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I just wanted to introduce myself. I'm Jon from Virginia and I'm an amateur/aspiring hobbyist..at least for now. So far, I don't have much forge time, but I've been lurking here for a few weeks as well as participating on a few different blacksmithing groups on Facebook. I've been a member of Central Va Blacksmith Guild for about 2 months and I highly value and appreciatte the advice and assistance I've received so far. I've also got all the tools I need to get started now, just need to finish some cleanup and restoration of my finds, and set up a home for them.Thanks for having me, I'll post some pictures soon!

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Welcome aboard Jon, glad to have you. I don't know what kind of advice I can offer you already put your general location in the header, hooked up with the regional organization, found your tools and such. <sigh>

 

Pics! I almost forgot pics, we LOVE pics: tools, projects, shop, family, pets, homestead, dinner. . . Most any pics suitable for a family forum are welcome.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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My anvil. It's a 150# Hay-Budden I found at a yard sale advertised on Craigslist. I called the seller and asked if they would be willing to part with the anvil prior to the sale and they said yes!

My first Leg Vise. I got this from a middle aged couple who's kids weren't interested in it. It origianlly belonged to the wifes grandfather. My guild has since kindly asissted in manufacturing a new spring and mount.

I originally came for the forge, but the seller also sold me his previously unadvertised leg vise and post drill for $30 each :-D I've got the forge stripped apart in my shed in th process of being cleaned. It was completely frozen.

 

All in all I've now got the basics to get started. The anvil came with a pair of flat tongs and I've got two cross-peens and a hot punch I picked up at a flea market. I should be able to make most of what I might need at this point with enough proactice. Now I just need a permanent home for my loot, hahah.

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I'd like to move west but I don't think my wife would be very keen heading that far southwest. She already complains that it's too hot in Virginia! Then again, she complains Virginia winters are too cold, haha!

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There's acreage just up the road you can buy, it's not too hot in summer and we have thick clothes commonly available and good heating systems for winter. Point out to her it's easier to get warmer than cooler.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Easier to get warmer than cooler? :0 You can always put enough on but not always take enough off. I know what hot is. I live in central Texas. In 2011 my last football season before I graduated we had days around 104-106 and 50% humidity. :) makes a believer out of you about quality AC haha. However when deer hunting in only 20 degree weather I suddenly find myself wishing for the 105 heat! ;)

(Heat index in my area pushes 115 from time to time, standing next to a forge in that heat hastens me toward building a insulated and cooled shop)

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Ayup, you can only get so naked and you're stuck with the heat. AC is good, I don't know what I'd do without it when it gets over a searing 55f. just terrible, I render over 70f.

 

You guys down there must be just plain NUTS to live in such inhuman heat.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I've never been outside of Texas except in the summer, so idk what cold really is. Haha. It's been in the teens outside and it felt like some kind of divine punishment. How cold does it get where your from Frosty?

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I've never been outside of Texas except in the summer, so idk what cold really is. Haha. It's been in the teens outside and it felt like some kind of divine punishment. How cold does it get where your from Frosty?

 

We have fun razzing folk in the lower 48 about the heat. I have inlaws who live in the south and think 50's is freezing cold. Cold isn't a temperature it's how you feel.

 

Where I live in the Matanuska Susitna Valley we're only about 7-8 crow fly miles from the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet so the temp here is moderated by the ocean. Cook inlet has the second highest tides in North America, The Bay of Fundy being #1. We commonly get -20's but CAN get as cold as -45-50 but it doesn't last and its rare like maybe 2x in the 17 years Deb and I have lived in this house.

 

It's dry here, very dry so air temp is pretty easy to handle so long as the wind isn't blowing. Chill factor makes everything worse. A 40mph wind can drive you into dangerous hypothermia or cause severe frost bite in a matter of minutes. Frost bite can start in seconds on exposed flesh. When I first moved here I had to wonder what was wrong with people, they kept calling a 4-5mph breeze wind. The first windy winter day and understanding bloomed. Thick clothes is one of the two most basic cold weather tricks, the other is stay inside by the stove.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I hear you, I got a buddy in Colorado, I may have to go pay him a visit one of these days. In the coming winter. He promised me a moose hunt. My 300 Win mag has yet to draw blood. So I may just to find out what cold is. However idk if I have the clothes for this. I got cotton thermals. Then fleece sweatpants, and then mossy oak outer denims. I still get cold sitting in a tree in the 20's. Assuming much of this is an anatomical adaptation (like how Inuits faces stay warm even in howling Alaskan winds), I seriously hope we don't do any stationary hunting! :D

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I'd really like to visit Alaska, but I think if I had the option I'd probably take the heat. After being stationed in San Antonio it really wasn't that bad. The dryness is easier to handle than the humidity of Florida anyway. Then again, Forging in Alaska is probably a lot more tolerable than the heat of Texas. Decisions..decisions..

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We moved to central New Mexico from Central OH and were pleasantly surprised to find that both our heating and cooling bills dropped; summers were not much hotter---and the humidity was often in single digits rather than closing in on triple digits. Often a breeze and so feeling OK as long as you are in the shade and guzzling water like the VFD had their hose stuck in your mouth...

Then I started working down at the borderlands; it gets hot down here! heat index of 115? We had a week last year when the straight temps were above 112 every day and more humid than up in the mountains. (Turns out that the local U sends their football players to up where my house is for summer practice...

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Do NOT try to buy cold weather gear to take to Colorado, buy it there. Seriously, you'll be able to buy better cold weather gear at Salvation Army in Co. than at the top dollar outdoor store in Texas. Not taking shots at Texas, they just have no reason to carry COLD weather gear, any more than an Alaskan Sporting goods store would carrying bore hunting gear.f

 

I'll tell you the secret of preventing frost bite to your face, nose, ears, etc. just like the Inuit use right here and now. Just don't tell anybody else, it'll be our secret. (shhhhhh) Cover your face in grease, be it: whale fat, seal oil, bacon, Crisco, Petroleum Jelly, axle, motor oil, lipstick, chaptick, etc. You can of course still freeze your face but it won't be a simple case of frost bite.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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As far as dressing for cold weather, remember the simple phrase: "cotton kills". The attributes that make it great for heat are what make it dangerous in the cold. In cold weather, you don't want the layer against your skin to be cotton; it doesn't do a very good job of wicking the moisture away from your body. You want polyester or wool. I recomend getting thermals from the local army surplus store. 'Should have heavy-weight, full polyester thermals there for about the same or less than any retail sporting goods store will sell thinner blends (varying amounts of cotton & polyester). Also, wool socks that are already in a hunting-friendly color :-).

Now that I've rambled on, a better point to make: cold weather is not very imposing next to a forge...

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