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I Forge Iron

St Louis and St Charles Blacksmiths Im Looking to Learn

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Hi all im wanting to learn how to blacksmith it has been a passion of mine to learn. I cant find any places around me that offer classes to learn how to. Is there anyone in the willing to teach me how to blacksmith and how much would it cost. Also what tools and equipment would i need to purchase to start this hobby

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the header you'll discover lots of the IFI gang might live within visiting distance. We could point you to a LOT of places that offer classes but without knowing where you are you might find the commute a PITA.

There are many sections on Iforge that deal with different aspects of blacksmithing  and other metal work. If you pull up a comfy chair, a beverage and snacks you can spend days reading archived posts organized in categories.

A short answer to one of your questions is not much. The tools don't do the work the clever monkey with thumbs holding them does, the minimum equipment list is a hot fire, something to beat on, something to beat with and something to beat. Use long stock and you don't need tongs. An anvil can be anything smooth with some mass and hard enough not to break when struck. I've used a basket ball sized boulder and thought that was about minimum size for my liking. An old axle on end, RR rail flat or better yet on end or most any section of shaft stock bigger across than your hammer face on end is choice. Forget about a horn they're not necessary at all.

Any smooth faced hammer works a charm, Ball peins are blacksmith hammers as are cross peins, straight peins, single jack & double jack sledges, Driller's hammers are excellent for smithing, they have shorter handles, weigh in around 2lbs. and are double faced. I usually start students out with one of my driller's hammers because they're heavy enough to really move metal but they're not so heavy they're hard to control. Hammer control is the steepest part of your learning curve so don't stack the deck against yourself with too heavy a hammer at first. Another superior smithing hammer is the turning (or rounding) hammer favored by farriers and those of us who simply like beating hot steel. 

Whatever you do do NOT get caught up in the all so common  mistaken idea you have to have all the tools and they need to be the "RIGHT" ones. There is not such thing as THE "real" anvil, anything you beat something on IS AN ANVIL. Period. A smooth faced hammer is fine it doesn't need to be something somebody THINKS is a "blacksmith's" hammer. If you're forging with it it's a BLACKSMITH'S HAMMER. Period.

This ain't rocket science it's a craft a person can raise to an art. I don't mean making "art" I mean a craft itself as art where a person's skills amount to more than the sum of the skills acquired.

Frosty The Lucky.

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