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Heyo! Not sure how many people are reading this, or how far I’ll get with this considering the COVID-19 crisis happening, but I thought I’d introduce myself and get started somewhere. So I’m Tyler Savage, aka black raptor, I’m 23 and I live in the ghost lake area of Alberta, Canada. I am beginning blacksmithing and leatherworking, and I am also starting out my own (temporary) shop, which I’m hoping to upgrade it and turn it into a business, I have some cool things for the business aspect. I’m also on a budget ($50 to be exact, and whatever I get from my GST check) and I’ll probably be recycling metal, melting stuff, crafting and making whatever tools I don’t have, as I have a bit of tools, I also made some cool stuff from my last blacksmithing class (I’ll post pictures tomorrow if people ask) I’m very open to anything, new ideas, criticism, etc. As long as you don’t tell me to give up blacksmithing for the rest of my life, I learn very fast on some things and I have some cool things I want to try and experiment, I’m also a fan of Damascus and bladesmithing, the problem I have is that not many people want to apprentice or train other blacksmiths where I’m from (at least not for a decent price, or free, which I didn’t expect) which is why I’m here! I have lots of junk and a friend with lots more junk, but I just need to learn and try some new things I haven’t experienced, forged in fire can only teach you so much, lol, but yeah, that’s me, sorry it’s so long, and if you want to ask something or you have something you want to tell or talk to me about, let me know! You can even ping me if you like, I’m used to it with discord, and yes, I did read some of the beginner tips for this site here, stay safe everyone!

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Welcome aboard. You'll find this is an unbelievable storehouse of smithing knowledge and experience. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask but in order to not get on the bad side of folks try to see if there's not a post that answers your question. We appreciate folks who do their homework and are eager to help them succeed. Here's a link that will explain a few quirks of the site and help you get the most out of IFI. https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/53873-read-this-first/

Good luck, always be safe, and remember it's supposed to be fun.

Pnut

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With a lot of folks "homebound" we are seeing quite a bit of traffic on this site and perhaps a bit more wordy and apt to wander off track on posts.

I salute your urge to try to do this as a living.  When I was in my late 20's I apprenticed to a swordmaker for a year and learned that while I loved it as a hobby; doing it as a business was not suitable for me.  Good thing to learn when young and "flexible"!  

So tell us about what kinds of tools you have, what kinds of things you are interested in.  Do you have a job to bring in money while working on your business?  What does your market look like?  Does Canada have something like the US's Small Business Administration to help folks get the "paperwork" straightened out? Got any special skills?

Got any hobbies besides "messing with metal"?

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Welcome aboard Tyler. It sounds like you will fit right in here. The link pnut gave you is full of hints like how to do the best search because the forum search is not the best and some will help in staying off the moderators radar. We love pictures, just be sure to resize them so they don't take up so much bandwidth and data. We have members world wide and many still have to rely upon dial up internet or pay extra for data. Remember in rust we trust.:)

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Welcome aboard Tyler, glad to have you. Oh I don't know, forged in Fire is very instructive, a good place to learn how not to do many things. 

It's not really very expensive to get started, without knowing how to forge the only tool you'll probably need to buy is a smooth faced hammer. I recommend under 32 oz. to get started, once you build hammer control and muscle in the right place heavier hammers aren't likely to injure you or ruin hard work. I like starting guys with a 32 oz. Drill hammer, they have shorter handles which makes them easier to control and they're plenty heavy enough to make permanent mistakes quickly enough. I have several and one is always on my in use rack.

You'll have less trouble on the learning curve if you buy a stick of mild steel, I start folk off on 3/8" square or 1/2" round they come to the same weight per linear foot so it doesn't make much difference which. It's heavy enough to hold heat for a while so a new comer can get more done per heat but it's light enough you're not going to kill yourself making it move for you. 1/2" square is okay but on the heavy side for good beginning projects.

Once you've become proficient with the basic skills learning to evaluate and forge found steel is easier. No good reason to try climbing two learning curves at he same time, it actually takes longer and sets you up for more failures. Honest, been there done that.

Leather and iron are good pursuits though I haven't done much leather work in a long time I really enjoyed it. Still, it's not playing with fire and hitting things with hammers. That a hard one to best. What are you thinking of making besides damascus blades that is. 

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Wow, that’s quite the welcome party, thanks guys! I’ll answer you all in a sec, thanks pnut I have now read the link and I’ll be sure to do my research for sure! I sure hope I can learn a lot on here, good luck to you too!

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Posted (edited)

Oh cool Thomas ! I would’ve loved to apprentice to a swordmaker or swordsmith! Too bad there aren’t many willing to apprentice where I’m from, even before corona. I have a picture of my tools bellow, I tried to make the picture smaller but my phone is acting up, and I was too busy today to change the sizes, but I have a short-handled sledge and an engineering hammer I think? And I got a couple of ball peen hammers, one almost twice as big as the other, a couple wielding hammers I think (I know they don’t have spring handles to differentiate the heat, they came that way. I also have 3 files, 2 with round sides, I have 2 tongs I made with a little help, also have a black bandana, wielding apron, safety glasses, earplugs, wielding gloves, and the thing standing in the back of the box is my dragon I made, although I think it’s a snake now cause I had a time constraint and couldn’t add in more features, I’ll post my leatherworking tools later in my gallery, as well as the 18th century barn I’m setting up shop in, and the firepoker I made. I’m interested in trying to learn as much blacksmithing and leatherworking as I can, although the most interesting I want to do is bladesmithing and Damascus, as well as custom work, I work as a farmhand for my parents so that keeps rent, food, horse board, and that is how I got the barn, unfortunately I don’t have much to spare until my gst check, although I am going for training to be a youth peer support worker once this corona thing blows over. And my market doesn’t look very well with corona, but once it’s over it’ll be way better as I live next to Cochrane which is a very rich town, and I already have a business name, a logo I’m drawing, and a slogan, I’m also be working on a website when I get there and I have deep ties with Cochrane, and plus cosplayers from Calgary are always looking for a good deal. And I’m not sure if I have something like a small business administration where I’m from, all the businesses I know just do paperwork and send it to the government and they sort it out, I’ll check it out. I have very good chemistry, mathematical, and spiritual skills, as well as being intuitive, adaptive, an out of the box thinker, and a problem solver, with the spiritual stuff, I can make holy water and fire, raise flames certain way, and I sometimes forge the soul of an item with part of my own and can insert it in a body of a similar item to make it complete. As for hobbies, I do horseback riding, archery, and novel writing!

85C15D29-6660-4D98-9899-DBEDD10DD8A6.jpeg

Thank you irondragon I will try my best! I don’t want to get on the mods bad sides, I just realized how the text thing works with the posting now, I’ll fix it! Cool slogan “in rust we trust”

Edited by blackraptor
Accidentally made the text too big

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Haha, that’s true frosty! I have pretty good hammer control from hammering up fencing for years, horses have a nack for finding trouble, haha, I think I have some hammers like that, and I know about making permanent mistakes, I had this can opener I was making and it had nice swirls at the end and I go to use a power hammer (which I still need to make) and I accidentally flattened it, ouch! So I learned a hard lesson from that. I’ll definitely get ahold of some mild steel bars for sure! I’m also trying to make a foundry so I can just melt my mistakes for something better, and me and a friend have so much junk that we aren’t worried about wasting metal, I can always melt it down too… sometimes. And thank you for the advice, I’ll start small and just build up my shop and get into the swing of things before I go into something more exciting! I do wish I had more leather though haha, I want to do many things in and out of Damascus too! Jewelry and silver work, tools, gunsmithing, decorative, farrier work, armour work, repairs, locksmithing, custom work, that kind of thing.

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I also have a piece of railroad track and I meat check the sizes, not change, can’t change the size of a hammer practically 

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Relax a little will ya? You don't have to respond to everybody every time they say something, we're an easier going bunch than that. The hammer with the green ribbon on the handle is a Drill hammer, it has the typical head and short handle. They were made like this for driving drills in confined spaces say a mine tunnel. When you're hand drilling with bit and hammer accuracy COUNTS, missed blows SMART!

Your tongs look pretty good from here, how do they work? You look advanced enough to make a few varieties of tongs for the practice. Tongs are more of an intermediate level project but some beginners have a better knack. 

Nice dragon hatchling. Most dragons hatch without wings and grow them later. Too bad the broken egg isn't handy, it'd make a perfect stand. Don't you think? 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Good Morning Tyler,

You are a neighbour to a hidden treasure on Chapman Road, Canadian Museum of Making. Don't drop by, you need an invite.

Neil

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Frosty: 

Back when I worked in a hard rock mine we called a hammer like that a "single jack."  One that required two hands was a "double jack."  There are old mining towns in Colorado that still have hand drilling contests during the summer.  I suspect there are in Alaska too.  For someone drilling with a double jack and a shaker (the person who holds and rotates the drill bit) I'm reminded of the verse in the "John Henry" song, "John Henry said to his shaker, "Now, boy, you'd better pray. 'Cause if I miss with this nine pound hammer tomorrow will will be you're buryin' day."

Blackraptor:

The biggest thing in learning to be a blacksmith is the hand/eye coordination of where to hit the hot metal and how hard to get it to move how you want it to.  It is sort of like learning to play a video game.  The best way to learn it is just to get metal hot and hit it.  You will make lots of mistakes and take the long way around to finish something but with time the skill comes.  We are all still learning.  Some of us are still learning after years and decades of doing it.

There are a lot of good videos on Youtube and some really bad ones too.  Watch carefully and then try to repeat it yourself.  You will develop the muscle memory for a task which lasts a lot longer and imprints deeper than just watching something and trying to recall it.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Hey frosty, glad I can be more chill on this forum, many others have been more demanding, And that’s good to know about the drill hammer, good story to tell young blacksmiths. It took me a try or two to make those tongs, I accidentally hammered out the part where the pin pivots, but made it the wrong direction, but made it past that learning curve pretty quickly, I will try to forge a more variety of tongs very soon, as the ones I have are the more basic tongs with the flat mouth, and the dragon thing I plan to hang it above my shop somewhere where it’s easy to see, but not get in the way, I thought the eggshell idea was good, maybe I’ll forge something like that sometime :)

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Yeah, you can relax and enjoy the garden party, rules are simple and pretty strictly enforced. No bad language, no name calling, religion or political discussions. You can argue so long as it's reasonably courteous, heck we thrive on different opinions. We do our best not to feed trolls but they're tricky stinkers. So, chill and join a pun thread if you're so inclined. 

Oh NO!:o Don't tell us you forged a Left and a Right side of the tongs! I don't think any of have done that one . . . time. It' like turning a finial scroll the wrong way on a coat hook, it's counter intuitive to do it the right way. The secret to recovering your tongs is do it again and make a Right handed pair and a Left handed pair. Yeah, there's a very real difference between left handed and right handed tongs, there's thread about it.

Remember, each half of a pair of tongs should be as identical as you can make them.  There are some excellent well vetted, how to videos in the video section. Several slightly different ways to make most anything, tongs included. 

A broken egg was the first thing I thought of when I saw your lil' dragon (wyrm). A close pipe nipple and a ball pein makes forging hemispheres easy to forge. Smooth up the end of the pipe nipple and just stand it on your anvil, lay s smallish piece of thin sheet metal over it and drive it in with the ball pein. The smaller the diameter of the nipple the thinner the sheet needs to be. A nut makes a good bottom "cupping" die too. 

I'm thinking one would look good holding the light in it's jaws, over the shop door. Maybe the egg partly protruding from the wall, maybe just breaking through the wall. 

Dragon door knockers are popular. Heck Dragon anything is popular.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Welcome raptor! 

I'm a relative newbie myself. I haven't even made my own tongs yet. You came to the right place- I've already learned alot just by reading... I lurk alot. Lol...

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Frosty pretty much covered the site rules.  He forgot to mention the READ THIS FIRST thread as a good place to start.

When time allows, you can research the difference between left and right handed hammers.  And yes there is such a thing.  

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Man I'm glad my post showed up. I sent it and the site timed out and I had to start from the opening page and couldn't find this thread again. It would've helped if I remembered the subject line.  I need to write myself a note about the READ THIS FIRST link, I never remember to include it. <sigh>

Happy Easter gang.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Melting steel is a LOT more involved and costly to do it right and safely than melting the low temp metals like Al and Brass. It is also generally NOT cost effective when we are awash in new and used steel already.

I asked about the SBA as the swordmaker I worked under---he had a 2 year backlog of orders and his blades went for thousands of US dollars---back in the 1980's, and he once told me that how he depreciated his tools on his taxes sometimes made a difference between making a profit or not in a year. He qualified for Food Stamps at times.

Living near a "high rent" area is great; one thing to become aware of is mandatory requirements, (Building Codes), for items used in construction.  Here in the USA in many places there is a 4" sphere rule:  any railing or gate cannot allow a 4" diameter ball to pass through any gap in it.  You can see how this can change a design and how a very expensive hand crafted item's sale can boomerang on you if it doesn't pass inspection.

 

 

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