hooks , all for learning the basic processes. I have also made 3 pairs of successful tongs (not super pretty, but they are functional) and 1 disaster of a faliure pair of tongs that I did indeed learn a lot from. For the long haul I would like to make more tooling and eventually get  more into metal sculpture like wall art and gates and grills. 

4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing

I tried out blacksmithing in the early 90's with a small cast rivet forge that was given to me. I had nobody to learn from at the time, and didn't fair too well. Moved on worked as a tattoo artist from 93 to 2010 and then went into IT. Just about 6 months ago I was at an SCA event in WI Rapids and got to spend the day in smiths row with Jim (Trinity Forge) and a lovely lady smith named Mary and they actually started me on making tapers and bends. By the end of that day I had made a successful S hook with a twist and a simple turning fork. I was completely hooked and haven't been able to stop since. Built a gas forge and aquired an anvil that is at the end of its life but serves me very well for now.

5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil,

I have a 106 LB unidentified London Pattern anvil that is in very sorry shape. However, it fares well enough for my skill level. Edges are shot on it, and I am afraid that the tail is going to break off at any moment, but it is what I have for right now. Don't think I would want to learn my hammer work on a beautiful anvil anyway to be honest. I would feel really bad about some half moon nicks in a smooth face

6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks,

On my first attempt it was an old Sears and Roebuck Rivet forge. Sold that when I gave up. On this run first forge is a Propane unit out of an old (very old) O2 tank with 2 Zoeller style Z burners on it. I have found that I can't fit some of the pieces in this configuration to get accurate heats so I purchased a Buffalo 332H with a hand crank blower that I am in the process of cleaning up and putting back together. I will then move into coal or Charcoal.

7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft

There have been many smiths that I have met already that have helped me out. Jim Kotsonis being the primary one, and Mary the other smith I worked with that weekend. And then of course everyone on Youtube, and on forums that I am just starting to get ot know
8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing

After my first go at it I admit I was pretty discouraged and thought that I didn't have what it took to learn. Then worked with the smiths at that event and found out that it wasn't magic. I never had a bad view of smithing and have always been interested, Just thought it might be something out of reach for me until I met those guys. I have been hooked ever since

9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop

 

Every tool that I aquire makes life easier. However I think that right now the porta-band I picked up recently has made life much much simpler when it comes to cutting stock to size.

10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing

Don't give up. There are people out there willing to help you! Stick to it, learn the basics well and the rest will fall into place as you go. This is advice that I still follow everytime I light the forge.
11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing

First off thank you to each and every one of you that offer your knowledge and experience for free here an in person to people trying to learn this art. You are more valuable than you could ever know. I personally think that all craftsmen are a national treasure that should be cherished because without them we wouldn't be able to have the technology that we have today. When it comes to N00bs like me, please keep an open mind, be direct but kind. Thank you again for being a resource for learning for this craft I am coming to love so dearly.

12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith.

I don't have any great stories like a lot of the more experienced guys. But the most interesting thing to me so far in my short journey is how open, accepting, and willing to share knowledge folks in this community are. When I was a professional tattoo artist, some of the guys would throw their own grandmothers in front of you to keep you from learning their "special" shading technique or special color blend. And you were kind of put to the side and shunned like the last kid picked in dodgeball until you had proved that you were "good enough" to play the reindeer games. I haven't had any of that in the smithing community so far, and honestly quite the opposite.

 

 

Please add any thing we may have missed or should have asked.

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1) Name

Matthew Jordan

2) Location

Around Baton Rouge, Louisiana

3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make?

None yet. Still collecting stuff

4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing

See above ;)

5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil,

Really big vise

6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks,

Going to build a solid fuel and gas forge


7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft

Hard to explain

8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing

Watching it in person

9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop

Air conditioner (I'm in south Louisiana)


10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing
11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing
12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith.

I have been a welder/fabricator/heavy equipment mechanic for 23 years. I love manipulating metal and I'm entranced by history.
I'll post more in a bit. It's my wife's birthday and I'm being called. :)

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1) Name
Lukus "Kaalo" Albin


2) Location
Coal, Missouri, USA


3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make.
I'm a hobby smith, I've made a few trinkets a few tools and a couple of knives.


4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing
I got started about two years ago when I got out of the army and stayed with my in-laws for three months while my wife was in college Father-in-law had a 45# Harbour Frieght anvil that he was going to scrap I asked if I could have it and traded some hard work for it. Decided that I'd learn to blacksmith.


5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil,
45# Harbour Frieght anvil I'm still using. 


6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks,
It was a old wood stove that I still use.

7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft
A lot of internet reading and taking a few classes with SIU-C blacksmith program.


8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing
When I gave my wife a trinket and she said that she loved it and still wears it from time to time and the first Mjolnir pendant I made.


9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop
I'm not sure yet I guess the internet or my first post vice.


10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing
Keep at it and find a mentor.


11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing
Are any of you local and feel like mentoring? Just stay out there and mentor people.


12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith.
I don't really have any yet getting to spend sometime in the metalsmithing program and Southern was kinda cool Learning to make stuff with just fire iron and sweat is still pretty xxxxxx awesome to me.

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1) Name; Daði Jóhannesson
2) Location: Akranes, Iceland
3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make.: pretty much what i want to at the moment, mostly pointy sharp things and viking style jewelry

4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing: two ways actually, i learned about blacksmithing when i was walking around in a festival of some sorts, saw two guys making horseshoes, wasn't until the new years eve of '07 or '08 when i threw one of those burnt out sparkler rods into the wood stove we had outside and saw it turn red that i added two and two and figured out i could do this myself

5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil:a firebrick, broke quite a few, i always used a full face shield when working on them
6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks,: it was a large wooden stove my father made from a steel tank with a door cut into it, four feet and a large chimney, fueled with chopped down pallet boards, took 30 mins to heat up a 10mm square stock to a yellow heat

7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft: my brother and father mostly, by supplying me with a forge, anvil, some tools and scrap steel
8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing: finding this website mostly, now i really see how many blacksmiths there actually are, and how much more there is to it than just sword making and farrier-ing....or whatever that word is, farrying?

9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop: my 10 lb sledge, i don't use it often but without it i couldn't have made my hardy tools

10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing: this takes time to learn, at first it seems like you're not really learning anything, but at some point, maybe soon, maybe in a few years, things will click and you'll finally understand and wonder why this was so hard to comprehend in the first place, also, it's better to ask and look like a fool for five minutes and don't ask and be a fool forever or worse
11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing: show the new ones patience, keep on forging and it's a good idea to give something back to those who did you well in your uprising to become a blacksmith, if you have done all of those then you're a good example of a blacksmith, in my opinion
12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith.: that time when i learned that my close uncle is actually a multiple icelandic champion in tournament blacksmithing and my great great great grandfather or his brother, either one, was a blacksmith, or atleast did some work at the forge, that's all I've heard

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1) Scott Williams

2) Tellico Plains, Tennessee

3) I do all types of blacksmithing from ornamental ironwork to knives, swords, and sometimes gun barrels

4) I got started in Blacksmithing about a year ago, by watching the Blacksmith at Dollywood. (who inspired me to learn as much as possible about Blacksmithing.)

5) A 175 lb. Trenton anvil. ( At least I think.)

6) A Stack of cinder blocks with a Dryer Blower behind it.

7) My dad who was a welder for Boilermakers and Blacksmiths.

8) When I learned that you can pretty much make anything out of metal.

9) My first hammer has made the greatest impact in my shop because it has been with me thru hard times in my Blacksmithing career.

10) My advice to a beginner in Blacksmithing is: If you get frustrated at things, Don't give up try and try again.

11) My advice is to teach others that are willing to learn, All that you know.

12) Noticing That the art of Blacksmithing is not a dieing craft anymore, but is being revived.

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1. Jack Kewitz

 

2. South Chicago suburbs

 

3. Knives, Decorative stuff, and a little casting

 

4. I started about 7 months ago. I got the idea in my head after having had done all types of artwork like bar room rock show fliers, comics, stone carving etc etc. One day I saw this incredible massive door lock made by a German blacksmith at the art museum in Chicago. It was insane! It had dwarves and castles and animals in a forest that moved for no purpose other than being beautiful.

 

5. A railroad track piece that was magicly in the garage of a house I moved into while thinking of blacksmithing. In the forest near my house I also found a 3 1/2 foot wide pre-cut stump.

 

6. A 2 1/2 foot square tower of patio blocks......That exploded....

 

7. My friends and family said it sounded like a cool idea.

 

8. I have always thought it was awesome and still do. But in the last 5 or so months I've discovered what a deep connection it has to legitimate occult and mystic philosophy and practice. Which I also have a deep interest and personal investment in.

 

9. The 7 holed 6 inch wide plate I had welded on my now horned railroad anvil. 7 holes allow for a ton of ingenuity.

 

10. Ha! I started a thread on this. If you can do it how the ancients did; then you'll be more independent. Also learn the lingo. It makes info mining much easier.

 

11. Be nice to beginners.

 

12. Everything since the beginning. The science, labor, magic, art, pain, joy, all of it.

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1. Mike Strausner

 

2. Littlestown, PA

 

3. Haven't really made anything yet in my own forge, but for starters planning on Trinkets, S hooks, Colonial period stuff, anything that seems interesting to try and that I can use to improve experience and skills... Oh, and tools, I want to eventually make my own tools - tongs, hardies, etc.   I'm an 18th century reenactor..

 

4. Really just getting started... About 20 years ago, with the help of a good friend, I built a smoothbore flintlock. He had a brake drum forge, and I, with a lot of guidance from him, made the butt plate, trigger guard, side plate and ramrod pipes. Even before then I was completely fascinated with blacksmithing, and have always thought I'd like to get into it. So, finally..... 

 

5. First anvil? A treasure of a 107 lb Peter Wright, that was gifted to me by someone for helping to clean out her garage a while back.. Don't know how old it is, and it's quite worn, but for starting out it's perfect. I also have a 50 pound scale weight with a flat bottom about 6 inches or so square, figure that'll come in handy for something. An elder relative has an anvil that supposedly came over with our ancestors from Germany, he says I'll get it someday... I'm hoping since I have my shop started I can persuade him to pass it on now... Not sure what it is, other than it's a London style that looks like it's around 150-200 lbs...

 

6. First forge? I found an old farm forge and a hand crank blower a few years ago at a farm sale -- Paid $15 for the forge and the blower. Basically it's a big steel pan about 3-1/2 feet across, 5" deep, with a sheet metal chimney. The fire pot was missing, so I modified it a bit and dropped in a brake rotor.

 

7. The good friend I mentioned above, and all the awesome folks who share their knowledge and skills in these forums and youtube videos.

 

8. Like I said, I've always had an interest, figured it was time to start to do something about it. I think the catalyst was when I came across a Purgatory Iron Works video on youtube a few months ago, and I realized "hey, you have a forge, and an anvil, what the heck have you been waiting for..!!!???".

 

9. I'm extremely grateful for the anvil I got...especially when I see what the prices of good anvils are...

 

10. Being a newbie, guess there isn't much I could offer in the way of advice to someone starting out... I will say that I appreciate that there are experienced smiths out there willing to share so much of themselves. At the same time, I feel like I have to earn the stuff they're passing on, and in some ways learn by making my own mistakes, but as I gain experience, I plan to pay it forward.

 

11. See above... All I ask for is patience and understanding. Everyone is a newbie at some point...

 

12. I'll answer this one in a few years...

 

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Welcome aboard Mike, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many of the IFI gang live within visiting distance.

 

There are I don't know how many mean years of experience represented here just in the archive. It's "organized"grin> by subject and most anything you need to ask has probably been answered already. If you pack a lunch, beverage and pull up a comfy chair you have a few work weeks worth of reading at your disposal.

 

The craft has it's own language and terminology, it's helpful to have a handle on that aspect, it's also good to have a base of knowledge to help you ask good questions and understand the answers. A knowledge base is really helpful sifting the good info from the chaff, there's a LOT of chaff.  We love good questions, it makes us explain just why the heck we do it THAT way. There'll be someone here who'll answer most anything even if I have to make something up. <grin>

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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1) Matt Ropp

2) Harrisonburg Va

3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make. I have been focusing on the basics and trying to learn techniques. I've made hand rails for people, BBQ forks, Rail Road spike tools for gardening, Fire pokers nothing grand or great. Most of the items I make are gifts or request that people give me to make.

4) I have always been interested in blacksmithing, so one day I woke up and made my frist forge which is posted on here haha! My passion has grown since then and I am liking it more and more.

5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil. I had a piece of rail road track for my first anvil like many others im sure!

 

6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks: I started with some sort of brake drum/chunk of metal that wouldn't melt and a hair dryer. I think that i've made about 4-5 forges with now just getting one I can live with..... for now.

7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft: My brothers helped me with my first forge and my wife is very supportive of my hobby, as long as she can have request now and then for items around the house.

8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing: I was getting frustrated with my work that was coming out of the forge and simply thought of giving it up. But I told myself slow down, you do this for enjoyment. After I did that my work started to improve and so did the fun level.

9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop: Getting a proper anvil sure helped, i have two decent hammers now and have recently aquired a leg vise that i'm excited about.

10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing: Take your time and enjoy yourself

11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing: Remember why you first started smithing and make something for yourself.

12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith: I met a nice old lady who has runs an antique shop. She told me she was looking for a hand rail but that a local metal working shop had priced her 500$ for a two foot hand rail. I made her a hand rail and installed it for her. She wrote me a card stating how grateful she was and that she didn't think people did that type of thing anymore.

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1) Kevin Johnsen

2) SW of Kalamazoo Michigan USA by a half hour.

3) None yet. CNC machinist as my day job.

4) Now, by getting a nice large cash christmas gift and blowing the entire wad on a 360 pound Anvil

5) 360 Pound Peter Wright anvil made in approx 1910

6) In process of designing in my head my first forge. Firebox will be 1/2" thick plate steel welded up.

7) Several people, some I have only talked through by email, but they plan to help me in person when possible!

8) This is a longer one for me. When I was growing up, all through my years from when I started to walk till I moved away from home, I went to the local antique engine show every summer. There was a guy with a small blacksmith shop there. I would spend hours every day hanging on the fence (when I was little at least, just leaning against it when I was older) watching him make all kinds of artsy stuff. I loved the smell of the burning coal, loved how he hammered and bent the metal. I looked forward to that every year.

9) Well, as my "shop" only contains an anvil and piles of scrap steel now, will have to go with the anvil. :)

10, 11, 12) I'm just a dub newbie, no advice I have of any value to anyone.

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1) Name:
John Congdon


2) Location
Oberlin, Ohio

3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make.

At the moment, making some basic tools (hardie, chisels, punches) to replace my old (lost, lamented) kit.

4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing
I first got started as a teenager (see #8, below). I'd always done crafty things (pottery, weaving, etc) and eventually was a professional woodworker for about eight years. I took up blacksmithing as a hobby, and it remained one for several years until I moved to NYC to get married and didn't have anywhere to forge. My son just got interested, though, so we're putting the band forge back together.


5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil,
A dinky little bench anvil, about two pounds. My mom still uses it as a paperweight.


6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks,
A gallon juice can lined with clay and burning charcoal briquets. Not particularly effective!

7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft
My first real teacher was Fred Christ at the Philadelphia College of Art. What a guy.


8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing
The first time I put hammer to iron was at a craft fair where I was (supposed to be) helping my dad sell his Shaker-style boxes. There was a guy there who had a little forge set up, and he let me crank the blower and (eventually) make a poker. That was the initial spark (ha, ha) of inspiration that got me started.

The other event was just a couple of months ago: my son was participating in a summer camp program for autistic kids, and they got a visit from a young smith who did a little knifemaking demo. All the kids who wanted to got to take a few wacks at a cherry red railroad spike, and my boy decided to as well. (This is pretty huge, by the way; like many ASD kids, he hates to try new things.) He liked it so much that I decided to remount the anvil I'd been lugging around for twenty-three years and start things up again, not just on my own, but with him as my striker. He's loving it, and time in the forge is a great reward for good behavior, finishing his homework, etc.


9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop
I love my anvil, a 150# Mousehole that was my fifteenth birthday present.

10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing
Do your homework before asking stupid questions on IFI. :)


11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing
Don't stop. I did, and those are twenty-three lost years of learning and skill development that I will never get back.


12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith.
Fred took our class on a field trip to the Yellin forge and museum. That was a great experience.

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1) Brad Voris
2) Sugar Land, Texas
3) Hobbyist - decorative, knives, tools

4) January 2015 - was watching a video on how to make mini swords from 4 inch nails... I decided I would learn how to do that.
5) cheap 9lbs jewlers anvil
6) coffee can forge - 50/50 mixture of sand and plaster and a MAP torch for heat/fuel

7) Internet pointed me in this direction... & Chandler Dickson 
8) I have always had a facination with blacksmithing but building my forge and putting a hammer to steel changed everything for me
9) Advice of others... I have always been a loner but getting advice from HABA and some blacksmiths I have learned a lot and continue to learn.

10) You are going to break a lot of stuff when you start, don't let that stop you
11) Be safe!
12) The look in peoples eyes when I tell them and show them what I have made.

What I have made so far:

10-15 mini swords from 4" nails, some with multi-colored wire wraps on the handles and hilt.

Large fire place / forge tongs

3 Rail road tie knives

1 knife made of rebar, wooden handle wrapped in leather with a copper pummel... looks like a fancy prison shank

couple of hot punches

axe head

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Welcome aboard Brad, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many of the IFI gang live within visiting distance.

Join us in the general smithing areas so we can address some of your kit. For example, plaster and sand is a really BAD forge liner on several counts. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Mod note:    How many times do you think you need to repost this here? you have one posting on the first page, that is enough. the 5th post in this thread, dates October 30, 2011.   This is now the 4th one I have had to remove, and other mods have informed me they have also removed 5 other posts over the past 2 weeks.  This is spamming and self promotion, either that or Alzheimers.   If you cant remember what you post we will do it for you and moderate your account

I dont care that you have used the "ignore"  feature to block staff, its no excuse.  It is your fault for doing it even if you refuse to read the warning PM's you cant say you dont know the rules. threatening any staff over this again will get your account closed permanently

You are an adult and we expect you to act like it.  Pretending innocence while blocking all PMs from staff is a childish game, and you lost.

 

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On 10/30/2011 at 9:30 PM, Glenn said:

Please allow us to interview YOU.
The following questions are sample questions, and are simply a place to start the interview.

1) Name: Chris Ward
2) Location: Southern Maryland
3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make:  Pretty much anything I can, I'm still beginning to mostly trying to make tools.
4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing: I got started about a year ago while I was out with a work injury.
5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil: The first anvil I used was at the shop I started learning at but now I use my own Peter Wright 256lb'er.
6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks:  Currently using a Majestic 3 burner forge for it's portability until I can get a good spot setup to make my coal forge.
7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft: The first person was Scott Thomas at Ardenwood Forge near Fremont, California.  I visited there with a friend of mine on day, we hung out, I helped turn the blower and bit and talked shop with him.  Later on I moved to Maryland and found a retiring Ferrier named Pat Fulcher who has helped me over the last year.
8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing:  That first day at Ardenwood and then the first day I got to spend with Pat cemented the future for me.
9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop: Every single one I make.
10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing: Start slow, listen and pay attention to everything you're told and shown, but above all, keep hitting hot iron as often as possible.  It's the only way to get better.
11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing; Utilize every modern means available to pass on your knowledge and skills.  If you're intimidated by modern media, find someone who can help you, they'll most likely trade their skills for yours.
12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith:  My first beginning hammer was a Kobalt 2.5lb cross-peen blacksmithing hammer bought at Lowe's.  A year after buying it I was at the forge, really starting to get the groove and swing going good.  The metal was moving perfectly and I was feeling great.  Then as the hammer hit the metal there was a loud shattering sound and the hammer head flew across the room.  Kobalt blacksmith and engineering hammers have heavy duty epoxy holding the handles into the heads and the epoxy had shattered.  I looked up and over at Pat who just looked at me with a completely straight face and said, "They're not supposed to do that".

I need to also mention several youtuber's like Daniel Lea, Alec Steele, Mark Asprey(who I also have a few books from),  Torborn Ahman, Brian Brazael and a host of others.  Theirs and others offering up their demonstrations and advice for free has been a boon for starting smiths who can't afford to travel where most of the schools are.

 

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Please allow us to interview YOU.
The following questions are sample questions, and are simply a place to start the interview.

1) Name: Layne Hellickson
2) Location: Elizabeth CO
3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make.

I have a few knives in the works. I have made branding irons (branded letters in the bar and cabinets from old barn wood in my basement, had most of the alphabet and my son took them to a friend's place and left them there). 

4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing

I grew up on a farm in NE Montana and my dad was always working on machinery around the shop. I guess my first blacksmith project was in 7th grade during shop class, I made a flat screwdriver that I gave to my dad for Father's Day.


5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil,

My dad's anvil that was in his shop, then found a small one (~50#) for myself in a Pawn shop.


6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks,

I made a knife about 15 years ago, heated with a rosebud on a O/A torch ... after that I found plans for a propane forge and my dad made it for me.

7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft

My dad, he enjoys fabricating things and has made some me a forge and press that are in my work shop (I used to press to make a billet of Damascus and made rings for my wife and I ... I will use the rest of that billet some day!)


8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing

I have always been interested in it and wanted to make knives. 


9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop

Hmmm... not sure, probably my wire welder (one of my dad's neighbors was getting a new one and sold it to him for $100 - we had been looking for one for years)

10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing

I guess the best advice I have seen here is "Get started!" ... it is amazing how few tools it takes if you are interested in it


11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing

I am really amazed by how open and encouraging so many people are in this trade; keep it up!


12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith.

I went to a knife making gathering in Western Montana with my dad about 4 years ago. They made a can of damascus; that was really interesting. I want to learn to do that someday!

Please add any thing we may have missed or should have asked.

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1) Name

Marc
2) Location

Sydney Australia
3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make.

Haven't re-started yet, just getting ready.
4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing

My father had an antique shop and he would commission local blacksmith to forge decorative pieces, beds, tables, lamps, chandeliers and sold them in his shop alongside the antique paraphernalia. He soon realised the market was good and started his own smithy. He was no smith, in fact he had 5 thumbs in each hand, but hired a couple of blacksmith and got me at age 15 to learn with them.  I learned the trade and worked making all sort of items for some 10 years. Life got in the way after that.


5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil,

100k Kohlswa
6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks,
German made coal forge with pedal driven blower. 
7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft

My father.

8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing.

No change, always liked it.
9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop.

Never used a power hammer but sure would like to have a go. Mig welding beats transformer stick welding hands down, however I still have my trusty 3phase Lincoln bullet welder
10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing.

Things are different from my days as a professional blacksmith and I have more years behind a computer than I had at the anvil, but as with any serious hobby or business, before you start, do some research, check out others, ask question and then find your own way. Only way to learn.
11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing.

Well, I probably need to receive more advice then I can give, but for what it's worth, if you are a one man show, don't compete with price, rather be different and unique. 

12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith.

At age 15, my blacksmith master made an ashtray for my mother's birthday (ashtrays was a common gift then). It was a grapevine leaf shaped to perfection. 

I decided then to make something I would give to my future wife if I ever married.

I spent the next year forging a miniature chest a bit every day. I gave the chest to my wife 10 years later.

Please add any thing we may have missed or should have asked.

What would you like to forge, something you have never attempted?

For me there are two things I like to try as soon as I get my new workshop going.

One is a rose forged out of one piece of steel. 

Another is a set of chess figurines. 

  •  

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1) Tom Chitwood
2) Pine Knot, KY
3) I have been making knives, by stock removal, for a little over a year now

4) I haven't started blacksmithing yet
5) I had a railroad track, but now have a 100 lb. anvil with the horn broken off.
6) I currently use a propane coffee can forge to harden steel
7) I have met Wayne Coe and know that he will help with any questions I come up with
8) I want to be able to forge knives, axes and tools
9) My 2x72 Grinder has made shop work easier

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