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I Forge Iron

Question to anyone with experiance in smithing-


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New here, so sorry if this is the wrong section.
Im in my last year in highschool, by now most know(or at least have an idea)
of what they wanna do for a living, me on the other hand, not so much.

Im trying to find something i'd enjoy doing, but still make enough to get by on.
from what i've seen thus far, blacksmithing dosnt seem like It could make enough, but since I know so little about it, I figured i'd ask before I wrote it off my list since its something i've always been interested in.

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I guess I'll put my 2 Cents in here. From what I know about Blacksmithing / Metal Fabricating.. You have to be pretty darn talented to make a good living at it, Plus have alot of knowledge and a shop with tools that can get the job done, I would suggest the medical field, and just do the blacksmithing as a Hobbie, Thats my thoughts on this subject. and I hope you make a good decision.

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Kale, I know a few very talented smiths who went bankrupt and now work at odd jobs. How hard do you want to work? Are you mechanically inclined? Do you like auto mechanics, for example? Check out the Technical Colleges. A one year degree from Universal Technical Institute and 1 additional year of experience will get you $40-60 K if you are good. A fully certified auto tech can make $100K. Other fields like motorcycles, paint and body, diesels, etc can be taken too.

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Talent unfortunately does not make you succesful, if you can market and promote your items, then you have a chance.

There is lot of inferior work out there (Not just blacksmithing stuff) poorly made but sold well.

Somone was said. "A poorly made piece well finished, will impress more than a well made piece poorly finished"

There are a lot of 'smiths out there struggling to make a living, but I don't know of many, if any, who are millionaires.

Location can also play an important part in their success.

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Hey Kale,

I've been making my living doing blacksmithing/wood work for the last 10 years and what the fella's above said is true. It's a difficult trade to make a living at.

I have a very established clientel and my business is down probably 60 - 70% from this time last year. Even though I have virtually no overhead ( I own everything outright - house, shop, tools, etc,) and no family to support, things have gotten lean enough that I too am looking for hourly work.

Just remember that most of what is made in regards to ornamental iron work is not needed by anyone - only desired. As such, that type of work is usually paid for with what is considered discretional spending and in these very uncertain financial times those kind of expenditures are the first to be eliminated.

The above suggestion of finding something else that interests you and is viable in today's working world then keeping blacksmithing a hobby is probably the best approach.

Look for that other work but build up your tools and grab every opportunity to gain smithing experience then follow where things lead you.

If nothing else, you'll be participating in a craft that's well worth learning and can bring you a lot of personal satisfaction even if it doesn't provide you with a sole means of support.

Good luck to you and keep us informed of how it goes!

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Get a *good* job and let it support you hobbies! Especially as a "beginner" you won't have the skill base or the capital equipment to set yourself up as a smith.

OTOH there are skills like machining and welding that have strong crossovers to smithing and being able to smith adds another "tool" to your mental toolbox!

Shoot I'm a software engineer; but I still get consulted on fixing metal stuff at work because they know I'm a smith---saved them $30K in one go at my last job because I could salvage a computer housing that had been damaged by a forklift---without hammering on it and busting up all the contacts. Some dunnage lumber and some clamps and I was able to pull it gently back true and we got on with the job rather than waiting several weeks for a custom system to be built and shipped.

And there is Patrick who is a metallurgist at Scott Forge who told me that his smithing was a positive point on his resume when they hired him---showed that he was interested in it more than just a paycheck. Might inquire with them what they want in a new hire; business is booming up there from what I hear.

Don't expect that anyone right out of highschool with no skills will get very interesting work---start finding out how you can get the skills---I know several people that started their train while they were in highschool and the SCHOOL paid for it!

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When you are making more money blacksmithing than at your day job, consider the question again.

If you decide to give up the day job and go blacksmithing full time, you will have your own business and have to pay your own business expenses, electric, heat, rent, tools, repairs, etc. The business of business is a full time job in of itself. You must also consider what happens when you approach a deadline and get the flu for 2 weeks, and can not even get out of bed much less do any blacksmithing. Injury is another problem that effects production. Lots to consider.

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