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I Forge Iron

Which smithing course conundrum

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I'm coming to you all with a question that's needing a veteran answer: Simply, which class should I chose - Turleys toolsmithing or his blacksmithing class?

Not so simply -

I'm a year into this craft, and not only am i hooked, but according to some of my buddy's in the custom metal fab industry, " i have the eye". Ive invested in many books that I've been learning/working from (Asperys series is almost my bible), have been making my own tools to make more tools to make more things. I have both gas and coal/coke forges to learn on/work with, restored a couple post vices (sold one, kept the other), and worked my way into a nice anvil from a hand-me-down that started this whole thing. In short, i have found my passion. I'd like to get to a place where i can fabricate and sell custom mortise and tenon and/or key items. As i learn this craft I'm understanding that the ability to make ones own tooling for a specific job is (or seems to the greenhorn) to be a paramount function.

But first, i need some real life training. The only school close to me it Frank Turleys, and given his reputation, im excited about the opportunity to learn from a dyed in the wool master.

That said, here's my conundrum: I have limited resources, and limited time to take a class. Either of the above mentioned classes are doable, and interest me, but i cant do both. The Toolsmithing course seems like a good direction, so i can enhance my knowledge on the metalurgical aspects of the craft. Making lasting tooling properly is an important skill to have. Heck, maybe i could even make and sell some tooling to help fund this adventure. However, the Blacksmithing course seems like the logical direction, as it provides a broader scope of learning the craft in full.

Hence, im stuck.

And yes, ive reached out to Frank, but im not going to fidget about no reply. I'm sure hes a very busy man and email probably isnt high on his list. no worries there, i get it.

Ive been lurking here for about a year, and have just recently come out of the shadows. I respect the knowledge pool this forum provides, and I appreciate any and all input provided.


My thanks in advance.


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I agree with two guys ahead of me here. If you are self taught I would advise starting out in a blacksmithing introductory class. Your skill level might not be up to the demands of a tool making class. You can learn a lot from books and YouTube videos but there is nothing like face to face and hands on with some one really good. You can always go back later for the tool making class.

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I have, but my work schedule runs long and complicated, and my manners have taught me to not bother folks after work hours.

I have sent a couple of emails.

Considering the value i put in this group, your comment and direction is almost as valuable as the teachers...almost (i dont want to come across as a kiss ***).



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Definitely taje them both but start with the general course.

You can take them both, maybe not in the same year.

I returned to my first blacksmith school four or five times over a twenty year period, culminating in a powerhammer class.


Each time I found the time and money to take a class my skill and income level advanced...

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