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I Forge Iron

Shop closed due to pandemic, trying to make it unsupervised!

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Hello all,

I started blacksmithing through classes at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle a few years ago, and have paid their daily shop rental fees when the itch to smack hot steel comes upon me. Given current circumstances closing Pratt indefinitely, I'm now looking into setting up my own space. I've lurked here from time to time, but now that I need to source everything myself, I think it's time to come out of the shadows and talk to folks. Anyone in the greater Seattle area with a lead on good local suppliers, feel free to drop a tip here! I will also gladly accept your most embarrassing newbie blacksmith stories in lieu of useful information.

Thanks in advance for all the dumb questions I will surely subject you all to.



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I don't have any embarrassing newbie blacksmith stories---twernt anybody else around back then, no cell phones either---no pictures, no witnesses--IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!

Are you planning to use propane, natural gas, charcoal, bituminous coal, anthracite or coke?

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Dear Greeningly,

This is how I started and I'm sure that many others followed a similar path.  In 1978 I bought a forge and 100# anvil for $25 each at an auction in Riverton, WY.  I had to clean the mouse nests out of the blower and clean the layers of pine sap on it but I found some old, nasty slaked (weathered) coal and got some books out of the library and started getting steel hot and hitting it with a hammer.  It was probably 15 years before I met another smith and saw how anyone else did it.  I'm sure that I developed some bass ackwards ways of doing things since I am self trained and probably still so some things in an eccentric way but things get done.

Today, with internet resources I think that it is probably easier to learn on your own.  Probably, the biggest thing to learn in blacksmithing is the hand, eye, brain coordination.  That is, how hard and where to hit to move the metal in the way you want.  It is sort of like picking up a video game controller for the first time or texting on a phone.  The basic skills are deeply involved in muscle memory.  If you watch someone demonstrate something either in person or on a video then do it yourself on your own forge.  It is like riding a bicycle, you have a harder time forgetting muscle memory than if is just in your brain.

Good luck and don't be shy about asking for advice on IFI.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."   

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Take a look at the improvised anvil threads here. Don't get stuck on thinking it has to be a London Pattern to be an anvil virtually any reasonably heavy smooth faced piece of steel will serve nicely. Forklift tines make EXCELLENT anvils.

Almost any smooth faced hammer 32 oz. or lighter will move steel for you without so much chance of injury or rapid fatiguing. I recommend a 32 oz. Drill hammer to my students, it's plenty of hammer to move steel effectively, the shorter handle makes control easier and is less tiring. 

If you want to build a propane burner give me a shout.

Frosty The Lucky.

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