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I Forge Iron

Garage forge?


Adam Wa

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You may want to contact the Chambers of Commerce or Economic Development in Camas or Vancouver to see if there are any storage unit places that are catering to entrepreneurs or "makers"  such as woodworkers, microbrewers, potters, etc.. That may fit your needs better than a plain vanilla locker.  Also, many units do not have electrical power which may not restrict forging but will be a problem if you are doing bench work with a drill, grinder, etc..  Make sure they know that you will have large fire extinguisher handy.

For a number of years I forged in a rented garage with my coal forge just outside the open door and my anvil just inside.  It worked reasonably well but in the winter it got problematic.

If you do find a place where you can set up a propane forge inside make absolutely sure that you have adequate ventilation and at least 1 carbon monoxide detector.

In older neighborhoods you may be able to find a detached garage that is not being used by the owner and they would rather have a monthly rent check.  In that case, make sure you have all the fire suppression and safety equipment and present yourself as trustworthy.

BTW, you are a "hobby metal worker" NOT a blacksmith.  If you are presenting yourself as a business you are a small metal working concern, again, NOT a blacksmith.  Blacksmithing carries connotations of loud, dirty, and dangerous to lay folk.

Good luck.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Excellent advice from George.  Don't overlook shared rental of industrial space either.  Not all of those old large factories got renovated into condos, some got partitioned up and have light industrial tenants.  My first, and best, shop was in an industrial building with fine woodworkers, a filter manufacturing company, toymaker, and two other glassblowers, among others.  It was nice to have metered natural gas, a freight elevator, periodic loan of an electric forklift, 3 phase power..  They are out there as well.

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  There is a place in Omaha called HotShops and I spent a lot of time there.  It was in an old refurbished building as well.  They have studios and shops but they are filled up with a waiting list. Glassblowers/artists, blacksmithing even a foundry.

  I did a search of Camas, Vancouver and Portland and didn't find much.  Which is suprising.  Makerplaces and collectives are getting more popular.  

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Just got this beauty from a guy on craigslist. he had it sitting in the garage for years and never even touched it. I opened it and it seems to move smoothly. Got it $235, not bad since another guy I talked to had several and wanted $1500 for a 200lb vise. This one is probably about 50lbs. But glad I was able to snatch it up when I saw it.

I found a Northwest Blacksmith Association group in Longview, WA. About a 45 min drive for me. They are having a intro class for making throwing daggers this Saturday. $125 for the class. I emailed them asking if I could get into the class but have not heard anything back yet. Here is hoping I can get in to get some real time in a forge and some experience.

Jaws open full profile.jpg

close up jaws closed.jpg

Top jaws.jpg

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Nice looking vise, and one of the often overlooked key tools for setting up a good blacksmith shop.  Prices vary a lot with location.  In my area that would be on the higher side for a vise with 4' wide jaws, but just about right for one with either 5 or 6" wide jaws (that is width of jaw, not jaw opening size).  Screw threads and jaws look to be in excellent condition and all the parts are there, so you are ahead on that account.

Hope you can get into the class, sounds like fun.  From all I've heard the Northwest Blacksmith Association is a pretty active group, so it is certainly worth getting involved with them.

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