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I Forge Iron

Coming up With a Touchmark Design


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So I am generally a fairly artistic and creative person able to sketch design ideas and such. However, for the life of me I cannot seem to come up with a touch mark design, or even any ideas. 

Obviously it should not be too complex or you'll lose details or need an obnoxiously large mark. Nor do you want it to be too simple, you do want it to be recognizable. 

I have some business cards printed up and I called the forge "Backyard Blacksmith" since the forge is quite literally setup in my backyard. 

Anyone have any tips to get the design juices flowing or criteria to watch out for?

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"The Backyard Blacksmith" is the title of a book so it's maybe not such a good name.

So, what elements or ideas do you wish to represent? Mine would be easy, two stacked circles and a rectangle cocked at an angle, no broom, eyes, twig arms necessary. I've just never made it.

What's distinctive about what you make, the shop, you, the neighborhood, etc.? Throw out thoughts and we'll brainstorm the stuffings out of them for you. Hmmm?

Frosty The Lucky. 

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That is a very fair point and one I didn’t realize until after I had printed out some cards of course! 
 

I like making anything though mostly ornamental or useful. Pokers, roasting sticks, coat racks. Thinks like that. One knife has been made by yours truly to date. 
We've got wild chickens in town a number of which roam our neighborhood. 
I enjoy building things. Machining, welding, woodworking, obviously Blacksmithing. I do a bit of sewing on occasion with my $20 thrift store vintage singer. I have an old VW Squareback and a Porsche (VW) 914. 
Nothing distinctive about the shop, just a tin roof lean-to next to the garage so that may be the least interesting part of the whole shebang ha!
 

I can easily change the name and print some new business cards as well. 
 

Also thank you to the mods for moving this, I wasn’t sure if this should go in general, the business side or tooling since it’s a bit of a broad question. 

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Hmmm. Tin lean-to blacksmithing's Touch mark being an anvil under a line drawing lean-to? Two different length vertical lines connected by a slanting line over a line drawing anvil?

I can't think of one for the Shanty Town Forgeries. Maybe later.

Okay guys, we have a brother needs a hand, let the brainstorming begin!

Frosty The Lucky.

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The obvious choice for a touchmark is a name or initials of the smith or the smithy.  Or, some sort of symbol significant to the smith, e.g. Templehound, an amazing master bladesmith from Thailand uses a hawk.  Others use a "totem animal" such as a wolf, eagle, dolphin, chicken, aardvark, etc.  This generally works better as a silhouette than a detailed representation.  Others use initials or a single letter in a different alphabet besides the Latin one I am writing in here.  I use the Old English/Anglo-Saxon rune for G (an X with 4 small strokes to the left and right of the crossing of the lines forming small diamonds on either side of the crossing.  If you click on my avatar photo, go to my IFI page, and click on my photo again you can see it on my apron.) A person, depending on their taste and interests could use Cyrillic, Greek, Thai, Arabic, Hebrew, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, or any other alphabet.  I have always thought that one using Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs would be cool but it would be hard to actually make a stamp unless it was commercially done.

Depending on how you are planning to construct the touchmark stamp may affect the design.  A simple sillouette is pretty easy to do fron the outside edges of the stamp.  Anything with an interior depression, e.g. the letters B or A, are harder because you have to depress the central areas.  The way I did mine was to get the stamp hot and use a small square punch to strike in 2 square diamonds close to each other.  Then, using a file and dremel tool I carved away the metal between the legs of the X shape and on the outside of the diamonds.  Not Eeze Peeze but not as hard as you would think.  

If you want a silhouette I would draw it on the end of the stamp with a very fine felt tip marker and then file away everything without marker on it.

You don't need to harden or temper it but since it will be used on hot metal an air hardening alloy is best and any carbon steel will last longer than mild.  I just used a piece of coil spring.

If you have or plan to have a power or treadle hammer a handled stamp is preferable.  You could forge out a ball peen hammer head by drawing out the ball to a stamp shape and carve the touchmark into the end of that and install a new handle.  Mine is a simple, unhandled stamp but I use a pair of vise grips to hold it when I am using it with my treadle hammer.

There are places that will make custom metal stamps.  I check a few years ago and IIRC the ones I looked at wanted about $100 for a single custom order.  That may be way out of date now.  There may be computer controlled laser cutters which can do any design very quickly and cheaply.

Given the wild chickens in your town you could use a chicken or rooster.  There are some good rooster silouettes used by the French since the cock is a symbol of France just as the lion is for the UK, the bear for Russia, and the eagle for the USA.

IMO touchmarks using blacksmith tools such as anvils, tongs, and hammers are overdone.  I suggest something more unique and meaningful to you.

"Tin Roof Forge" might have possibilities as a name.

NGWUN, the initial of your handle might be sort of an in joke.

I'd stay away from the words "forgery" or "forgeries" because of the connotation of fake and false intending to deceive.  I once had a misunderstnding with my mother when I told her I was looking for forging tools and she assumed the falsehood meaning when I meant the fabricating meaning.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."  

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If you named your business after the wild chickens, you could be Wild Chicken Metal Craft, with a square layout of vertically mirrored initials:

1886404183_touchmarkideasforNGWUN.jpg.f1c457ffa8d876bb713be074c89d931e.jpg

I messed around with these options. I think I like the bottom row, centre. But, it's your smithy, your choice to name!

Cheers,

Jono.

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Shop name, thanks to the chickens and that most of your shop hobbies go bang:

Cluck Clank Shop  or   Chirp Bang Manf

Then the touch mark could be a design with the letters CCS or the illustrations of the onomatopoeias inside a jagged oval. 

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This is fantastic so far, thanks to everyone who has thrown ideas out there. I kinda like the mirrored WC, simple but looks good. 

Will have to do some pondering still and maybe sketch out a couple of these other ideas. If anyone else has anything to add feel free!

Cheers to all and have a great weekend!

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You can also strike or otherwise incise a design in the end of a punch.  Then, you will have a circular depression in the marked work with the design standing proud within the depression.  Because this style has more surface area it works best with striking it into hot metal with a power or treadle hammer or a large hand hammer.

Just in case you don't know it and it may or may not make a difference to you but WC is the common English and European abbreviation for "water closet," meaning "toilet."

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Dang it George, you just had to go and make that connection huh? :lol: I doubt that I'll ever get big enough doing this as a hobby to make it over to the far side of the pond, so it may not be a huge deal... Reminds me of all the times big companies go to release something in a different country only to have a huge flop because of a name connotation or translation oversight. 

I have noticed that John Switzer has two touchmarks, one a small bear and one with the initials of either his name or his shop. I may do something like that where you can have both pieces when space permits but aren't constrained trying to fit everything into one touch mark. 

Thanks again to everyone who participated, have a very happy Thanksgiving!

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An amusing example was when Coke started selling in China. Coca Cola is an obscene phrase in one or two of the many major dialects and with much help they came up with, "Happy mouth happy face" as the name. Same colors on the can and bottle. 

Make a toilet bowl with flames part of the touch mark? The tank could have a horn even. Hmmm? If you like the idea, give a shout I'm flush with catch phrase ideas.:)

Frosty The Lucky.

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I use a monogram I designed in fourth grade (we were doing a unit on the Book of Kells); it’s a stylization of my first and last initial intertwined. Here it is on a recent hammer:

246B22A7-125C-45DE-BAC9-FFE528F88796.thumb.jpeg.da587a6bfdfec3b6fdc3edc1a645598e.jpeg

And here’s a slightly smaller version I made for the fly press:

00D4F0C0-6E9D-43F1-AC7E-C2A1FABF61EC.thumb.jpeg.a744fe33b73ec9455bc3012716bfe937.jpeg

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I followed a business coarse in the beginning of this year. 

An advise that the different teachers and entrepreneurs gave me is, don't try to invent THE best name and logo for your firm. Pick something that looks nice, that sounds good and is easy and simple to remember. 

they gave us a homework of making a one-pager (a one page website) with the name, logo and a short sentence/description of what you stand for. We had that lession on a thursday and on saterday we had to present it. 

Online you can find name-generators for businesses. Some even let you choose if you want it sort/long, real words or ... same for logo's. 

If you end up liking something, choose it, you can always simplify the logo to fit the stamp.

I did not continue with my idea, the market was flooded and now after summer, a lot of the stores still have them, with the current crisis not a lot of people bought them. However, my name and logo I have and will use for my smithing if i ever want to sell stuff.

I believe i used https://namelix.com/ 

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