Recommended Posts

10 year old son is interested in blacksmithing.  Right now I have him pounding copper so he can get the feel without 1800 F Iron.  Besides the obvious CO and hot iron are there any other things I should be worried about.  We plan on building a small "coffee can" propane forge together to start off. 

thanks in advance for any advice

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello and welcome. Do yourself a favor and add your location to your profile, You may be surprised how many here might live close to you. If we know where you are, we can also make suggestions as to what groups might be near you.

 

Congrats on wanting to do stuff with your son. I don't think enough kids today get to work with their hands with their dad. #1 thing is safety. Get him good safety gear that fits well. Eye protection is #1. You never know when a spark or shard of metal is going to hit you in the face, even if you aren't the one working. Get him used to wearing them all the time in the shop. It's no fun having steel dug out of your eye.  Hearing protection is also important. I wish I'd used it more years ago when I was younger. Metal working makes lots of noise. Don't tough it out, get yourself and him some good ear plugs or muffs. I have mixed feelings on gloves. I use them for some jobs, but not others. Finding him gloves that are small enough might be tough. Note that general service gloves often contain things like nylon. Nylon melts and keeps on burning. It has no place around hot metal. Some welding specific gloves use high temp fibers and aren't bad around heat, but leather is always good. You can buy welding gloves in small sizes. You might have to look and see what welding suppliers in your area carry. The safety concerns with nylon pertains to other clothing as well like shoes, shirts/jackets and so on. when working with hot metal he should always be wearing leather shoes, long pants and a cotton shirt. A leather apron wouldn't hurt.

 

If he's interested in Scouts this might lead him towards one of several metal working merit badges. Some 4-H groups also do metal working.

 

Good luck and have fun together,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks!  Already in scouts, but only a weblo at the moment won't be a tenderfoot (Boy Scout starting rank) until middle to late next school year. Was planing on eye and ear protection, hard to find leather anything in his size.  Thanks again,  I will post info maybe some local blacksmith will take us under his wing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tacking on to DSWs input on gloves:

1) You must be able to get the glove off with one hand, and quickly.  Two shakes max.

2) Never work hot steel with wet gloves.  If you get a hold of something hot, it will generate steam and burn you even worse.  This goes for sweaty gloves too.

My personal preference is for all leather "driver's" style gloves, although I cut the elastic out of them so that I can free my hands easily.  I prefer them over welding gloves because theydon't have a lining, so my hands don't really sweat in them.

Earplugs.  Try the banded style, you don't have to touch the earplug with dirty hands, so you're not putting dirt in your ear, and they don't get as sweaty as muffs.  They're not for everyone though.

 Greetings to you and your son.  Welcome to the craft

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome aboard, glad to have you!!! Please put your general location in the header, you might be surprised how many of the IFI gang live within visiting distance.

YES there are safety issues that are a MUST, especially for youngsters. Injuries now can multiply as he grows older into disabilities later in life. Almost more importantly are the habits of taking common sense precautions without thinking about them.

So, safety glasses, anybody within watching distance ALWAYS.

Ear protection, a little damage now WILL get worse and few things can make you do the head slapper dance like a hot chip or spark in the ear.

NO synthetic clothes or shoes. Synthetics have the ugly habit of melting and deep frying your flesh on contact with HOT anything. Cotton, wool, leather, etc. don't melt, they char and stink. The stink will let you know you have a little fire going in plenty of time to prevent injury.

A good basic 1st. aide class is a good idea, boy scouts often hold classes and unless things have changed you don't have to be a member to attend. He WILL get burns, cuts, bruises and just generally roughed up learning the craft. Call it good training for real life. <wink>

I just saw DWS reply and your response. Weblo! Cool, scouts were some of the best times of my life. First aide!

Starting him on copper is a good idea, it's good metal to make things from. He can learn to make rings, key chains, zipper pulls, card holders, etc. etc. and sell them to save for better tools. It's NEVER to young to start learning to pull your own weight. I'm not saying you should make him pay for everything but making him pay part of it will make him a LOT more likely to take care of it.

Long sleeve, pants, leather boots or shoes. Wear your pants outside boots so debris will be deflected away from your shoe/boot tops. That's another classic blacksmith's dance, there's HOT stuff in my boot! AIEEEEEEE!!

Oh yeah, we love pics!

Frosty The Lucky.

 

Edited by Frosty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks!  Already in scouts, but only a weblo at the moment won't be a tenderfoot (Boy Scout starting rank) until middle to late next school year. Was planing on eye and ear protection, hard to find leather anything in his size.  Thanks again,  I will post info maybe some local blacksmith will take us under his wing. 

​Good for him. I started out in Cub Scouts, and went all the way to Eagle before staying on to help out for a few years before college intervened too much. Much of what I enjoy today I was exposed to in Scouts. Shooting, fishing, boating, working with my hands on all sorts of projects. I got to experience things I'd never have had a chance to otherwise.

 

You just need to know where to look for leather. Aprons are easy and can easily be cut down to fit just about anyone. A cheap Harbor Freight one can be chopped up if need be, though the ones I've seen tend to bleed color and make a mess when you sweat, so wear clothes underneath you don't really care about. Many of the smiths I know modify their aprons anyways to suit their personal preferences... Some like a full apron, some prefer a half one. Straps are always getting changed to fit the user better. Can you say leather working Merit badge... If he goes to summer camp, there's probably all the equipment there to do all sorts of stuff to refit an apron if he brings one, though you really don't need any special tools to do so. Depot sells an inexpensive grommet kit that works well with leather. A few grommets and some ties and you can fit just about anyone.

 

Gloves will most likely be the hardest thing. I have short fingers and finding gloves that fit me well took a bit of trial and error. I went into every welding store I could, and tried on any smaller size gloves they had. That allowed me to find the rough size I wanted, as well as find a style I liked. Then I simply ordered the style I liked in the size I thought would work and tried a pair. I don't quite fit in the Small size Tillman gloves. My fingers are almost a perfect fit, but the palms are too tight. Mediums fit my hands best in most styles. Ladies leather gloves at Depot/Lowes are another possible option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't either of you get macho and grab to heavy of a hammer, most recommend griping the head and cutting the handle at the inside of the elbow, also redress the handle so your fingers just touch your palm. 2 and 2 1/2#is a good starting place for you, 1 1/2 and 2# for him (that might take a bit of doing, but you will be amazed what you can do with a forge, lol. A 4# hand sledge fitted with a long handle will also help, cut the handle just about anvil high, a 6-8# for yourself. Two anvils, two forges, as his is at knuckle high to him, and yours is knuckle high to you (bend the knees and squat when striking for him on his anvil, don't bend over) everything is hot, sharp and heavy. Not to mention bright and loud. UV and IR protection are good (looking in to the forge) some wear gas cutting glasses) 

if he argues about the hammer.  The average viking smiths hammer was 600 or 800g, or 1 1/2 or 2# so that should cure the macho there. Read up on hammer control and grip, carpel tunnel and tendinitis suck (i get it in my off elbow from a death grip on the tongs) 

i also suggest painting an "X" over the face of the anvil right over the center of it's mass, use a white out pen. Practice putting the steel there and hitting there, helps a lot with hammer control. As dose practice tilting the hammer up and lifting it high, so gravity dose most of the work on the way down. A good swing started overhead and aimed at a properly heated piece of steel will provide very satisfying results. 

Make us proud, love that kid grow him in to a good man.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope you take the time to read the sticky's at the top of this page,  and other pinned posts sometime before lighting the fire. Welcome to IFI

Edited by Steve Sells

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd consider joining a group. You'd be surprised by how many there are, and you can learn a lot faster by watching or working with someone than by youtube binges. They often will help hook you up with equipment, lessons, steel, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW! Thanks everyone for the input.  I plan on him sticking to copper until he develops some skill with a hammer and listening. No machoness here he's working with a little cobblers ball peen hammer for now.  We will build the forge when school gets out hopefully by then we will have the proper protection. 

 

Once  r again thanks for the info!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a fammaly forum, Glenn set it up when his kids were about your son's age. Some of us cand be a bit brisk, but he would be welcomed, and the forum rules make it a fairly "G" rated place (in a kind of warnerbrothers kind of way, lol) plenty of reading and information archived here, and with a little good faith effort even the groutchyest reprbate here will give you or him more information than you can use, lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good job on being involved with your son. Clay is also a good learning tool especially for kids. It works similar to hot steel, better when its cold. Brian Brazeal had some youtube vids on working with clay for practice. Have fun with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You live in Thousand Oaks!? Cool, the last place I lived in S. Cal was Simi Valley, moved there right after the Sylmar Earthquake 02/09/71, 6:01am. Oh yeah it made an impression on me. :o

The California Blacksmiths Association, CBA is a large active blacksmithing club and there are IFI members living not far from you at all. I'm thinking half hour drive or so I just can't recall the location.

You and your son are going to be spending some seriously good time together. Heck he can teach blacksmithing to other scouts.

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Heck he can teach blacksmithing to other scouts.

​I can think of some of Frosty's posts about rough and ready field expedient forging around a basic camp fire that would have been a real hit while I was in scouts. Forging up something as simple as a hook to hang your pot over the fire or a camp fork would have been absolutely amazing to me back then, and well within the skill range of someone with a bit of experience under their belt. A small steel block for an anvil and a hammer would make it easy, but a convenient rock and the back of the hatchet would work if need be.

 

I have a simple pie pan dutch oven that we made when in scouts I can post up if you are interested. The only real metal working skills you need is to be able to drill a few holes. I learned this from my Scoutmaster out in Wa state, and later used a few of them to win 1st place for cooking with a dozen new scouts at a Jamboree. They not only made the ovens there, but learned how to use them and still managed to pull off that prize. Let me know if your interested, and I'll dig up the picts and post them, or shoot you a link to where I have them already posted up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course proper safety glasses,gloves and leather apron and steel toe boots goes without saying.. But ten years old is awfully young. I remember back when I was a teenager back in the welding shop. I was using a small handheld grinder. Well those things can get away from you real quick and get wrapped up in your shirt. Same with a drill press no long hair or jewelry.

You could have him do other things like designing and maybe get a drafting table, I still don't like the ideal of my son using a skill saw and he's nearly grown! Just gotta have a healthy respect for power tools and what they can do. I use to know a young black smith who was exceptional but years earlier he had a big grinder get away from him and it went across his face really tearing up his lip. I've known of countless individuals who have lost fingers on iron workers and saws.

I just feel that at ten years old the hand eye coordination plus maturity level probably isn't what it should be with a child of that age. When I was thirteen years of age I remember using a bench grinder to make heavy metal spikes for leather jackets and other crap. I not saying he couldn't do it. but he would need expert supervision for quite a while. You know back in the days of blacksmiths and I'm sure over in third world countries that they still have kids churning out nails and working the handcrank on the forge blower. Don't mean it's right though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blacksmithing isn't about the power tools, allycat, he can get maimed eroding the school bus or riding his bike. Proper supervision is ofcorse nessisary, but I doubt that he is at any more risk (probably less) than he is going to public school. All depends on the culture, first knife at 6, first bob gun at 8, first motorcycle at 10, first .22 at 12...

some kids I wouldn't trust with a butter knife at 18, but the army handed me a m16 and a anti tank rocket at 17 (some of the guys twice my age were scary stupid and irisponsibl. All depends on the kid and the dad. Of corse most off us dads expect our kids to learn the hard way, we did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course proper safety glasses,gloves and leather apron and steel toe boots goes without saying.. But ten years old is awfully young. I remember back when I was a teenager back in the welding shop. I was using a small handheld grinder. Well those things can get away from you real quick and get wrapped up in your shirt. Same with a drill press no long hair or jewelry.

You could have him do other things like designing and maybe get a drafting table, I still don't like the ideal of my son using a skill saw and he's nearly grown! Just gotta have a healthy respect for power tools and what they can do. I use to know a young black smith who was exceptional but years earlier he had a big grinder get away from him and it went across his face really tearing up his lip. I've known of countless individuals who have lost fingers on iron workers and saws.

I just feel that at ten years old the hand eye coordination plus maturity level probably isn't what it should be with a child of that age. When I was thirteen years of age I remember using a bench grinder to make heavy metal spikes for leather jackets and other crap. I not saying he couldn't do it. but he would need expert supervision for quite a while. You know back in the days of blacksmiths and I'm sure over in third world countries that they still have kids churning out nails and working the handcrank on the forge blower. Don't mean it's right though.

​We have many much younger than 10 working at the anvil, a 7yr old is active on my local group.  Gloves will get grabbed and pull you into the tool, and it will give a false sense of safety while handling hot iron, Also I take offence at your comment about hair, I do not see what the problem is with long hair in a shop??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tell folks to cut the cuffs off of gloves so if the glove gets caught on something, the glove is gone before the memo is even written. Everyone else has covered the basics. It is good practice to make the project in modeling clay before you start using the metal. Teaches you what to do, how it goes together, etc. and speeds up the learning process by making lots of inexpensive mistakes early and often.

You may want to consider brass sheeting as a second color.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh man, Sandy is jelous of your hair (i'm geting a bit thin on top, so I may be a bit as well) Tho i will note i have seen a poney tail get cought up in the drive pully for a swamp cooler. Lots of yelling befor the breaker triped, lol. I have no doubt you take more than due coution with those locks! 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 But ten years old is awfully young.

​I think I was 11 when I was handling some serious power tools in basic shop class back in 6th grade. That included hot work forging as well as welding with OA ( stick was available but it scared me at the time). We couldn't directly do any casting, but did watch if he was pouring during our period. I think the only power tool that wasn't available without direct super vision of the instructor was the table saw. Bandsaw, buffers, bench grinder, drill press, lathes were all "open" tools that could be used as needed.

Before that I was working with small power tools and hand tools at home. Based on projects I remember doing with hand tools I would have been between 5 and 8 for at least some of them. I know I was using a router between 8 and 10 with adult supervision. I built a decent sized barn out of wood for my sisters toy horses to give her for Christmas that involved a lot of routing and sawing with power tools.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't mean to offend any one. By the long hair it should be in a ponytail or something because you could be bent over a drill press or a lathe and next thing you know your caught up in it. It happens I don't wear a wedding ring for this reason always hearing stories about those as well.  I guess it depends on the child. I know some people don't have enough sense to run loose. I knew one time of a young man and he was with some friends and they were using an auger attachment on a tractor and he got caught up in it and it killed him..So yeah I could go on and on with other horror stories But I won't. Seems like I remember having metal shop and making a chisel when I was like 13 years old as well.

I suppose doing small work on smaller items would be advisable. I could see just physical strength handling tongs on heavier items could pose a problem and while he probably wouldn't be running a grinder or other powertools. We all know how often we ourselves drop a piece of hot metal out of our tongs on occasions. I'm not saying it can't be done I know over in Mexico they have child welders at that age working in sweatshops. And they ain't doing it for the love of the craft.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I hear ya maybe I'm jealous as well cause I'm getting thin on top too!

Edited by alley cat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He will only try to catch it once! Mom will most likely have a kaniption,Dad a near heart attack, but the kid will have serius bragging rights. Besides thats what slack tubs are for! 

Dad and kid bonding, life leasons (hot iron doen't care a lick about your feelings) and making cool things! What could be better.

tho I suggest keeping mom out of the forge, dang women have a nasty habit of showing you up! Lol. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He will only try to catch it once! Mom will most likely have a kaniption,Dad a near heart attack, but the kid will have serius bragging rights.

​Hey chicks dig scars! Get him started right... LOL :lol:

 

We had a young lady at my school when I was in 7th grade who got her long hair caught in the buffer in another class. Shop teacher had told her repeatedly to tie up her long hair and tuck it in her lab coat. She'd do it, then when he was elsewhere working with another student, she kept pulling it out and untieing it because she wanted to look " cool" and flip her hair at one of the guys while flirting. Anyways she bends forward to grab the piece of plastic the buffer had tossed, and part of her hair flips into the buffer and in a blink, she's lost  about a silver dollars worth of hair and scalp. Shop teacher left the blood on the floor for the next day as a "learning tool" to show the rest of us that there were safety rules for a reason and what happens when you ignore them. I guess she didn't look quite as attractive with the hair around the wound shaved off completely and her hair clipped short to deal with the mess under the bandages for a few weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You guys are great.  Getting quiet the laugh reading this.  Son is not the most coordinated kid in the world, don't plan on letting him mess with power tools at the moment.  Will stick with copper until I feel the coordination with the hammer is there.  Like the idea of clay. I will look into it.  Personally I feel the more responsibility you except from a kid the more he has. Too many parents want to wipe their kids ... Till they are 30, especially around here. One of the reasons for scouting and Working with your hands.  

DSW I'm just around the corner from Simi, Practically in my back yard. I looked into CBA, also a couple of historical groups have smiths in them, I just wasn't sure how approachable they would be to us.  Also very interested in pie plate Dutch oven design we could have some fun with that.

thanks again guys. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.