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I Forge Iron

Greetings From West Virginia!

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Hello everybody,


  I would first like to introduce myself. My name is Will, and I (s well as a good friend of mine) seem to have been bitten by an iron bug and have come here to learn as well as post updates on our journey and lessons learned in the ancient, but seeminly forgotten by many...art of Blacksmithing.


  Neither I nor my friend have any experience in this field nor does any close family, friends... so you all here on this forum, you are our guide and teacher (as well as fellow aqcuaintences) in this first step, as well as many more to come. I will be doing my best to ensure that I don't post or ask anything that hasn't been spoken of before. There is a ton of information on this site in which I can answer most if not all of my questions, but as for personal thoughts and input not mentioned or resolved, I will not hesitate to ask (as we all know, you can't get an answer if you just don't ask! :P)


  Now more on my (our) current state. Neither of us have any of the proper tools or space as of yet. For us, this is a chance to immerse ourselves into what we will be getting into before we dive headfirst. Our goal is to get started into blacksmithing as merely a useful hobby. We don't need a full on indoor blacksmith's shop with all the works and our entire savings dumped into something we (for now) only want to to for fun as well as for basic smithing (hand tools, knives and simple pieces that aid in everyday life and use). We both have a facsination and passion for excercising our primitive nature. We love the woods, the smell of a simple fire and use of hand powered tools...in other words, everything revolving around this art makes us drool at the thought of someday mastering it's uses.


  The best idea I can give you for what we are looking for as of now, is to start with the simplest and most basic tools and equipment required to get started. Preferrably building our own, or finding a suitable substitute for an anvil as well as starting with a "ground forge" (just an earthen pit and piping with either a blower or simple bellows). This is obviously not the best, easiest or safest way to start...but we are safety consious and as for me, I feel that starting from that, will allow us to better understand the history as well as better understand what we need and why later on.

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Welcome aboard Will and friend, glad to have you. . . Two.


The blacksmith's craft is far from lost or forgotten, it isn't THE industrial standard as it was but it's still far from dead. Some 80,000 members in around 120 countries here is testimony to that.


A good place to start is grab a comfy chair, a lunch and something to drink and start reading. It's hard to break into a craft without an idea of what to ask and enough of a handle to understand answers. the next recommendation I have is for you guys to hook up with the local blacksmithing organization. If you go to IFI home page and scroll to the bottom you'll find the regional organizations. Find the link to the one nearest to you and start reading. There will be an event's and meeting calendar start going to meetings, get to know the guys and you'll be farther ahead in days than weeks or months figuring it out yourselves.


Before you start trying to do things the way they were done in the far past you need to develop the skills. It isn't the tools that do the work, they're just extension of your hands and minds. Without human direction they're just highly refined dirt. Nothing wrong with ground forges, lots of us have used them, still do on occasion boulders as anvils work just fine as do stones for hammers and split sticks for tongs.


All that's entirely doable and at times fun, I've won a few beers in fact. however, there's an even better reason to use modern(ish) tools and equipment, they work better. doing it the "OLD" way is a popular fantasy of newcomers to the craft and what the heck why not. It isn't practical and there's nothing particularly saleable about it but what the hey, it's your "bliss" have at it.


Hey, I'm not trying to pop any balloons, lots of folk have the same thoughts, some even do it that way.


Frosty The Lucky.

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