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I Forge Iron

Living In St. Louis


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My name is Scott Streckfuss and I want to blacksmith. :)

I like to play with steel. I enjoy cutting. grinding, and welding it back together so it seems to me that smithing should be the next step.

I own a MIG, cutting tools, grinding tools, an anvil, tongs and hammers yet I have no forge. :(

I am a new father, I have little spare time, and I live in the suburbs. I find these things problematic to my desire to blacksmith but I refuse to let them stop me.

Thats me and my situation in a nutshell.

Hello :D

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Welcome to the group. We've quite a few who are doing this in the suburbs, so tis possible. Might use a charcoal forge (cause you can call it a barbque pit ;) ) or possibly build yourself a propane forge. Good luck, feel free to ask questions. Blacksmithing is more about coaxing the metal to do what you want. hopefully you'll find it a bit more rewarding than how you treat it now. Then again you might want to mix the two as most here do.

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I spent 15 years smithing in the city---you could spit from one house to another!

Suburbs should be easy compared to that...

What you need to watch out for:

Fumes, coal is contra indicated! Charcoal, lump not briquettes will work---it was the fuel used for the first thousand plus years of the iron age and is still used through today. Charcoal forges need lower air flow from a blower and a deeper firepot. Or you can go with a Propane forge, probably the most smithing friendly fuel that exists! (And if they complain you can ask if the hundreds of other propane fueled back yard devices will also be shut down as well...)

Sound: that anvil ringing like a bell may be music to your ears, (while destroying your hearing...), neighbors may get peeved. Silence it by using some of the tricks mentioned on all smithing sites; or get a Fisher anvil, it starts out quiet!

Looks: have your scrap pile hidden from view. Build your forge on a thrown out gas grill cart so it can be "hidden" when not in use. Always have a fire extinguisher in plain sight! (I've never had to use one in over 26 years of smithing; but it makes folk *think* that you are a sane and careful individual---(try not to laugh evilly the first time a forge weld sticks!)---and you can get away with a lot more if you have snowed them that way...)

Social aspects: make friends with your neighbors, give them hand forged trinkets, help them out when you can, (I recently bent 40 pieces of rebar into J stakes to fasten the bottom of their chainlink fence down so their dog couldn't get out from under it---we both profited from that one!). Be aware of their situations: Baby takes a nap at 2pm---good time to take a break yourself! They are having a BBQ with guests, you may not want to hammer for 6 straight hours right next to them.

One aspect I hope you do not have problems with is security. In the city any tool weighing less than 100 pounds was kept in the basement and hauled out for work. I finaly bought an anvil that had the heel broken off that I would leave "out" though it was still chained up...carrying a 91# anvil up and down the ricketty stairs got old... I did get the local teenage "leader" interested in smithing and worked him through several projects---funny grafitti and random damage around my place went WAY down after that. After I moved the detached 70 year old garage mysteriously burned down---when I had no problems smithing in it for 15 years!

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Well met all, I have been lurking and reading for nearly 3 years now on various forums/sites and what not. I think this year will be the "year of the forge" for me. :cool:

I think gas is the most appropriate for my situation, mounted to a hand cart should be ideal. I still haven't decided on whether to build or buy, its not a skill issue so much as a time issue. I don't want to spend the next 6 months fiddling with building a forge, I want to fiddle with using a forge. :)

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Check to see if the local ABANA affiliate has a gas forge building workshop---that's how I did both of mine. Way cheaper than buying one and I got a standard plan that worked from the git-go.

BTW I hope you will plan to go to Quad-State next year, (drink lots of water so all the drooling over the tailgate sales doesn't dehydrate you...), I plan to go from here in NM...

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I've never attended a Blacksmithing event of any sort to be honest, I'd feel like a poser if I didn't at least have a forge.

My list of things to do:

1) Get a Forge
2) Get involved with BAM.
3) Attend the Ozark School of Blacksmithing.
4) Attend Quad-State.
5) Attend a Seminar at Ozark Knife Makers.

Although not necessaroily in that order. It all depends on time.

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#1 Join BAM

There are hammer-ins coming up in Nov, Dec and Jan. There are new members at pretty much every meeting. May be you find your first forge in the back of someone's truck there.

There are three, one day beginner's workshops in Feb and March in Eminence, MO utilizing BAM's Mobile Teaching Station. Price for these workshops is very reasonable.

Join today

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I second Steve's advice here, join BAM. There are many BAM members living in the St. Louis area. There are also several other BAM members on this forum from time to time. The next BAM meeting is in Iowa, and the 2008 meeting shedule hasn't been posted yet, but there are ususally several meetings a year in the St. Louis area.

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