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JLP Services Inc (Jennifer) about me thread..


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So, here are a bunch of photos from the 90s..   1990 I started to serve my apprenticeship as a farrier..  I was in school for engineering at this point in time.. I had decided that I wanted to further my education..  I had taken a few business courses on managment, and such. 

Dropping out of school at 16, I wanted to get my life, school wise back on track at my pace and rate of speed.   I went and took a GED course and passed.. Now with my GED in hand I immediately signed up at one of the Colleges that had and engineering program..   I enrolled in the pre mechanical engineering line up and did extremely well..   All Bs and just 1 C..  the C was in College writing 2.   90% of the people in there, were their for their 2nd or 3rd time..  The professor was a really tough one..  33 people beginning of course 5 at final.. 3 passed.. LOL..  I was so excited.

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With so I was in college doing well.. Was the spring semester coming up and I mentioned to my Guidance counselor that I was interested in going to Farrier school.. 

The way I ended up in school for engineering is a couple of my good friends were engineers and everytime I would work with them, they would say "Why are you not an engineer".. 

I did not want to quite blacksmithing.. I wanted to add to the understanding of blacksmithing..    

The farrier thing came up as the want to be  called a  get ready for it  " A General Blacksmith"..     Tools, hardware, horse shoeing, wagon repairs..    the only thing I had not done was the farrier part of it..  So, the Counselor new a person who knew a farrier..  Turns out He was looking for a new apprentice.. 

I met with him and we talked..  I had nothing but bad horse experiences and his first question was " Do you have any experience with horses"..     I said "Yes, bad"..    

I explained I was a blacksmith and was looking to add the farrier title to my sign..   He said, "What ever".. Show up at 7:15 am Friday morning..    

I did and the first day  he did 2 things which now looking back on it.. He was actually very kind about.. But at the time it was brutal.. If you have ever tried to do farrier work or pull a shoe your first time.. You know exactly what I mean..   Hindsite is always 20/20. 

they put me on this really nice horse and explained and showed me how to pull a shoe.. He ripped one off in about 3 seconds..    I said I got this..   5 minutes in I was shaking and he looked at me and said.. " Here is a pair of shoes, we want some new ones.. come with me and I'll show you how to make clips"..    Yup first day.. 

He puts 4 shoes in the forge when one is up to heat, he puts a clip on..     Hands me the tongs and said ok. lets see it..    I knocked it right out and he then said.. Ok clip the rest to the shoes you have there.. When you get them done cool them, level them and bring them in..    

I did just that and when I brought the shoes in.. He said..  these shoes are flat..  he then explained how to see flat and threw them back to me to flatten..   10 minutes later the shoe was flat and brought it out to him..   he looked at it again and said.. Hop under that other horse and pull those shoes..  I heard him out flattening the shoe.. 

30minutes later I was covered in sweat and had 2 rear shoes off..  In this time frame they had shod 2 other horses in the same time it took me to remove 2 shoes.. 

He then said go make the shoes.. I came back in with them and this time they were flat..   he looked at me and said"" Well you suck under the horse, but you can forge"..   LOL.. 

After that...  I pretty much did nearly all the shoe work..  In between pulling shoes and finishing feet I would run out and make shoes, and head back in to finish nailing,  pull the next shoes, put them in the forge,  ABC, ABC..   time and time again.. it took me about 6 months before I could strip all 4 feet, and trim rear feet and shape and clip the shoes. Get them back in before he was finished with the 2nd horse with trimming the front feet checking my work on the rears and getting the 2 front shoes placed with only 2 nails..  So I could nail the rest, clinch and finish. 

if we had the other helper there I would spend nearly all my time making shoes..  Eventually on some of the larger horses.. I started making shoes out of flat stock and my job was as forge master..  One of the facets of youth is to not know what you are looking for..   

I got pretty good at making shoes.. :)  I had made my own tools and way back then for a full days work it was 50 a day.  1990 and 50 a day.     I was making 60 per hour in the shop.. :) 

it was a great experience but it was really tough..  I put in my 3 years and when I was done I thanked him.   I eventually was sent out on my own in a separate truck and the last year I was on my own most of the time..  he would still have me go to the big jobs to make shoes even with his other helpers..  


When the last day came I said. Thanks shuck his hand and said " I promise I will not ever take one of your customers"..       this was one of the original  agreements that had to be make when he hired me..      When I walked away.. I had gotten a few phone calls from the customers and told them right off that they needed to stay with Mike..  I wasn't interested.. 

I got a call  6 month later..   Mike said..   Hey, whats up..  You shoeing??    Nah. not really I got 1 person i'm shoeing for but,   I told you I wasn't really interesting in shoeing but wanted to learn"..   He then said " Well, in all the years of me having apprentices  every one of the SOB's has taken clientele when they left.. You have been the only person who stuck by the word.    I've got a bunch of customers I'm looking to get rid off.. I have to go to Florida  to service some big names and I am behind, If you want these customers they are yours"..   

I was like"..   Really..   "Yup really.".    I was like "ok, sure"..     So, he faxed over a list of 8 people.  thats how it picked up right away..  they all agreed to hire me and I was on the guest for why horses feet have problems but this is another story..      Even to this day  when i see Mike and hes' with his apprentices.. He will introduce me as the fastest shoe maker he ever knew..   KInda cool..   He knows I specialize in barefoot now,  so he always swears at me telling me I'm wasting my talents both on the shoeing circuit and on the competition circuit. 

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While I was shoeing I cut way back on forging jobs..  I did take a few here and there and did continue to go to demos.. 

For a full day demo it was 200 per day. 

Sadly I can't find the photos of demos..  I started out with the usual moving stuff around 1 piece at a time in an out of the car.. I had an old 1970 SAAB 96 V4 with a roof rack and would load up the roof rack and the back of the car and off I'd go..  this lasted about 3 years..  

I eventually was like " this is stupid",  Moving stuff all this heavy stuff..  Light bulb a trailer would be so much easier..    So I installed a hitch on the SAAB and found an old poptent trailer .

I move the gear into the trailer and then moved it out of the trailer to set it up..  I then had a Duh moment when I looked at the trailer and noticed all the gear was setup.. LOL..  

This became the first blacksmithing trailer and version 1 was basically just a smaller version of version 3..       Version 1 had no roof the first year and was working out in the sun..  2nd year of version 1 I had put together a pipe frame and just lashed a tarp onto it..  This pole tarp setup was from the 2 years previously  and just cut down to fit the trailer..   The hole for the stack was just burned in.. LOL..   I had started the forge and lowered the roof onto it..  perfect fit. 

the next version was version 2 that was a larger trailer.. This time I reinforced the floor and it to was a popup camper that was stripped out and  I put bracing in for the vise mount.. 

It also had those factory installed leveling jacks at all 4 corners..    Those jacks lasted 2 demos..   i then ended up using  cribbing and a jack from a ford van to lift the trailer and put it on the cribbing.   

This trailer also ended up with a metal roof and was about 7ftX7ft..   The roof slid up and down on poles that were mounted to the floor and once lifted would be held up with vise grips..  It was very getto.   It also still had the Popup trailer sheet metal on the sides..  The Roof would slide down and rest on top of the original sides.. 

Version 3 was still a pop up tent trailer  but this time it had a nicer frame and I had put in channel at the anvil, and at the vise stand as well as a few tie ins ..  the length was now nearly 10ft on the inside length wise..   I used the roof from version 2 and now installed a door on hinges.    I also installed 3/4" plywood for the floor and 1/2" plywood for the sides..  Still very much getto.. But now I also bought 4 scissor jackes and installed these on the 4 corners. 

The 2 trailers previously were X frame.. This one had a full frame on the out side with and X frame on the inside of this.. So now I had something to weld to. 

if I can find the photos of the trailers in use I'll bring them to the thread. 

And most of you know about version 4 trailer..   That took on a life of it's own and is where nearly all the videos were filmed in..  It has all the shortcomings fixed . 

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What a journey.  What I want to know is................are ya gonna put wheels on that new training facility?  Sure hope so, I'd enjoy it if you'd bring it down here to Oklahoma. :lol:

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I should mention this now before I forget..   

Starting out in the farrier business and having 9 customers changed the way I looked at dealing with Blacksmithing Customers..   This aspect would eventually seal the fate of the blacksmithing shop some 14 years later.  

This and only this lead to me quitting and walking away from smithing..     I had found that as a farrier I would show up.. Do the work, get paid and leave..   

There was  no dickering for price.. Or feeling badly because I might come over budget.   Horses were a flat rate with each add on costing more in additional charges.   I was working on horses with clips, pads, borium, hoof filler, etc, etc, everything was an up charge.  And I was extremely fast..  I could shoe a horse all 4 feet with clips and pads on the front feet in 30minutes in a size 2..  I worked primarily in hunters and jumpers and 3 day eventing..

Because I had taken off so much time with the farrier apprenticeship the blacksmithing jobs slowed..  I had gone to a SAAB meet that summer and one of the guys there offered me a job to work on SAAB cars a few nights a week..  5-12PM for 100.00..       I had to work at least 1 day, but If I wanted to work 2 or 3 that was ok too. .  He was an engineer and we hit it off right away.  I could weld  so I built tools for his transmission rebuild bench and eventually I took over the transmission rebuilds..  

This was kind of a tough time..   I had some jobs coming in for blacksmithing, my clientel had grown for farrier work, I was working a few days a week for this car guy..  I was living life crazy like..   

I don't drink or smoke and don't do sugar but with all the time off, it was crazy..  I could go and work 4 hrs on horses and make a weeks pay..  i could then go work a night and make 100.00 besides I was only sleeping about 2hrs a night..  I was doing martial arts 3 or 4 hrs a day..  and just enjoying life..  That was the crazy part.. 

At this point I started to focus more again on the blacksmithing business and started to follow up with all the phone calls I did not return..  Before going to college I had a back log of 6 weeks  and if anybody called I would leave a message saying what kind of time frame there was and if they were still interested leave a message..   

I also started to scuba dive and devoted a huge amount of time and resources to this..  Huge amount of time and resources..  I own 2 scuba compressors.. Both 15cuft at 5000psi.. 

I also started a scuba shop.. LOL.. and specialized in tech gear based on the WKKP divers and GUE specifications..    Had gas blending stations and was certified as a mixed  gas blender as well as Open water, advanced open water, Master scuba diver, instructor, and my personal successes was GUE tech1, tech2, cave 1.   At this point I took a type 2 hit and it turns out because of all the martial arts, blacksmithing work and all the other crazy things I have done.. I have connective tissue problems and would get DCS in my joints easliy..   These would act as seed zones for bubble to form..  I still have partial paralysis on my left side.. 

The scuba diving shop business started to get crazy busy and I shut it down.. Once I took the DCS Hit each time I got in the water on dives in the 60ft and deeper my joints would hurt.. 

By the way.. I am not a money chaser.. Nor am I rich..  I was making really good money in the 90's doing shoeing on horses.  I started to look at why horses have hoof problems and moved away from shoeing horses..  i moved into Barefoot and took a 60% pay decrease..  I still don't make as much money today as I did in the 90's on horses.. 

What I do make is enough to get by and I feel great about the job I do..  The horses are happy, my barefoot hoof trimming business is growing more and more an the owners are happy..  I get really good money per trim..  and with over 20 years involved with barefoot it's been a good ride. 




 

Chris..  Honey, I don't think that is a possibility.. :(  

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thread to trailer build on version 4..  I should have included this in the thread post about trailers.. Better late then never. 
 

 

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31 minutes ago, jlpservicesinc said:

Chris..  Honey, I don't think that is a possibility.. :(  

Well, I jus figgered as versatile as you are, surely you could figger some way of doin' it! ;)

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Jasent,  A person who has that is lucky for sure.. 

 I had to learn happiness comes from inside..  it has nothing to do with much of anything else..  I'm not typically an optimist but it's funny because everyone who knows me thinks I am..   Everyone also thinks I'm a happy person because I'm kinda bubbly.  I really enjoy seeing my customers and the horses.. there is something about being greeted by a dog or a Horse that they can see you for you..  its pretty amazing. 

I've had a very interesting life.. Crazy really and a bunch of hard times..     I've always been a hard worker besides..   

But, as I pointed out to one of my younger friends  Any job worth doing is worth doing well..  Ideally the pride that comes with good work will reward yourself in your own inner smile of gratitude for a job well done..  

I am not a journey person.    I am a results person..          I'm always happy when the job is done.. LOL..    When I was younger I used to be envious of the person who can stop and smell the roses (IE a journey person)..   Now, not at all..  Because it gives me a great work ethic and it also makes me think about how do I get the project done sooner so it can be out of the way..  :) 


Chris,  Well If I can pull it off I'm hoping to get a trailer setup with living quarters in it.. and plan on visiting a few smithies. 

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Well no need to stop here.  Isn't really anything to look at here yet.  I'm as slow as molasses in the dead of Winter.  :D  I seldom get anything done because I'm always trying to do too much at one time.

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Beginning to wonder!  All of my dreams for about the past 6 months have been about people in my past (many who are playing harps in Heaven) :lol:  Kind of has me wondering if someone is "calling". :o

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On January 31, 2020 at 1:04 PM, Chris C said:

All of my dreams for about the past 6 months have been about people in my past (many who are playing harps in Heaven) :lol:  Kind of has me wondering if someone is "calling". :o

Chris, I am spirit.. Just as you and everyone else is..  there is only a thin vale between the here and now and the other worlds.   it is possible to see into these other worlds if one is ready to.  it has nothing to do with death but once someone is open to the idea it can change the belief and perspective of the see'er.  As one opens it becomes easier to open.. 

For we are everywhere all at the same time. 

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Yup.

1 hour ago, CrazyGoatLady said:

You have too many knives you gotta make. So you have to stick around for that you know

Well I dang sure better get crackin' if''n someone is waitin' fer me!  Lot's of knives before I sleep.  ("Miles to go before I sleep".)

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ok, kinda got side tracked off of the smithing thing but it's all intertwined. 

So at this point I had pretty much stopped reading about blacksmithing..  All of the information I had previously read and applied now was kind of a no brainer..  

Where it was for me was time..   I was always looking at time vs quote..   This was one of the largest teaching factors and I experimented with all facets of forging to try to gain on the time factor.  If I quoted 1hr I wanted to be done in 45min..      

Today its almost the exact opposite..  Today I don't care about time and rarely will quote a job.. Now I give them a basic estimate which is based on an off day..  You know, one of those days where things don't go right no matter what..  

And more pictures..  So now we are starting to sneek up on 2000..  I'll post this and one more of photo's..  

the towel holder was made as a response to a smith I knew who was terrible.. One of the worst smiths I had ever seen. But, he was a brilliant business man.. He would fabricate every piece he made and would hit it with a hammer and sell it all as hand made..  the guy used to clean up at every show.. he would show up with buckets full of items and would leave with just a few.. 

I made this towel holder by hand as a direct copy of one he had fabricated..   LOL..  I used to get so miffed that people would eat up his popcorn..   He literally would talk about how hard it was and how it was so tough on the hands and it made his back hurt and he'd hit the metal at the anvil that was barely red and it would fall on the ground and he would then have to get down on 1 kneed to pick it up because he ruined his body smithing.. LOL..    Of course once everybody left he was doing cart wheels..      He would sell the towel holder for 27.50.  

Anyhow..   the guy  did really, really well..   At his home he had a brand new forge and anvil which he never even used..  But had a metal shop of fabrication equipment that was well worn.  He did production fabrication... the guy would come over and ask me how sales were and then flash a hand full of 20's at me..   LOL..  Walk away laughing.. 

I bumped into him for about 5 years on and off..He was about 40 then,  turns out he passed away and was a multi millionaire.   The encounters with him in the same area, used to chap my butt as people would come over and look at my stuff and then say.. Oh well so and so has it for this price..      They were not even close to the same item.. Nor was his piece even hand made.  Anyhow,  it really doesn't matter now, other than the fact that things like this happening exactly when they did led to retirement. 

The photo of the guy is my buddy Larry..  He moved into town and was also a blacksmith.. We got along really well and would swap stories of Demonstration spat..  LOL..  

We are now in the 2000's.

Larry came to me and said the church in town wanted a hand railing for the entrance..  He was sent since he was in good standing.. (You have to understand my family had a reputation in town as BA's..) or aka Rednecks and the town folks kinda would tread lightly..  LOL..    So they sent Larry to act as the middle man and to setup the process. 

So Larry and I forged the hand railing.. Me as lead smith and Larry as helper..  WE each did a side.. It was a lot of fun..   This is as far as the hand railings had gotten.. there is a finial that goes in the scroll work.. Which at some point I will still finish..   it is going to be crazy.. 

Every blacksmith I know who came up threw the ranks has nearly the same stories.. Sadly it's not much better today..     "Have you ever been burnt"..  Is the metal hot?,  do you make swords,  what is the hardest thing you have ever made?  Will you teach me how to make a sword?  Can I buy your gear for 50.00, blah, blah, blahs..?? 

I had a drunk guy come over one night wanting to arm wrestle for all the trailer and gear.. LOL..    "Hey, hey.. yeah you.. Look at the muscles on you Swexxxx  Thxxx,  come on arm wrestle me on the best if I win I get your gear..     LOL.  Anyhow,  Just wacky stuff..         I won the arm wrestling match and all his buddies made fun of him as they walked away.. .. 

And included is a better photo of the draw knife from earlier.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Savage11.. I am a little curious as to what happened to 1-10? I was not going to say this.. But my curiosity got the better of me.. 

   It's been and interesting journey for sure..  Lots of dedicated practice..    There are so many items made I didn't even bother to take photo's of..  I only have a photo of 2 old knives and these were the ones I gave to my Father.  I must have made a hundred if not more. 

Some of the pieces were pretty neat or more complex with hinges or linkage in them to make them work.. 

A few of the items I'm especially proud of but overall I love seeing the variety and consistency. 

 

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Well since i have a little bit of time on my hands I supposed i should add to the finishing touches of the professional blacksmith journey..  

At this point I was shoeing horses and more and more getting disillusioned with a particular aspect of the blacksmithing business..  "People".. Argh..   I know, I know.. Its not them it's me.. 

I fully get it.   Just have never figured out what do with it..   People pay the bill, they call to request more work.. Etc, etc.   After all its the reason why I was into blacksmithing.. to forge things I could then exchange for money..    since day 1.  I really never had to make something and worry about selling it as I don't make something to sell.. 

Every piece I make was a custom order.. The person called, we met, the quote was made, a contract was signed and I made the item.. 50% down with remainder do upon completion. with Materials, taxes and misc included..   

The problem I kept running into was the fact that people despite knowing the items will be hand made still wanted  them at hardware store prices..  Everybody loved the work and the quality and I had so much work..  But I was starting to get burnt out..  I would go and spend a few hours with prospective customers about stuff they wanted for their renovations, or the the new hand railings or new gate..   I would spend hours.. Make samples..   Drop the sample off and never hear from them again..   All of this started to chink away at the armor.. 

I was shoeing horses and getting paid on the spot for the work done.. No one haggling for a better price..  No spending 2 or 3 hrs at someones home going over what they wanted.. 

I even started to charge for home visits which would then be applied to the product as a credit..   I was getting design fee's and the like.. 

So, 2000 is when things started going south.  One out of every 9 customers was fantastic.. Above and beyond what I could have imagined another person could be, kind, generous, understanding, knew what they wanted.  Would be helpful with measurements..  Just great people to work with..   Earlier i could just blow it off..  My blacksmithing personal armor was pretty thick..  At this point I was 14 years in as a pro..   I was putting out some pretty nice stuff and my skill set was very good.. :)  

The farrier work was lucrative and this aspect was growing steadily.. . Because I was seeing the conflict with the customer base on blacksmithing,  I would take on jobs but my heart wasn't into it and each job that brought about the same results as the other 8 customers just jaded me more.. 

Some people can produce work and that is it..  Done, gone..    I have never been able to separate myself from the work.. 

the photo of the hinges were the last job.. I closed up shop during this job.. 2004 was it.. This was the job that broke it for me.. I did have some work done during these hinges And I videod some of it.. 

I had planned on writing a book so when time was free i'd sit and sketch out process steps. 

the last few jobs were of the hinges, this fireplace set who the customer was a Muslim and there could not be any crosses or things that looked like a christian cross..  You would not believe the discussions we had especially after I submitted 3 designs and he then said.. No crosses..  You want to hold 3 tools but no crosses.. The stand does not have a handle on top of the center because of this.   

the handles themselves are dagger shaped so both sides are that radial taper with a center alignment. 

I was at quote time wise,  but ideally the bottom should have gotten a diagonal brace on both sides this would have topped off the design element and kept it from rocking.. 

the tools on this stand would rock for hours..The bottom of the stand had no rocking. But...  If you moved a tool or a wind blew.. This stand upright would literally stock rocking like it was alive and the tools would swing for hours.. Crazy really. I have video of the the stand just sitting there and the tools seem to swing more and more..  Weird.. 

I had left for lunch and came back nearly 2hrs later and the tools were still in full movement. 

I have to extract a few more photos of some Thru Cusp bean pattern latches but this was all of the footage and photo's at this point.. 

Next part will be the rebirth story. 

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That's why I don't know that I would want to do this for a living. Some paid work is nice, but I don't want to lose the enjoyment I have in it. When I used to draw a lot, people were always asking me to draw something for them. And I did it most of the time and gave it to them. But I started considering my time and this is something most of these folks did not understand. I got burnt out on it then when someone would ask, I would give them a price then. Suddenly, they weren't as interested. So, to this day, I still don't do it much unless some sudden inspiration hits me and it's something I want to do. Not something some one else wants. I guess I should say, just for my own enjoyment

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One is extremely Blessed when a hobby can be enjoyed as a profession.  Not everyone has that Blessing.  I did for 17 years as a custom furniture builder.  But when I retired, I found that I honestly no longer found great pleasure in wood working as a hobby.  Hmmmmmm?  I can still make something the little wife wants and enjoy the process and reward of the completion.  But I don't jump onto another project the very next day or even start planning the next project.  Just no "lust" for it.  Not quite sure where I want this forge work to end up.  Do know I'm enjoying making these knives........even though this one is only my second.  Will just have to see what the journey turns out to be.

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CGL and Chris,   All very good points..     Your journey in smithing does not have to be the same as mine..  There are a bunch of people on here and all over who make a living and sell their wares and are happy with doing smithing and sales.. 

For myself..   I have never been able to separate out..  Me from the work..    I still have a time with it..  " I am not the job.. It's the job I do... "    this is the ideal. someone makes something and they sell it..  That's all it's just an exchange or barter.. 

My story above was a reflection of how I felt during that time frame.   I've always been sensitive and had I been a different person it might have been substantially diffferent.. 

I was actually starting to get semi famous  and I was getting recruited to supply work as far away a Boston..  When I closed the doors I had 30 messages on the machine for people wanting work..    I just didn't have it anymore.. 

In order for me to make something I have to be able to see it in my mind..  It looks like a 3D sketch or a photo and then I can make it..  NO sketch, me no makey.. 

Within a 1hr meeting of those wonderful people who wanted the hinges I was done..    My back was broken..  but it was self induced..   I had no more vision..   All gone, kaput.. 

So, that was that..      (My desire to forge was gone)..    

You guys and others making bank in the Blacksmithing community today have so many more opportunities than I did way back..  The customer base now is National or even international for some people..  The work is what they want to do and the air today around blacksmithing or bladesmithing is phenomenal.  The potential today is off the charts.. 

How many are selling strictly tools to other smiths and making a haul..  

This leads semi back to my bladesmithing friend..  Did he see the writing on the wall before I ventured out the door??   Would I have been better off just doing the knives.. :)  

I don't know.. And it doesn't really matter..  LOL..  its just funny. 


I won't ever be successful simply because I run from success..   Up until a few years ago I never wanted to be involved more  with the world wide view of smithing..   I just really wanted to produce great forgings and make a living doing it..   But I was to attached.. 

Anyhow..   I love selling stuff now..   Even if it's a whim.. I never plan to sell anything and sometimes or in fact most times I would just as soon give it away to deserving people...  Not practical though. 

So, this in fact concludes the shop closing aspect..    The rebirth is around the corner.. 

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