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SelfAppointedApprentice

Hello from SouthWest Florida

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Hello everyone,

I'm living in Cape Coral right now and I'm happy to be starting on this journey; even in a time where it seems like it might be difficult sourcing things to get started.

I've been looking through the forums, using googles search function for the site and doing my own research outside of the website as well as watching videos on constructing various forges from JABOD's to coffee can forges lined with a 50/50 mix of PoP and Sand.

I'm going to start with making a JABOD probably with some unscented kitty litter as a liner.

As far as an anvil goes i'm not 100% on how I'm going to go about sourcing that. I'm checking out a scrap yard on Friday for any large flat steel objects I can lug out on my own, but I've been looking at railroad track sections on ebay as well, wondering how well they'd hold up for beginner work (I know enough currently to stray away from cheap ASO's).

I don't have a lot of materials, still need to grab myself a vice and maybe some extra hand tools, like a heavier hammer. I hope to get to a flea market this weekend as well if they're open to see if I can source some cheap things. Craigslist and letgo seem to be pretty empty down here, right now.

Currently, perseverance seems to be the name of the game. I'm going to keep gathering what I can to get started and hope to be banging out stuff in no time.

I'm hoping this will be a foray into something that I can hone and flourish with into making small gifts and whatnot for family, friends and myself! I'd like to make stuff like bottle openers, back scratchers, and knives. So lots to strive for currently that should keep me occupied :)

I don't know how many people are in SWFL, but I know theres the Florida Artist Blacksmiths Association and they seem to have a few down here somewhere.

Anyways, thanks for the opportunity to introduce myself! And if anyone has any advice I'm all ears!!! Hopefully I'll be sharing progress photos in no time :D

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Welcome aboard whatever your name is, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the HEADER you'll meed a lot more folks within visiting distance. Saying your location in one post won't stick in anybody's memory once they open another thread. 

Plaster of Paris is NOT a refractory material and degrades at far lower temps than a decent forge operates. A JABOD doesn't need anything special so long as it will pack reasonably hard, that's why the name says it's a box of Dirt, not refractory. Of course if your ground is mostly sandy then a LITTLE clay will bind it nicely and kitty litter works a treat. Just don't get it too wet, just damp enough to pack is perfect, mud will shrink check as it dries like a . . . MUD PUDDLE. 

RR rail makes a fine anvil mounted on end, Charles Stevens initiated an excellent thread about how versatile a vertical rail anvil can be. One of the guys in the Alaska club recently posted pics about a mod he made to a vertical rail anvil. The JABOD is also a contribution by Charles and the basic forge is as ancient as forging metal on earth. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Seeing the price some folks wanted for rail on craigslist makes me wish you were closer to my favorite scrapyard: 22 USCents a pound.

Also keep your eyes open for a forklift sales/service/repair place as a broken fork can make a nice anvil.  You have to assure them it's not going back on a forklift---if you are lucky they will even cut it to length for you to make sure!

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I definitely recommend joining FABA. There is an active group down south  (two, actually -- SW, and SE). I've heard some of the southern FABA members gush over their local scrap yard that apparently has a good selection of promising improvised anvils and other materials; I'm sure someone would be able to point you towards it. Some of the regions are hosting virtual meetings right now, but a few are still hosting (or have resumed) in-person meetings. 

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Thanks for the suggestions, all!

Yeah I've read that about the PoP not really being able to hold up over time which is why im looking more into the JABOD now.

I've seen some posts on here about those forklift forks as well, really neat stuff!

I will absolutely check out FABA some more. I know someone just did a facebook stream demonstration somewhere down here and had it up on there. I'll see about contacting one of the locals in the are to see what they'd recommend. Thanks again everyone, glad to be here!

-Stu

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