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I Forge Iron

What has become of Jake Pogrebinsky


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I was watching an episode of Yukon Man on the Discovery channel last night.  It was about catching fish on the Yukon River and preserving them by smoking for the winter to feed the families and the dogs.  I got to thinking about Jake and how he lived the life.


I too always enjoyed reading his posts.  He was/is an accomplished blacksmith.  Just curious.

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he absolutely is an accomplished smith and a most wonderful human being :)!  and the forum is more dull without him ...  im in contact with him, and he is doing fine, he is on other work at the moment, all kinds of clever things, so thats probably why he is not posting. i'll tell him you were asking :)!! 

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Friends!Beth has alerted me to this thread,and i'm much flattered by everyone's attention,though have precious little to say for myself...

Last time that i've posted here on IFI was a year ago,during my last,and final attempt to penetrate the Great Indifference that surrounds Forging today,in most places.
In that attempt i've spent about 7-8 months forging a variety of objects,in preparation for a craft show being sponsored by the Museum of the North,at the U.of Alaska,Fairbanks.
The result was pathetic-a couple of hundred of totally casual,indifferent visitors,shopping for a $5 dog-sitter gifts,the only thing that was sold was a $24 wall-hook,and even that had that pity-tinged flavor.
That 24 dollars has become the final figure for my (monetary)earnings that annum,and there i was,in the city,penniless,among the ruins of yet another set of castles drawn on air.
However,that wasn't the most disappointing part:In preparing for the event,among other ideas and directions in forging,there was a brief exploration into the Gothic work,in which i was assisted by many,chiefly the venerable John B,who went through much trouble helping with all the advice on history,and culture,and much more involved.He even sent a couple of the original fragments,removed during the restoration of the historic ironwork in an old London church.
These fragments symbolised the entire reason,my intended purpose for being there at all,doing what i was doing-an attempt to remind the People about the Forged Ironwork,it's importance,and utility,and beauty,in the history of architecture and design.
So,the starving practitioners of the heritage crafts aside,i attempted to introduce this educational element into the display of forged objects.And this too has attracted precious little attention,and many fewer questions that i so fervently wished for.
Simply put,it was all another silly,quixotic flop.
Afterwards,the forgings were dumped off at a friends gallery,at discounted prices,and i crawled back downriver,with no plans to continue forging.
During the subsequent spring/summer/fall i tried to honor what few outstanding orders i've had left,accepting no new ones,till what was left of my being a blacksmith was one poor village kid still coming for lessons once a week(didn't have the heart to turn him away).
Early this fall,for reasons sundry and varied,i've lost my access to the establishment in Galena,and no longer have a base there.I'm now a true river-rat,with nothing tying me back to any organised human community.

But I'm in Fairbanks again this winter,for reasons having nothing to do with...anything,really,just being nomadic.
And suddenly,here's an e-mail from the Museum,saying that they've applied for,and have recieved a grant,to purchase some of those last year's forgings for their permanent collection.
Among the two pieces is that Gothic-themed job.
I'm just about to go there for an interview,and to give them more information on the materials,the history,et c.,on the Whys and the Wherefores of my forging,and forging in general.
I'm thinking Very hard on what to say,and how to best emphasise the point that it was a collaboration with John B and others,that Blacksmithing is a Continuity,a tradition as old and older then literacy,and was never done in a vacuum by one craftsman,but was a great,spreading root-system underlying the culture...
(And that it's a part of the reason why i,for one,would never agree to reduce it to a method of producing those cheap,over-simplified doo-dahs that the populace(thinks that it)wants...).
I've some other interesting things in the works here,potentially,some having to do with forging,even(other with use of forged tools in construction of log and timber buildings),but i'll tell about them when,and if,they ever come to pass.It leaves a painful void in my very soul to talk about the projects that may never come to be,as well as post on here(and other resourses),when i'm not actually Doing stuff...
Thus the silences,often very protracted.
If i go completely silent,that simply means that i'm not doing anything other than surviving...
So,thanks,friends,there's life in the old rootball yet,(but barely).And all the VERY best to everyone!

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Jake - I have learned some great things from you!!!.
First of all - was a wall hook that I had seen while searching the net for blacksmithing related items(made from a 10" nail). I had saved that picture and years later, after I found out it was "you" that made the one in the picture I had saved many years before - sparked me to make one myself. This had all come to light, after you had started the -
"Of Shoes,and Ships,and Sealing Wax ..." thread.

Also during your search for your forging answers, - came the Scrolled Heart Flesh Fork of the 18th Century French Style. All this and more info that is contained in the previously mentioned thread, was due to "YOU JAKE" :D I have grown in a forging mentality way, due to your starting that wonderfully informational thread that covers much ground that surrounds forging and your views of exploration in this media form.

Jake - take your break!!! but please dont forget to stop by here once in awhile to share your views on blacksmithing.

Attached are some pictures of the items I talked of that I made that "you" helped me learn from. Thank You Jake for your desire and search of wisdom, I learned from it!!!




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You know Jake; you are not alone in this quest.  Better laid plans of mice and men.  An Idea, a plan, a hope, all the effort and then, not what you thought.  I think many of us have been there.  I know I have.  Good luck to you in your endeavors and just because you are not forging right now doesn’t mean you can’t post.  I for one am interested in your life. I still think you ought to write a book.

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THANKS,to all you good folks,it's very heart-warming to be so kindly remembered.

It is the forgework that unites us here,and it's only natural that one goes to ground when prevented from the actual practice of it.

Extremely gratifying to even think that one may've helped by inspiring someone(EXCELLENT job on that fork,Jeremy,such careful craftsmanship...I need to learn that from you,some day!).

I'll be,probably,setting up a forge again someday,in my new camp,but it'll take a while,as the primary buildings,the cabin and the cache,will have to be built first;of course,chances are,that i'll be incommunicado then,simply too far from the internet or phone.

Bryan,i do apologise for staying out of touch,it's ridiculous,living in the same small town!

I've initially came out to do a small const.job,and was very busy remembering how to be a sub,again,then the town whirlpool had me,i've not even visited all the old metalworking haunts in town(yet);but hear that you guys at Mark's have gone through the entire forged knife sequence...

Still very busy(stripping paint off of old aluminun bush-planes),but will creep out of the woodwork,hopefully soon,and try to track you down!

Ciladog,thank you for you vote of confidence,for believing that i could write something that would be interesting to read.I'm afraid that any attempt at this will simply be too stark,the events defining my life being what they are,AND,so closely intertwined with the lives of others,which will pose an entirely separate problem in and of itself.

Hope that your experiments with pattern-welding chain are going swell!You.like Jeremy and many others on here,are (enviably) methodical and systematic about it,great stuff,the last i've seen it! 

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No problem at all my friend.  Yes, at Marks we did do a group knife.  It was very enlightening and we had a good group for each meeting.  I have missed the last two due to my own issues with time management.  But, I will be at the Feb. meeting with out fail.  I sent you an email and it has my number in it.  Call anytime.  And if you don't have what you need here in town let me know and I'll get you over to my shop.  We will need to put in a wood stove.  But that would be good motivation for me to get it done. 

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  • 3 years later...

Hi Jake.

I am new to this forum and have never heard of you and your adventures.

Never seen your work nor your face, but if this writing is what you can do in a simple post and if you have some stories to tell ... please ... write a book about them. That would be a lasting legacy just as many other creations can be. 

Stick around and do tell your story, you can always change the name and places at will. You are a better wordsmith than you think.

 There is an audience out there hungry for real life experience in any shape or form you can produce it.

Kind regards




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