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I Forge Iron

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I am a LSU graduate with a BS in Engineering, 1986.  Louisiana registered profession engineer #25201 in Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Fire Protection Engineering.  NRA Master classification in highpower rifle and Distinguished Rifleman's Badge #2276.

I purchased an anvil and a propane forge in September, 2020.  Since then I have spent most of my blacksmith time with tool making and improving my hammer control.  I get great satisfaction making my own tools while learning a four thousand year old craft.  The master blacksmiths on YouTube make it look so easy.  My first successful project was forging and making handles for a bullet mold.  I hope to learn much from all of you.

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Hey DHVidrine, welcome to the forum.  I took to a forge welding class in Louisiana this past weekend at John Perilloux's place.  The class was taught by Brian Brazeal, we had a lot of fun.  Maybe I'll run into you down that way some time.

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DHV, Welcome aboard.  If you haven't already read "Read this first" at the top of the page.  You will find a wealth of experience here and, generally, someone is willing to answer or point you in the right direction to do your own research.  There is quite a varied population of smiths here, some may have never finished high school and some have advanced professional degrees.  Ages run from early teens into folk in their 70s.  There are probably extremely varied religious and political views here but they are very off limits under the terms of service.  Nothing will get the attention of the moderators faster and not in a good way than some gratuitous political or religious comment.

I hope that you will find the craft as rewarding as I have.  This is my 43d year of hitting hot metal and I hope to keep doing it for many more.  It is a hobby that can pay for itself which is something that few avocations can do.  Some folk even make their living at it.

There are some very good videos on youtube.  There are also a lot of bum ones.  I particularly like the ones from our Jennifer (JPL Services) and John at Black Bear Forge. Torbjorn Ahlstrom from Sweden also has good videos.  It is probably easier to grow in the craft today with internet resources like IFI and videos than it was in the late '70s when all I had was library books and my own mistakes to guide me.  It was probably 15 years before I met another smith.

Try to find your local ABANA affiliate and become active in the group if you possibly can.  You can learn much faster in person than any other way.  Also, if you watch a demonstration or a video try to do it yourself as soon as possible because that will set it in your muscle memory which will last much better than mental memory.

Again, welcome to the madness.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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When I saw your picture I wondered what a bullet mold had to do with blacksmithing. Then read about you making the handles. I too cast bullets for 44 different calibers/weights and grumble every time I have to change handles. Being frugal (some say cheap), I refuse to spend the money for factory handles for all of them. The thought never entered my mind that I can make my own handles, time to fire up the forge and to thank you for that. It's amazing the things we learn on iforgeiron.

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I went the other way; found a pair of commercial tongs someone had brazed a mold to; heated them in the forge, a sharp tap on the anvil---and they were good to go as tongs again.  I also picked up a set of tempering tongs at the fleamarket and added them to the rack as they stand! 

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