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I Forge Iron

Chicago Area Blacksmithing

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I graduated from college two years ago and am in the process of moving to Chicago. This is the first time since Ive graduated that Ive had a living situation permanent enough to consider putting a forge together. While in school I worked quite a bit with metal (welding, cutting, bending (both hot and cold)) and since then Ive read quite a bit (both in print online) about forges and blacksmithing techniques.

And while the internet is a wonderful tool and I think Ive learned quite a bit, i still have never actually hit a piece of hot iron with a hammer. Right now Im perfectly content to just play around and teach myself, but it might be nice to have some real live people to talk to as I start this process.

So the point of this rather long question is do any of you know of any Chicago-area blacksmithing groups/societies, or of any Chicago area blacksmiths who might be willing to give me a few pointers?

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If you ever decide ot attend a blacksmithing school look at Tom Clark's school in Potosi, MO. Web site is www.ozarkschool.com I was there this past May and Highly recommend it. There are other schools around that are just as good I'm sure, or they wouldn't survive! :) We can be a nasty bunch sometimes. Wish you were closer as I have several leg vises and anvils I could sell you to help get you going. Just keep you eyes open, they'll show. A rule of thumb around here is to pay about $10.00 an inch for a vise smaller than 6" jaws, seems the 6" vises bring more around here. Good Luck! I wish I had started when I was your age. ( that would be nearly 30yrs ago!)

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