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Interview with a blacksmith

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1) Bobby Santore
2) Syracuse, NY
3) Just starting out with blacksmithing, but I've been trying to make some tooling to build up skills. I started metalworking with jewelry (mostly copper).

4) I started out a few months ago
5) A plate of steel I scrapped off an abandoned railroad and affixed to a 4x4 sunk into a bucket of concrete (it's really awful)
6) My first forge was (is?) a wooden crate that I lined with cinder blocks and a cat litter/ plaster mix it's falling apart after a few months, so I think it's time to get to #2

7) youtube for sure, a buddy of mine started with me and we try to keep in touch about it, and I met a couple local guys, who have all been very accommodating and nice
8) I have yet to have an attitude changing event, but right now I like the craft
9) an angle grinder

10) find local smiths, there is nothing like having a couple guys to hang out with and just talk shop, they will give you some of the best advice, and always seem to be willing to share in my experience.
11) Be open to newcomers, the only way to keep the craft going is to help out the new guys.
12) I have lit myself on fire twice (thank god for good ppe)


1) Bobby Santore
2) Syracuse, NY
3) Just starting out with blacksmithing, but I've been trying to make some tooling to build up skills. I started metalworking with jewelry (mostly copper).

4) I started out a few months ago
5) A plate of steel I scrapped off an abandoned railroad and affixed to a 4x4 sunk into a bucket of concrete (it's really awful)
6) My first forge was (is?) a wooden crate that I lined with cinder blocks and a cat litter/ plaster mix it's falling apart after a few months, so I think it's time to get to #2

7) youtube for sure, a buddy of mine started with me and we try to keep in touch about it, and I met a couple local guys, who have all been very accommodating and nice
8) I have yet to have an attitude changing event, but right now I like the craft
9) an angle grinder

10) find local smiths, there is nothing like having a couple guys to hang out with and just talk shop, they will give you some of the best advice, and always seem to be willing to share in my experience.
11) Be open to newcomers, the only way to keep the craft going is to help out the new guys.
12) I have lit myself on fire twice (thank god for good ppe)

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1) Name

Serendipitious D. Critter (Scritter)


2) Location

Leander, Texas - NW of Austin.


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

Not much, yet... I started shoeing school a LONG time ago and had to quit due to a shattered elbow....not funny.!  I ended up a welder/tin bender for 2 hitches in the USAF. I do some corrective farrier work and buggy hardware repair locally - I've been playing with scrap aluminum for the last couple of years.  That is as close as I've gotten to smithing in a long time, I'm hoping to put together a hobby forge and learn some more fabrication,  I've always liked doing things from 'scratch',  really being able to say "I made that".

4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing

My mom was a jeweler and lapidary person, I loved what she did but I'm more off an engineer than an artist - u crave the practical.


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

I currently use a piece of RR track and a very large oak stump. The stump works better than the track iron, it's harder!


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

I tried cast a gumball machine trinket for my Dad's keychain as a gift and failed when I got caught trying to use Nichrome wire from an old kiln in a barbeque "hibachi" and totally fried our breaker box.... Might first forge waa a screaming failure. (The rest of the process wouldn't have been much better as I was looking to use a chunk of high carbon stainless for my casting,  along with a soup can of cement instead of plaster for my mold)


7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft

No one really, just the people who raised me up to learn as much as you can about anything that grabs your attention.


8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing

Figuring out that humanities successes are based on metals, using and altering them.


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

My first well balanced hammer and well built vice. 

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

As with anything, do it right and you'll do it well, short cuts make for long delays.


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

Keep pounding!


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

......maybe by this time next year...

 

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1) Name: David (Dave) Dodson
2) Location: Lewisburg/Columbia, Tennessee
3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make.

* Knifes / Metal Art

4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing

* Right after I was Medical Retired from the US Army, I found myself bored out of my mind.  Then, someone said: "You should makes knifes, and learn how to do it with Damascus."  Ever since, I've been hooked!


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

My first anvil was an old Civil War Era Anvil, suffering from an obvious deformation / bow in the center of the hammer zone.


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

Yep, hole in the ground!  I used a 50 gallon drum, with an arch cut from the bottom.  I made a tuyere from the ground and even though I used Black Locust, it took forever to heat steel until I learned about the heat produced from COAL.  


7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft

My parents have a farm in Culleoka, TN, and they encouraged me teeth and nail.  Needless to say, my X-wife was furious with my new found love of making knifes, so I only put up with this for a few more months....


8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing

I fall in love with it daily, so it's an evolution!


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

Ha!  Anything I can get my hands on or is quality.  I am about to build me a major shop and include some very nice essential items all Smith's need.  Therefore, I look forward to the future and the products I produce!!
  
10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing

Learn...Learn...Learn...and never quit!  Network, make friends, do favors, research, try out anything!  Maintain a standard and be good to the friends you make!  
 

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

The art of being a Blacksmith is an antique art; therefore, lets keep the coals hot and continue to share and learn the legendary art!


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

While I may not see the art in products I produce, I am simply amazed how others view my pieces pale to my opinion.  My most major appreciation from the pieces I produce are the smiles and 'thank yous' I receive when I give these products as a present!  

I look forward to interacting with everyone and learning precious skills along the way!!

Dave

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1) Name,  Jim Peace

2) Location,  Prague, Oklahoma

3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make,  I don't have a certain genre of work as of yet, it's just a hobby I reckon. I just want to learn and I'm trying to make tools right now.

4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing,   I used to watch a Ferrier when I was a young adult and I've saw a bit of it at the county fairs. Been reading and studying on the art for about a year.Finally started hands on a month ago.

5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil,     An 18 in. piece of R/R track I got from my brother.

6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks,  I purchased a champion forge and blower. I went through it and refurbished everything, fixed what needed fixin. Now I think it works real good, though i do believe it needs an upgrade.

8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing,  Our house went and blew away in the 03 tornado in Moore, Ok.so we moved and built a house on some land. I finally got to build the shop I've always wanted.

9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop ,  I bought a 100 # anvil from the local ferrier supply and I learned how to dress my hammers.

10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing,   I don't have the knowledge to be giving advice. But I would just say have fun and don't beat the crap out of your metal.  Soon enough you will learn metal really will burn up and disappear.

11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing,  Well if their already smithing,  they know more about it than I do. Burns are painful.

12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith.  I've met some really cool people. I have found it to be a very theraputic pastime. I also learned an interesting lesson about a pair of nice snug fitting new gloves I bought to use forging.

If you do something stupid  like holding a piece of hot metal to long. When the leather gloves start burning your fingers you CAN NOT get them off fast enough, it's already to late.The burns don't blister on top of the skin, the gloves work and protect your fingers from direct contact with the hot metal . The blisters though are deep under the layers of your skin. oh yea IT HURTS   lol
 

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1) Francesco Muci
2) Saint Petersburg, Florida
3) I am mostly a bladesmith but I am working my way into blacksmithing. Because, let's say it, us bladesmiths don't really know how to move metal.. :rolleyes:

4) I started pounding metal about 12 yeats ago.
5) My first anvil was one of those iron weight used in front of tractors to balance when towing big machinery...
6) my first forge was a metal wheel barrel powered by a fan to which I taped a big plastic bag to convey the air to a metal chimney pipe going on the wood fire.  Followed by a hole in the ground. 

7) My big brother joined me as soon as he heard me hammering stuff. We then built our first forge, epic fail. Then we bought one off a bladesmith who was retiring. Then the fun really started...

8) Not sure what this question means... my attitude about blacksmithing has been always the same. Hammering hot metal and Seeing people hammering hot metal always gave me great joy... but if you mean what sparked my interest... it might have been the first scene from the movie "Conan the Barbarian"...

9) I could say my press... but really it is my Anvil. I am learning how to use it properly, with proper techniques and that really changed my life...

10) Want to start blacksmithing? Get yourself a cube of metal. Mild steel would work just fine at the beginning, as a matter of fact it is probably even better because you won't risk dangerous metal chips flying at great speed into you. You can even have a local waterjet company cut a square hole in it for future hardy tools, you will find that block of steel very useful as a striking anvil in the future. Get a comfy hammer (size don't matter at the beginning) and start using anything, even a bbq grill with a hair dryer attached. Start hammering. Have fun.
11) Take the time to learn proper techniques. It is more worth it than buying expensive machinery. Expensive machinery helps too though...
12) It is a difficult question because lots of interesting things happened to me since I started. But I think most of all, it would be discovering how nice and good hearted is the blacksmith community. @BIGGUNDOCTOR being one of my favourite blacksmithing people. Great person, great heart. Thank you man for all the help!

 

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Any time Francesco, I was happy to be able to help you. I miss having you in the area. 

 

1) Name- Walter Hess
2) Location- Moapa Valley NV
3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make.- Hobbyist, so I just play around mostly. Campfire forks, camp knives, Halloween costume pieces. 

4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing - My machinist Dad was always learning throughout his life and he got an interest in blacksmithing in 1977


5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil, - A friend found us a 260# Fisher for $250 up in Lincoln CA. 


6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, campfire, brake drum, stacked bricks,- We located a Champion forge in a local antique store outside lot buried in the dirt. We bought it along with a 6" Iron City post vise and IIRC a couple of tongs for $70.

7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft- - Dad, he was my smithing partner. I miss him greatly. Also Dave Nourout, he was our smithing instructor at the community college, and he is an excellent smith. 


8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing - Moving to NV and hanging out in the 18b Arts District of Las Vegas. I have always been artistic and creative. That combined with finding Iforgeiron.com got me to the point where I set my smithing equipment back up after a very long hiatus (15-20 years). I do not get out there anywhere near as much as I want to, but the fire has been rekindled.  The new job allows me more home time, so maybe 2018 is the year I get more forge time. 


9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop - I don't have one yet, but I would like a power hammer, because I would like to do some larger pieces. 

10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing - Don't get caught up in the hype. You do not need a London pattern anvil to be a smith, you do not need to spend thousands of dollars to be a smith, you do not need all of the cool looking tools (swage blocks, cone mandrels,etc) to be a smith. All you need is a fire, a hammer, something to hammer upon, and some metal to make something with. 


11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing - Have fun, and encourage those who want to learn.


12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith. - I have met some very talented , and nice individuals. 
 

 

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1) Name, -Hansdieter Gunar Richter (no Nick name no hiding, just me)

2) Location,  -Gingelom Belgium, small village in-between millions of fruit trees

3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make, -everything from fences, to blades, tools, chandeliers and art work with more or less success or satisfaction

4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing, -1984, a heavy 12 week blacksmith class was part of my professional education/examination as all-round maintenance mechanic 

5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil, -an 250lbs ……….  anvil in class German pattern, later a 400lbs London pattern anvil on the ship warf I take over from the Warf landlord     

6) Tell us about your first forge, -Solid fuel coal cokes forge 4 under 1 hut during class, same forge on the warf with an incredible worn out and noisy blower

7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft, -my dad, hi was before his study for engineer a lock smith and mechanic too, hi teach me how to make my first own lock and conventional key and shows me many skills I still use   

8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing, -all this young guy’s joined and assists me during the years and willing to start the fight against a hot piece of iron

9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop , -my 55lbs ‘Larry Zoeller style’ power hammer make the solo work so much easier when you’re missing this third hand. Also my way to deal with a midlife crisis and realise a boys dream design/build the hammer, instead to buy a Harley Davidson or looking for a new 25 y/o girlfriend  -_-  

10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing, -look for a mentor/teacher to work with, remember this will in some cases a symbiosis (after all hi is looking for this third hand too) and even hi isn’t so skilled as some of the comurgons here, remember “between all the blinds, ….. ‘one eye’     is a king”    

11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing, -still learning (by doing) every day (setup gas burner, configuration melting furnace an PH) and not in a position to give any advice to my fellow blacksmiths. Knowing to much about my own shortcomings and points to improve  :rolleyes: 

12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith.   -being part of several social projects to reintegrate unemployed or difficult/low educated youngsters back into work process and society (busyness therapy/anti aggression, ship building projects of historic vessels)

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1 minute ago, Hans Richter said:

looking for a new 25 y/o girlfriend

My anvil is my 185-year-old girlfriend. She's cold, but she's solid.

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