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Hello all. 

Thought I would post here and get some advice. My son is nine and has always loved knives. His paw paw is a blade smith back in NC. My son has a suprisable bit of knowledge about knive making. He has been asking me over and over about taking a bladesmithing class. He is not your average nine year old and knows what hard work is. If anyone one here knows of a classes to introduce him to bladesmithing or if someone here wouldn't mind being a mentor for him. Let me know. We are located outside of Kenai. Thanks all

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Nowhere near, and although I make the occaisional knife, not a knifemaker, mostly specialize in small items (door knockers, bottle openers, tools,) and occaisionally whatever larger piece has taken my fancy (andirons most recently).

That said, this is a field that responds well to the Suzuki method of pedagogy, especially considering the age and the safety issues. Suzuki method was created mostly for learning violin, but involves the idea of learning by saturation at a young age, like learning your native language. There are many parallels, but the one I'm thinking of especially, is that it includes active participation with the parent supervising practice, taking notes during lessons, and often learning alongside of the child.

This might especially be important considering the potential for burns, cuts, squished everything, abrasions, and the occaisonal bit of steel or wire buried in the skin.  It's rare that anyone experiences serious injury from forging and finishwork, but the constant potential for mild injury is the kind of thing that screams moderate and discreet parental supervision, and that many parents, often more so than the child are unwilling to face.

In finding a specific instructor, I would ask within the Alaska Blacksmith Association, and probably Frosty on here in particular.  Even if he/they don't fit directly, they can probably point you in the right direction.

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Plenty of places in the lower 48 where he could probably take a class. As mentioned talking to Frosty or one of the other Alaskan members here for suggestions is probably your best bet to find someone close to you.

 

One thing I've found with working with younger kids thru 4-H and Scouts is that they have a "limited" attention span on average, even for things they are very interested in. Usually there is a saturation point, after which they start to get figity, and cranky. An all day 8 hour class isn't probably for them. They are often better with a program where things can be broken down into shorter time spans or if an "all day" class, a good size break allows them to recharge between sessions. You may find something like a two hour evening session may work well, even if it does stretch things out. I know how saturated I feel after 4 or 5, 8+ hour days of class even at my age.

 

You may find packing him up and "shipping him off" to his grandpa's for a week or two may work well. he can learn from someone who doesn't have an issue stopping and taking a break if your son starts to get saturated and begins to loose focus.

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On 4/1/2016 at 11:28 PM, Allen1975 said:

. Let me know. We are located outside of Kenai. Thanks all

The world is a large place I dont  even know what country Kenai is in sorry.  Get them started with basic smithing skills.   he is not too young to start,  we have younger in the local group, our member brings 3 of his children,  5 to 9 years old, and they are regulars.

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Everything said above is very good, and I entirely agree. My son just turned 13, but his ASD gives him the attention span of a much younger kid. He loves to smith with me, though, and I've started him out with striking for me and doing some basic drawing out and bending. We made a big heart-shaped trivet for his mom for Valentine's Day.

31 minutes ago, Steve Sells said:

The world is a large place I dont  even know what country Kenai is in sorry.

Kenai is in Alaska, about halfway between Anchorage and Homer.

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Where I work, I teach week long youth summer camps. Blacksmithing mostly, other weeks are bladesmithing. I'm pretty sure I've had 9 year olds in the blacksmithing classes. I'm not sure if the bladesmithing isn't one or two years older. Though I'm pretty sure exceptions have been made on an individual basis.

So I'm not advertising on here PM me for more information. Note this is in Portland Oregon.

So yes youth can blacksmith and bladesmith. Just have to remember there is always a potential for burns, etc.

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I bought that book for my son's 12th birthday and can highly recomend it.  It is very complete and written in a clear concise style that makes learning easy and presents the material in small bites, and in increasing levels of complexity.

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Thank you for the kind words about my book.   And if I may add, after the first edition I got the typos corrected !  There was a mix up in the first printing that got the non edited version to press rather than the finished proofread one I paid an editor to review :( it was my fault 100% though... I can not honestly blame anyone else, no matter how much I wish I could.

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Welcome aboard Allen gad to have you. Don't worry Steve I know EXACTLY where Kenai is, I can even pronounce it correctly. I'll take it from here. ;)

Well, after saying all that I believe there is a fellow blacksmithing in Homer though I don't know if he makes blades or takes students. Virgil Campbell is in Moose pass but again I don't know if he takes students. There was a fellow in Sterling but I haven't heard from him in a couple years.

I'm on the north edge of Wasilla and don't make blades. There are a few guys in the Anchorage and Mat Su valley making blades but I don't know how many if any take students. I'll put the word out though and you're always more than welcome to attend Association meetings The next is May 14th. in Palmer but it'd be a pretty long commute.

There are a couple guys making blades in the interior but that's even farther afield and I don't know if they teach.

I'll get the word out, we'll see what happens.

Frosty The Lucky.

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On 4/3/2016 at 11:24 AM, Steve Sells said:

 I can not honestly blame anyone else, no matter how much I wish I could.

Welcome to being an adult! :) 

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Yeah it sucks but they'll let you run the GOOD stuff.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Susan Marie's photo.

this passed me on FB and I thought this would make a nice addition to this subject, would presume he got an early start in blacksmithing/farrier

 

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The shrimp's shoeing a seahorse.

Frosty The Lucky.

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just sharing a pic, forging with my 8 year old son, only when my wife is not at home  =)

WP_20150412_003.jpg

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Good job getting him started so early.  My son only helps out when coerced and has no real interest in doing it himself.  He is 21 now and has other things on his mind.

Nice seeing him with good PPE as well (apron, safety glasses and ear protection).

Only suggestion I have is that the tongs look a bit big for him, though he seem to be one handing them pretty well.  You might consider having him work with longer stock or at least a tong clip or ring.

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My hat's off to you Viktor!

I'm relieved and happy when I see parents giving their kids the opportunity to learn hand skills, they're so much less likely to become dependent on other's charity for survival.

Frosty The Lucky.

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thank you guys, i made the tong ring this weekend, it's really good!! great idea.

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Since I generally have a bunch of scrap black pipe of various size I often jut cut a 1/2" long piece of the end of the correct diameter pipe and squash it to make an oval tong ring quick and dirty style.

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