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Title said it all.
Just curious to know what brought all of you into Blacksmithing? family history? hobby?
Its a question I almost always ask when I meet a Smith, and the answers are always worth hearing!

I'll start;
I first got into the idea of Smithing when after working dead end jobs i decided that i needed to do something more creative and with my hands. It came down to woodwork or metalwork, and then after talking to my grandparents and hearing them tell stories of the horses, the forge and fire, the incredible things they watched their father make and how people came to know him just couldn't get out of my head. I watched a few videos and then went to a festival and did a taster and didnt stop dreaming about making something for 2 weeks. 8 months, lots of wood,sweat and nails on here today and im almost ready to switch on my own forge and start my own journey, just one powercable away...

So then! whats your story?

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Firstly....good topic James.....

Rather than the extended tome I could deliver, I'll keep this reply succinct ........

1. My forge extends my capability in my machining and welding and fabrication hobbies.

2. I'm a life long repurposer.

4, I enjoy persuading metal to conform to my will.

 

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A nearby college teaches a one day Intro to Blacksmithing class through its "Lifelong Learning" department (aka: Classes For Geezers).  I figured it'd be an interesting way to spend a Saturday, go learn what I remember thinking was a quaint but useless skill...and I was hooked in the first five minutes.  Been swinging a hammer since I was old enough to grip one, but was utterly fascinated by the idea...and still am...that STEEL is PLIABLE!!!  Who knew?   Awesome, and what a fun and challenging journey thus far.

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"Life Long Learning"  I well remember from my days as an adult ed tutor......we tutors had to constantly take one course after another ourselves and for most part they were either irrelevant or repeated what we had done previously! I always used to say, "...Life Long Learning, I'll be glad when it's over..."!!!!!!!

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When I couldn't afford a new piece of equipment I had to make the repair part because the roller was so old no body made replacement parts. Just as a side not I have that roller today. It sounds like me in the morning it creaks and groans getting started but it still works.

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Ahhh this topic has been around for a long long time; could a moderator connect this one to one of the previous ones and save a lot of typing for us old fingered smiths

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During a career as a Manufacturing Engineer, ... spent predominantly designing and building "automation" systems ( robots :rolleyes: ) ... from time-to-time I'd run into a situation that required forming, bending, shaping or otherwise "Forging" custom made parts.

And it never left my mind, that there were things that could not be made, on the fanciest CNC machines.

AND, all my life I'd heard tales about a Great-Grandfather ( Pap ) who'd had a Smithy, ... and some of "Pap's" hand-made tools were still prized possessions, throughout the family.

So, ... when ill-health made "early retirement" a reality, ... I built a Forge, and started learning to work hot steel.

 

.

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I've been interested in blacksmithing since iI was a kid... it wasn't until after one of my brothers,, my dad and uncle passed away (earlier this year) that I managed to get my forge running. 

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I also remember the other thread, but didn't find it in a search!

I wanted to learn how to weld, but the only class my wife could find was a blacksmithing one at The Farmers Museum in Cooperstown, NY and after that, that's all I could think about.

That class was the best birthday present ever, but I still don't know how to weld. (without a forge that is!)

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Jim, me neither!  This past weekend though I think I accidentally forge welded - had two flat pieces in the gas forge for a bit and when I went to remove one of them it was STUCK to the other.  Oh crap, the first time I successfully forge weld and it was totally by accident!   Figures!  :huh:

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Smothbore's forging robot is a scary thought

Well then, be afraid, ... be very afraid .....

Over 30 years ago, ( to facilitate the Forging of Automotive Valves ) ... I designed and built cam driven, "Walking Beam" type, "Pick & Place Devices" ... ( simple robots ) ... to transfer hot slugs, from induction heaters, into 2-stage Forging Dies, ... transfer the partially formed Forgings from the 1st Die Station ( the "Onion" ), ... to the 2nd Die Station ( the "Coining Die" ), ... and deliver the finished Forgings into an Annealing Furnace.

Thereby transforming the Job of "Forge Press Operator" ( 500 to 1,000 ton ) ... from a miserably hot, smokey, loud, dangerous occupation, ... into one that conforms to current OSHA guidelines.

In all likelihood, the Valves in your Motor Vehicle, were Forged in this manner.

 

.

Edited by SmoothBore

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 . It sounds like me in the morning it creaks and groans getting started but it still works.

Me Too

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In answer to the original question, I first caught the blacksmithing bug from a guy who had a portable forge set up at a craft fair where my dad was selling his Shaker bentwood boxes. I cranked the blower on his forge for a couple of days, and he let me forge a fireplace poker.

In answer to the tangent, my day job is as a professional fundraiser for a private liberal arts college -- the art museum of which has some really nice Yellin gates and window grilles.

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It all started when NickOHH started watching blacksmith videos on YouTube.  I was still focused on how to crochet a blanket with stripes.  He ended up building the first forge out of an old BBQ grill and suddenly was spending all his time off from work with an anvil and a fire.  I started forging because I like doing things with Nick and got very tired of sitting in the house by myself!  Now I love forging and wish I had more time for it!

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I tried a search for something similar and failed, so appologies if this is an old hash. The one thing that people seem to sat say is that it they were somehow instantly hooked.
Some amazing history in peoples answers though, especially you smoothbore!

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I was hanging about a historic village operated by the state. It was a place to park the truck to hike and ride my bike along the historic Ohio and Erie canal. Somebody asked if I had interest in working there and I said no. They gave me the blacksmith shop for my own......... Even though I had no idea what to do. A few years later, they are paying me. 

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I wanted to make a knife so I did one the stock removal method,  then someone told me that all "REAL" knives are forged. so I built a forge and bought a anvil.  I don't think I have finished a knife yet, but I sure have had fun for the last few years.

 

real job is as a small business owner in the oilfield.

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I'm a waiter on the weekends. My wife is a substitute teacher and we have a three year old little boy.... But don't tell him that, he thinks he's a big boy. 

I've discovered 4 places in my life that iI lose track of time, one of them iI don't go to anymore. In my office working on computers, the forge, the bar, and playing video games.

Oh... Does anyone else light the fire to make one thing and then find themselves with a pile of stuff they're working on and the sun going down? 

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I guess I started many years ago when I wanted to make a snake out of a piece of rebar. I made the head with a grinder and file and then put it in a fire to get it hot and make the bends. after that I had to have a forge. Had a carpenter's claw hammer and an anvil with no heel and progressed from there.

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I have been a "crafts guy" my entire life and had always been fascinated with blacksmithing.  I used to watch the smiths for hours at the local, and I think original RenFaire in Novato CA.  In '91 I was working as a marine machinist on mothballed ships, helping to get them operational to carry supplies to the first Gulf War.  One of the welders there mentioned an old guy teaching blacksmithing out in the Sunset District in San Francisco.  I got in touch, signed up and as many say, was hooked in the first 5 minutes.  I was selling a LOT of work in local craft galleries within six months.   My main gig now is as a General Contractor but I still  produce and sell a fair amount of work each year.  I have learned over the years to hate summer because it is too hot in my shop to do much work during those months.  During winter months I forge almost every day.  

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