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I Forge Iron
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"Viking" style shop set up help/advise

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very nice repro;  I admit mine is based on the anvil in the Roman museum in Bath...

 

The repro was nice. It's not exact obviously but it looked serviceable. I was just impressed that the original had a pritchel hole. I'm assuming it was punched but who knows. I'd like to have a go at making one myself. I've got a fabricated version in the works but that's no where near ready. 

Even then I'll be cheating quite a bit. 

 

 

That said, my original post still stands. I'd suggest getting a real anvil for your day to day forging and use the period accurate anvil for demo purposes only. 

 

Andy

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I run a sliding scale of authenticity: if a customer wants and is willing to pay I will put on medieval clothes, build a bloomery, smelt ore I have collected myself and use the Y1K forge, anvil and tools to make an item.   Few customers are that exacting!   Most just want to have medieval looking items forged by hand from modern materials, the cheapest and most efficient method.  Some I can talk into going with real wrought iron.  The Y1K generally comes out for demos when I'm trying to show what they really used and am not concerned with time/cost of the items involved.

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The design and efficiency of most all of the tools have improved... Have you ever tried to forge with tongs that look like those viking tongs... Its harder than it looks. The shape and the length of the jaws, make it so it is hard to grip the material, and the loss of leverage due to the extra distance from the pivot make it so you have to grip harder... They look aweful to me;-) and I geek history... But form follows function, Steve Parker's tongs are vastly superior to viking tongs. I am amazed at what the master smiths of the vikings could do with the quality of tools available to them. Because of our great wealth in energy, raw materials, and knowledge some of the tools we can produce are just phenomenal. I am sure that some of the viking hammes were a pure joy to use. And like Thomas said they were primarily using wrought at near a white heat when the were really forging, and a little stump anvil would get so hot you couldn't touch it, but that would help doing forge welds;-)

I got started blacksmithing 30 years ago doing pattern welded steel and welding up axe heads. Some things it matters how you do them, and if you do it the hard way, close to the way they would have done it in period it just comes out looking more period, more Real! Other time being a slave to a romantic ideal is still just slavery and drudgery. Ultimately if you want to do this as a business you have to find a way to make it pay. Period! Most people can't or won't pay Thomas, or I, or you for that mater to put on period cloths and make our own wrought iron and then make something cool out of it. Which is why Thomas wrangles computers and databases, and I shoe horses. You can make a living doing something you love and are passionate about, but you have to be practical enough to pay the bills and market yourself and your merchandise. Go over and read some of the threads in the business of blacksmithing section. There have been lots of very talented smiths who quit and got a day job, because they weren't good at the business side of blacksmithing. I'm not particularly good at selling myself or my products, and I have a low stress tolerance so I shoe horses, and not to be immodest but I'm a pretty good smith... As iron sharpens iron... I'm not trying to dampen your enthusiasm, my hope is to sharpen your focus so you can make cool things, and pay the bills:-)

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I try whenever I can and wherever I can to pass on whatever wisdom God has given to me. Worldly wisdom is learning from someone else's mistakes without having to make them yourself.  When I was out in CA doing the starving artist thing, I was young and stupid, and lacked the confidence and maturity to seek out older smiths doing business out there and let them mentor me, cause I needed a lot of help, but that wounded my ego so I didn't do it...  So I went back home and lived with my mom til I grew up a bit. I am still not good at the business side of blacksmithing, but I can console my fragile male ego that a lot of very talented smiths aren't good at the business side of blacksmithing, so I am in good company;-)  I haven't given up, and I am still reading and refining how I try to make my passion for smithing pay the bills, but like I said I haven't quit my day job, yet;-)  To encourage us all Winston Churchill said, "Never, never, never, never give up!"  Then to caution us from doing something stupid, remember the definition of insanity is, Doing the SAME thing, and hoping for a different result. An unpleasant truth isn't any less true because people don't like it, and a fiction people like isn't true just because they like to believe it.  Figure out what is true, and work with that...

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I run a sliding scale of authenticity: if a customer wants and is willing to pay I will put on medieval clothes, build a bloomery, smelt ore I have collected myself and use the Y1K forge, anvil and tools to make an item.   Few customers are that exacting!   Most just want to have medieval looking items forged by hand from modern materials, the cheapest and most efficient method.  Some I can talk into going with real wrought iron.  The Y1K generally comes out for demos when I'm trying to show what they really used and am not concerned with time/cost of the items involved.

Yep.........that has been my experience as well.

Ric

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I had the attention span of a gnat, but I got better...  What are we talking about;-) BIRD! Look over there,,,

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Japanese  hammers definitely resemble those Viking hammers, the weight forward of the handle, that i`ve seen on some other websites.

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