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I Forge Iron

At what point are you considered a Blacksmith/Bladesmith?

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I also like the distinctions made here of hobby smith vs master smith. I farm 3000 acres, but would not call myself more of a farmer than someone who tends an acre garden. The level of attention to detail is important. I have been in awe of a small flower bed while driving a 24' field cultivator to its next destination. I have also been in awe of the projects I've seen on this site, with no knowledge of the makers level of expertise. Every occupation, and everyone's shop for that matter, turns out it's beauties and it's clunkers.
I will continue to be in awe, while working hard toward being a better smith.

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Actually you may call yourself anything you wish, at least here in America. Wot you title yourself with may in fact be far from the truth but is self named maybe for fantasy or egotistic reasons. 

The world is littered with folks that do things like that. 

A true craftsman, in spite of how or where they received formal training will produce credentials that in most cases show evidence of the completion of some kind of training and certification. Here if someone has a desire to crawl under horses and trim feet and apply shoes they indeed may do so. School behind them or not. Apprenticeship or not..completion of any program or not. Not sure if this is current but years ago if you shod a horse for money in England and had not gone through a several year program with proper completion including apprenticeship, you could be charged with animal cruelty. 


I think this same line of thinking applies to those who post on this site. Maybe well meaning answers that help whoever posed the question. I think folks that have knowledge and experience applicable to the question are the ones that have well defined answers. 

I think it almost appears that some of them google and then spit out solutions that they have never tried. And when I ask some of them about where they got answers or to show us samples of their work they almost never do. On the other hand there are those folks on here that I watch for anything they post and read all of them. They have shown to me at least that they post where they have skills to support and experience to back up answers or thoughts. I try and add something to a thread if I know something I have will help in that thread. When I do post with a help offer it is not from information I read on here,,unless I have actually used that information and it worked for me. 

If anyone sees me post in a thread and would like me to 'splain why I feel qualified to do that I will gladly spell it out as best I can.

Either in the thread or with a pm if you wish.

Guess this takes us right back to this thread. If you have 'puter and are a member you may post here. You may pass on wotever you wish on this site from the comfort of your favorite armchair. 

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Sorry for the can of worms.  Rich, I think you summed up my thought as to why I don't consider myself a blacksmith. 

Since we really don't have guilds to regulate who makes what it becomes a skill thing.  There are those out there that will smash a piece of metal and make a presentable leaf fob, but that doesn't make them a blacksmith.  (that includes myself) 

As far as obtaining the honor of the Journeyman or Master title, that will always come from our peers.  Thanks everyone, have a happy new year!

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WOW; Rich!

Very well thought out and expressed. I agree!


Most all other posts hit the chisel square on the top also!


I believe the end product of your efforts "Quickly say what would be approperate to call yourself".

Of course; it is also in the eye of the beholder and their personal knowledge and expertise to know exactly what he is looking at. 


This very thread opens doors and windows to the mind of the thought process to what would be correct by some; but not by others!


I will just give myself the title of "Greatful to be associated with all of you"

I give my very best wishes to all of you craftsman at every level and stage of fine craftsmanship that you are striving for!

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I usually just say Im a blacksmith or I do some blacksmithing, just because its easier than explaining that nuances of the title every time. Ive been at it for 2 years and Im barely a metal smasher compared to some of the real blacksmiths out there.


I'll go for that, Daniel.85.  When I come into the house at night, and my face is black, and I smell like smoke (one of those dang charcoal users again!!), I am not a Blacksmith. I am however, a Journeyman metal manipulator, very narrowly specialized, and never satisfied with the paltry knowledge I have gained in 55 years of living. 


My daughter's Huge dog calls me master,  I may have to be content with that.


I would love to be certified beyond the basic-basic 'he didn't poke his eye out' certificate I have earned so far, as these certifications have value in establishing a standard of competence more tangible than having 'stayed at Holiday Inn'.  Alas, not soon enough. Some of us are just too far out in the 'Wilderness', so to speak, to get that paper.


However, The Art and Science of Blacksmithing is a wild passion and obsession that runs through my veins - and if my loved ones find me in the forge, slumped over the anvil with a smile on my dirty face:  I won't be able to correct them when they say, "He was a Blacksmith!"


I love this Community, Robert L. Taylor

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(A blacksmith is a metalsmith who creates objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal by using tools to hammer, bend, and cut (cf. whitesmith). Blacksmiths produce objects such as gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculpture, tools, agricultural implements, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils, and weapons.

While there are many people who work with metal such as farriers, wheelwrights, and armorers, the blacksmith had a general knowledge of how to make and repair many things, from the most complex of weapons and armor to simple things like nails or lengths of chain.) That's Wikipedia's definition and in short a blacksmith works black metal ie steel/wrought iron. I feel you call yourself by what you are, meaning a hobbyist, or professional with varying degrees of the professional side (apprentice, tradesmen, journeyman. And master) i feel you can call yourself a hobbyist blacksmith when you actually dedicate yourself to the hobby and learned the terms, tools and safety then spent time at the forge several times and plan on doing it many times to come. You can consider yourself a professional blacksmith (or just blacksmith for short) when you do it as a profession. You dont have to be good at it to use the title (met police officers who are bad at their job but are still called police officers). I do smithing as a full time profession with little or no help from the owner on my projects so when i fill out forms and they ask for job title i fill in blacksmith. Dont put alot of thought into what to call yourself, just put alot of thought into what you do.

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Greetings All   Its time...


The word blacksmith was well defined by Wikipedia..  Thank you JG for posting...     The ever changing roll of a blacksmith has evolved from an ironmonger through the iron age and in this country with the western movement a very utilitarian individual.  His duties changed on a daily basis.. He tended and cared for live stock, repaired and made wagons, farm equipment, and all the needs in metal for day to day life at the time. Not to mention the occasional tooth removal because he was able to make the tools to accomplish the task.  Moving on to become a machine and auto mechanic.  Today we share what I think is one of  the closest most sharing group of people who have the same passion with iron.

In my past 40 years of metal work I have studied with the best of the best blacksmiths ....  Watched on occasion a professional flounder his demo and a missed forge weld by a smith who I am sure has done thousands..   Go figure..  I have made a good living as a shop owner and have had other notable blacksmiths bring me a project to complete that I had the equipment and knowledge to complete.. 

    It does not matter what you call yourself or who can make the best leaf , hook or hammer.  What matters is what you do to learn and share what we all love..... BLACKSMITHING..  

   I don't know what it takes to become a card carrying blacksmith but when asked if I am a blacksmith I tilt my head ,  smile,  and say  WORKING ON IT


    My 2c


Forge on and make beautiful things


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  • 2 weeks later...
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(A blacksmith is a metalsmith who creates objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal by using tools to hammer, bend, and cut (cf. whitesmith). Blacksmiths produce objects such as gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculpture, tools, agricultural implements, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils, and weapons.
 Dont put alot of thought into what to call yourself, just put alot of thought into what you do.




thats it right there

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I feel comfortable calling myself an Amateur Blacksmith.  I think it serves as a fairly universal disclaimer as well as concedes to my much more experienced peers that I understand my seniority.  That said, if I made a living doing it, I would consider myself a blacksmith, by trade.


Should I take courses, apprenticeship, etc, I assume it would come with some kind of prefix.  Similar to "Professional Engineer" or "Licensed Electrician", or "Journeyman Blacksmith".  Without some kind of sanctioning body to bestow such a prefix upon me, I would never feel right calling myself such.


Regardless, personally I don't put much weight behind such standards or earned prefixes beyond the fact that the possessor of such completed whatever was required of him/her to receive it.  Almost universally, to earn any degree or prefix of any kind one must do specifically what they are told to by their teachers and success is nearly a guarantee.  Performing a learned task or say, calculating a learned set of equations, speaks volumes about what you can do when given direction, but nothing about what you can do on your own.  For the most part all any prefix or suffix does is tell potential clients, customers, and employers that should you choose to be a good worker, you can perform well as part of their team.  


"You can send a man to college, but you cannot make him think"


Should I have the means or time or opportunity to pursue any formal education in blacksmithing, I would jump at the chance, primarily for the education.  The titles themselves will mean little to the people I'd like to work with or for, I'd still have to put up or shut up.


What does speak volumes about somebody is the caliber of their work, but again, this is subjective.  In the end the only earthly judge who matters is the one signing the front of your check, be that your employer, customer, or client.


All that said, there are a few very popular members of the smithing community who personally stick out to me as people who will have had a great impact on the craft and will continue to have a large impact even after they are done, and I don't know their official titles or prefixes or even how they all make their livings, and they range in age from not legal to drive in some states to legal to retire twice anywhere, and what makes them special is not their work (while it is often stunning), but their teachings.  Without them, I wouldn't have even known where to start.



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I would say you can be what you want, it just depends if you are good or not.  With freedom of expression, you can build a lego castle and call yourself an engineer. But are you good? Do you have the requirements to be one? 

And like others have said. Blacksmiths don't really have degrees to be considered a registered blacksmith (to my knowledge). You can call yourself a writer, but can you write well? You can call yourself an artist, but can you draw well? So I can say confidently that you can call yourself what you want, it is just whether you are good or not.

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