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Hello everyone,


My name is Jonathon, and I'm just wanting to get started with all of this. I'm in the U.S. Army National Guard working in Intelligence and living in Los Angeles, California. I probably seem like the last person that might want to learn something like this, but I find it very interesting and am aware that it has many used. I have never done it before, and don't have any equipment to do it yet, and this is what has brought me here. I'm hoping that I can get some help to get started, and share my adventures with you all, while also helping others with what I learn along the way.

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Check around for a local blacksmithing group. The California Blacksmith Assn is fairly active from what I understand and I bet there are quite a few places out there that do smithing.


Thanks for serving. Also since you are "military" take the opportunity to find out what facilities are available to you either thru the Rec programs or shops on various bases. When we were stationed out near Seattle, our base had a fully equipped wood shop available to all service members, their families as well as civilian contractors on base. Sadly that shop sat almost unused because very few people knew we had it, or that it was available for their use. The sub base near by had a fully equipped auto shop including welders, torches and metal working tools like drill presses. I forget what the near by Bremerton shipyard had available, but you can bet they had a lot of shops with heavy duty metal working tooling.  Also many of the maintenance shops on base were unofficially available.  Most times these shops weren't always used full time. If you knew who to ask, it was often possible to gain access to the shop equipment when they were not using it. Take a case of cold ones and go talk "shop" with some of the guys who weld or run lathes or mills in maintenance and you may find opportunities to make use of equipment so you can build a forge or other things.


Once you get the basics and start forging things, a few hand forged bottle openers, hooks and other gee gaws often can open up a lot of doors. I was looking to get the lower 1/2 of a high pressure cylinder the other day to use as a dishing die. The shop guy at the hydro shop took me over to the office and asked the secretary to take down my info. She seemed a bit put out until I explained what I wanted and offered her a simple forged hook I'd made the other day. All of a sudden she was all ears and happy to try and find me what I needed.

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Welcome aboard! As stated you would be well served to look into and join the CBA, we recently opened up a subforum here on IFI and the organization itself can be found at calsmith.org

You should also check out Adam's Forge in Griffith park, adamsforge.org they offer a great spread of intro and intermediate courses and are reasonably priced. Their staff is experienced and friendly too :)

There will be an event coming up near the end of the month in the riverside area called Waynes World that you might want to get in on, I'm planning to attend myself :)

There is also the antique steam and gas engine museum (AKA Vista) down by San Diego that offers the more advanced curriculum and runs coal forges (Adams forge is all gas).

Pack a lunch and start reading up on everything that you find interesting here, there is an overwhelming amount of info to skim at first, but if you just keep pecking at it it becomes more manageable :)

Good luck and keep us posted!

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