Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Building up a shop and skill, on video.

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone first post here. I am a 23 y/o college student currently going to a community college for welding. I just recently got into blacksmithing, and I thought I would document the building up of my metal shop. http://www.youtube.c...1z?feature=mhee Let me know what you guys think. Honesty is appreciated. Anyway, Ill see you guys around the forum!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Video 1
Get a tripod - and use it. Plan out what you want the viewer to see. Then show the viewer in an organized manner the story you want to tell.

Video 2
Wear ear plugs when operating a grinder for both the protection from noise and protection of foreign matter getting into the ear. Same with welding, the ear plugs keep the noise down and sputter balls out of the ears.

Video 3
Charcoal bricketes are for grilling stakes, not forging. Get some real charcoal, coal, or other solid fuel. You fire ball should be about the size of a melon, with additional fuel on top of that. If the iron is not showing good color (say medium red) then it is time to but it back in the fire and heat it back up to forging temperature.

Locate some heavy plate, or other heavy mass from your welding class to use as an anvil. Concrete will spall and throw fragments when heat is applied to it. Please wear eye protection when forging. Find some denim, leather or other suitable material for an apron for both forging and welding. It will more than pay for itself by saving your clothes from sparks and abrasion, as well as keeping your clothes clean(er)

Find a blacksmithing group in your area and attend a couple of meetings. They will be able to jump start your blacksmithing, help locate the tools you need, and answer your questions. Read the IForgeIron forum. It has a wealth of information and many of the questions you will encounter have been discussed before, usually in depth.

It seems you have been bitten by the bug already so welcome to blacksmithing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Glenn. Also do some studying of the tools and process. Buy some blacksmith books and learn from others instead of reinventing the wheel or guessing at what will work. Books have plans for building a good forge and what to use for an anvil. It will make your process so much easier.

Happy Hammering!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well first of all, wow. Really great response from you guys. Ive been keeping my eyes open for a good smithing forum, and I think I found the right one. As a beginner looking for advice, this means a lot to me. THANK YOU! :)

Postleg and Kevan, I updated my profile. I live in the Chicago suburbs, Des Plaines to be exact. If anyone is local that would be great!

Glenn, thanks for the advice man. I knew I was going to hear about safety issues, and I will heed your advice. My vids are pretty thrown together...I'm actually thinking about starting over on a new channel, but maybe not. What do you think? I thought the vids would be a cool thing to do, but its pointless if nobodys going to watch them. Maybe I'll just keep the channel but put more planning into the next videos. As for the charcoal, I know its not what should be used, but I just dont have access to anything else at the moment. Again, thanks for the knowledge!

Randy and Stewart, Im always looking for more info on the art. Im the "sponge." Stewart, I will def. check out those books. The seem like a pleasure to read. As soon as I get the materials and a welder, I plan on putting together a brake drum forge (or something similar). Hell maybe I could weld it at school. The forge I threw together in the videos was just out of frustration honestly, and it seems to work for the small things I'm experimenting with. A leg vice would be GREAT, haha. I am def going to check out some local BSers, I think there is a group in southern IL by St Louis, but thats a good 300 miles away. Anything in the Chicagoland area? I will be in the chatroom tonight lurking and hopefully asking a few questions. Thanks Randy!

Thomas, I love watching vids of the experts. I also like watching beginners too, though. That is how I learned a lot of what I know (which isnt much). My videos are meant as more of a way of other aspiring blacksmiths to watch and connect with another beginner. I think it would be a good way of exchanging ideas and suggestions between more experienced people and people like me too. Im not trying to "defend" my videos or anything Im just trying to explain why Im making em. As always Im more than open to any suggestions that you or anyone else has for my vids!

Thanks everyone for all the help for this newbie! Looking forward to seeing you all around! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like to point new smiths in this direction here is a free book that you can print out it is a great resource and well put together. Like the other said find a blacksmithing group great way to find tools and info it is good to have a mentor in your area


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like to point new smiths in this direction here is a free book that you can print out it is a great resource and well put together. Like the other said find a blacksmithing group great way to find tools and info it is good to have a mentor in your area http://www.metalwebnews.org/ftp/blacksmith-practice.pdf

Thanks! I'll check it out now.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is a problem that these videos don't have people adhearing to safety measures whilst learning for themselves.

I understand that it is really cool to watch somone "re-discover" blacksmithing however, it only adds to the thousands of other "blacksmithing" videos on youtube where kids doing the same stuff pass out allot of bad advice, dangerous tips and normally no real information.

Document your startup forge by all means - Just remember that people like yourself who are keen to learn often use youtube as a resource for information and can find many of these videos miss-leading, often in dangerous ways.

Glen covered nicely all the majour points ref the videos - but i felt it important to just add that although your videos may not be suddenly popular - dont think they arent being watched, just gotta take caution in that - a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

When you learn more you will find yourself wondering back through you-tube and face palming at some of the videos "blacksmiths" on youtube put up. Allot are great and really interesting, some however are definatly not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I did not get the sobriquet "Curmudgeon" for nothing!

I've seen a number of videos that basically come down to unskilled people trying to show how one should do something---including one infamous knifemaking one by a fellow who was so clueless as to be dangerous that got quickly pulled after a large number of more expert bladesmiths pointed out that what he was advocating doing could result in serious injury and was NOT the way to do it. (There was a sword making one too that I can recall; so bad as to be hazardous as well.)

The problem is that on the internet people can't really tell if a poster has decades of experience, college classes in metallurgy, and has actually *written* the books on the subject, (cf JPH) or has seen it on Anime and done it in a computer game and so "knows it all".

BTAIM you are welcome to write and post what you wish as long as you do not annoy the moderators! (Of which I am not one on this site.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am by no means a blacksmith nor do I know what I am doing. I will make that clear in the videos I have already put up, and the ones to come. I normally am pretty safety minded with things like this, but its the one time you forget that you get burned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Training Untrained Blacksmiths, by Untrained Blacksmiths.
That somehow does not make sense to me, and never will.

To re-teach a person who has been taught many bad habits and concepts about blacksmithing is very difficult.

The solution is to be taught correctly right from the start.

I used to say “Repetition is the Mother of Skill” and thought I had covered all bases.
But as I was reading a post at one time when someone else was talking about how practice was important.
Then Rich Hale (who is a person I respect and is a highly skilled craftsman) added something like this! “Perfect Practice” …
Now I say that Perfect Practice and Repetition is the Mother of Skill.

Rich emphasized how important it was to do it correctly every time because you are developing muscle memory and habit!

Many people are un-aware of the fundamental training that is required to skillfully and safely apply the necessary skills of the blacksmith craft.

A skilled blacksmith makes forging look easy because his steps have been previously measured and honed with countless hours of training and practice of how and when to apply each basic step in the order of operations to accomplish the desired outcome.

I have often heard people express their reckless (dangerous) and untried opinion that blacksmithing is as simple as “Just Banging Steel”.

For anyone who is un-skilled to teach or imply their knowledge is of benefit to other new people who are learning as well is a dangerous practice.

It would be the same as a person who just graduated with a certificate in a basic course of First Aid to teach Brain Surgery or how to do a Lung Transplant.
It is that far off in my opinion, and they usually do not understand why when you confront them.

If you don’t know, you don’t know! It is said that it takes minutes to learn something, but a lifetime to master it.
Little things mean a lot.
When a person is being taught to be a blacksmith, the instructor takes care of the side issues until the student is capable of applying and integrating them safely along with the new skill they are learning.

Being unaware of the totality of the concept especially safety issues is not an issue. That is until you impose it onto another unaware person.

Until a person can safely identify the dangers of using certain steel material, safe use of tools, safe use of forges (gas and solid fuel), safe ventilation practices, how and when to use personal safety equipment, anvil etiquette, quenching of tube material, and manage many more skills and issues that are blacksmithing related, they should wait until they do before they teach it.

My opinion is not meant to be mean spirited, but when safety is an issue I will speak out every time! – People count!
I wish you the very best as you travel the road of Blacksmithing skills!
Ted Throckmorton

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ted I agree completely. This is a real concern that I understand. However my videos are by no means meant to be instructional (I can see how the third one may have came off that way). I am making them to document the build up of my garage shop. I have now made it clear in them that I am no blacksmith, and these aren't instructional videos. I would hate for anyone to get hurt, that is the last thing that I want.

-Ted, I am sorry if this reads as "smartxxx." I assure you it is not meant to be so. Its always hard to convey they way you mean to say something through type (to me at least).

Edit: Hate to leave my first post off like this. Thank you all so much for your help and encouragement. I am very excited and cant wait to learn more. The few things that I've made so far have really got me going!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You don't need a welder to make a brakedrum forge. You need a brake drum, some black iron pipe fittings, (floor flange, I 3 threaded nipples) some bolts and nuts, preferably stainless steel. Search on here for info there is tons of it.

Yup, but I dont have a brake drum, either :P . The forge I have now is just temporary until I can afford to make myself something a little nicer and user friendly. Trust me though I cant wait to make myself a decent brake drum table forge.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

baker, take advantage of your welding course. Surely your instructor should know some blacksmiths in the area and he can help you make tools for blacksmithing while you practice welding. I can see that you really want to learn. Send me your address and I'll send you a copy of "Edge of the Anvil" by Jack Andrews. I have two. boandlarry@hotmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel that I owe you an explanation.
I sure enjoyed talking with you in the chat room. You are a true gentleman that carries a great and positive learning attitude.

After talking with you, it made me wish I lived closer to you so I could share what I have and enjoy helping you get established with the basics of the craft.

When I wrote my response, it by no means was to imply that you were doing something with any kind of a bad attitude or intent. I realized that you were not fully informed of the whole concept, and how something said or implied may have a lasting effect on a new person who is just getting started into the craft.

My response was actually a knee jerk reaction to a concept.
I do not, and have not ever claimed to be a highly skilled blacksmith. That is because I am not.
But I have been at blacksmithing/welding for about 59 years and have supported my family with the craft full time at times as an occupation, and other times just as a secondary income!
And now due to the years flying by so rapidly, I have worked myself right back to being a "Blacksmith Wannabe" It would be true for me to say that I feel that I know just enough to keep myself entertained.

However, during this period of time I have either seen or heard of very bad things that have happened in blacksmith/welding shops. My mentors over the years gave me stern warnings about seemingly simple small things that may act like a snare trap later if a person was not made aware of them.

I was an investigator for 36 years and have been exposed to all types of accidents. OSHA has also called on me many times to assist them with special types of accidents.

The end result is that by being aware of those kinds of experiences for all of those years produced a strong subconscious attitude and priority of “Safety First” Always.

I hope you would understand that over time we have had many people come onto the site and post information that would eventually lead un-experienced people into problems down the road if they listened to what was said.
An un-experienced person does not know the difference.

I hope this clarified why I may have seemed very opinionated in my post.
Sometime it is difficult express in an appropriate manner about an issue that raises red flags of safety without discouraging a new blacksmith.

I truly wish you the very best as you continue to follow the craft! Ted Throckmorton

PS. Icb! Good on you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

baker, take advantage of your welding course. Surely your instructor should know some blacksmiths in the area and he can help you make tools for blacksmithing while you practice welding. I can see that you really want to learn. Send me your address and I'll send you a copy of "Edge of the Anvil" by Jack Andrews. I have two. boandlarry@hotmail.com

Definitely. I actually haven't started yet, I start in a week. Its seriously all I've been thinking about for a few months. I really cant wait! That book looks really interesting! If you really do have two that would be awesome and much appreciated. I would def be willing to pay for it, but Ill email you about that. Thanks!

Ted, you dont need to explain yourself to me haha. I completely understand. I know where you come from with safety first. I used to fuel aircraft for United (Continental now...) and they drilled safety pretty hard. Ive seen a few people get hurt on the job, and its always terrible. Anyway Ted you've been really encouraging and helpful. As one of the first people I've talked to on the forum youve set a great example as to the type of character I can expect to find here. I look forward to talking with you and everyone else here in the future!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

After this I'll quit bumping this thread. Icb sent me the awesome "Edge of the Anvil," and I had to give him some forum props for that. Thanks again man!

Shown here with some other awesome texts for school. I've never been excited to read a textbook until now. Again thank you to everyone for all of your support and kind words!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My videos are by no means meant to be instructional. I am making them to document the build up of my garage shop. I would hate for anyone to get hurt, that is the last thing that I want.

If you put a disclaimer at the beginning, middle and end, you are still making an instructional video as far as some viewers go. If you want documentation then DO NOT stand in front of the camera. When you do it becomes a documentary and informative to someone because YOU are showing them.

Much like still photography, videography will improve with practice. Remember to throw away (delete) the bad ones, keep the good ones and improve each time you use the camera.

Above all, know your subject. Research, read, study, and learn until you feel comfortable with the subject and how it is to be presented. This presupposes that you have a end product in mind. Write the script. Storyboard the entire process. You may have to shoot the same scene many times (multiple takes) before you get things right. Editing will take the correct takes and compile them into a usable product. Reformat the media and practice some more.

This s intended to be constructive comments, so do not let this discourage you. Take it to heart and improve. Step up to the next level.

Lincoln Electric, Hobart, Miller and others have a vast library on welding and instruction. Add that information to your text book, and take it to class and practice what you have learned. By the time you burn a box of rod (50 pounds) you should have some idea about the process of welding. Buy another box of rod and practice a bit more. (grin)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As someone who has benefited greatly from education and training, ( Degrees in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering ) ... I'd like to point out that all Academic training, is merely the repetition of that which was first "learned" through EXPERIENCE and experimentation.

Don't be afraid to try things, ... just PAY ATTENTION, ... and THINK about the potential consequences of your actions.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...