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I Forge Iron

A note to the neighbors

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So do you guys think this will work to keep me from being attacked by the neighbors... or the police they might call ?

It's Justin from up the street. I am just informing all of our neighbors that I am taking up metal smithing as a hobby. This involves me hammering metal on metal which clearly has the potential to get loud. I am unaware of just how far the sound will travel and to whom it will be bothersome so I am writing to all who I feel may be affected.

If at any point in time my hammering becomes intrusive in your life, if you have a baby who naps at a certain time, or you had a rough day and just want to rest for a little while please inform me and I will gladly avoid being loud during those times. I do plan on making a sound “proof” (dampening) “shop” in the near future so this should not be an issue for very long; but again PLEASE feel free to come over and politely tell me to shush up. Also should any of your neighbors find my hammering intrusive please feel free to tell them they need only ask me to stop.

My overall hope is that I will not be bothersome to anyone and it will be like any other neighbor blowing leaves; but I recognize that may not be the case. If you wish to get in touch with me without coming over my home phone is ***-**** and my cell phone is ***-****. I may not answer right due to all the noise but I will check my home messages and voice mail everyday to see if there are any complaints. Thank you for your time and take care!

Sincerely, your neighbor,

Edited by WannabeSmith
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The last time I heard about someone trying this, it backfired, big-time, everyone ganged up on the poor guy and forbade him from persuing his hobby. My personal take on it is quietly go about your hobby, and only address it if there are complaints. By warning them ahead of time that you are about to undertake something they might find offensive, you've already prejudiced them to dislike it, even if they never actually have a problem.

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Perhaps you guys are right... :o uggg lol I did the rounds a few minutes ago putting em in mail boxes. However the good news is I did decide not to give them to the people who I know love to complain.... We will see now... something that is shadier then putting something in people's mailboxes is taking something out :cool:

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If you didn't put postage on the letters you are already in trouble! If you put the notes/letter on the OUTSIDE of the mailbox you have no problem. I would have gone with the ask forgiveness and not permission. That way you could show them what you do by giving them a little trinket as they watched you "make all that noise". JMO

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Remember every area has its own rules, and variations:

I live in a R1 neighborhood. NO business, no noise louder than normal talk from 30 feet away of the source., 10pm till 7am quiet time begins, no noise above normal conversation AT the source.

I burn coal in my forge. property is about 120 long by 55 foot wide and my neighbors are very close. I also just finished building (with aproval and permits) a new shop with walls ! HOW ?

when I first started smithing at home, I was careful to find out myself when people worked, which assisted me to figure when they slept. I was in the back yard, no roof no walls, I did not hammer before 9am becuase one guy worked 2nd shift and didn't wake up til then. I stopped at 6pm because of a baby near by.


Being a historic neighborhood, I walked around and looked at the iron work, I talked to people about their broken railing, or Rose trellis, and told them I do some metal work as a hobby, I am running our of things to make for my house, Would it be OK with you if I measured your Railing so I can see if I can make a copy of it ? I promise I won't hurt anything, only take measurements to see if I cam copy that style.

After I made the new item, I went back and gave it to them, told them I have no need for it, I just wanted to see if I could make one, do you want it ? Soon I had made for free, little projects for everyone close enough to smell the coal smoke, or hear the hammer. I bribed them to like me and my hobby now (yes, I bought them off)


After a while I put up a roof to keep off the rain. Then this past year got permits and raised a 11.5 x 17.5 building with a brick side draft forge. This is a hobby so it does not violate the business ordnance. But I am sure it would have been rejected if I tried to build this first off. I built up tolerance, and when people asked how long I was smithing I told them many years here, but tried to work with the neighbors habbits so as not to annoy.

The local code enforcement guy stops by for his breaks some times, because his grandfather was a ferrier, and the smell and sounds bring back fond memories.

Play it safe and build up people to support you wherever you can.

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I work outside, and live *directly* beside a church. All other neighbors are at least one lot away from me. As said before, it helps to know the neighbors schedules. So far, no troubles.

However, on occasion I do forge a little, or mow and run a weedeater during church. I call it neighborhood relations. If the pastor comes over to complain about the noise made while church is in, I promptly apologize, and assure him that as long as his flock doesn't speed up the street after church, endangering the playing kids on our street in the process, I'll find other times to forge or mow. Has worked so far.

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Sounds like good advice given, My neighbors have come over to ask what I was up to but thats about it. Dont think police can do anything as long as your inside the city noise ordanance times..

If someone asks politly for a time frame of keeping the noise down by all means keep the peace, sux having neighbors as enemys.

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Asking permission will virtually guarantee someone will say no. Once someone says NO, you're screwed. Far better to demonstrate you can minimize noise and noxious fumes, then bribe them with gifts, small repairs, etc.

Also, a simple sound barrier will go a long way towards making the neighbors happy. Simply hanging a clothesline around the anvil and hanging furniture pads will almost eliminate the noise.

Lastly, don't hit anything but HOT iron, no anvil tapping, etc.

Good luck.


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Noise is only part of it; most cities have burning and fume regulations as well.

eg Columbus OH: anything producing a smell or a fume discernable off your property is forbidden. A coal forge in your yard can also be considered under the open burning regulations requireing a permit to be applied for 10 business days before *each* use and a $25 application fee for each use. I know this one as it shut down one of my students.

I had a coal forge for 15 years about 5 miles south of him and only had one neighbor hassle me. She would call the fire department on me; HOWEVER all the regulations had 2 loopholes: heating and cooking and by sheer luck the 4 times she called the fire department on me I wasn't forging, rather I was using my smoker to cook dinner and after the fourth time they wedged the fire truck down the alley to get to my house to see me cooking dinner it stopped suddenly (I was told by a little bird that they had a talk with her about false reports and *substantial* fines for the making of them and that was that. They wouldn't tell me who it was so I coundn't try to negotiate with her directly though).

Use charcoal or propane so you can argue that you are the same as a grill and get a Vulcan or a Fisher anvil---very quiet and be descrete...

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I've been really lucky...the neighbours think my hobby is very cool and I've even had a few want to try it out.

Definitely beg forgiveness before asking permission......bar none there will be one neighbour that has had a bad day and will make you stop.

Always make the neighbours come over to satify their curiosity. Whatever you do do not tell them that you are selling anything....this will only invite inspectors, tax collectors and other folks that aren't there to help you.

That's my $0.02 worth

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Wow awesome responses!

I am very sorrowful about putting those notes out. The good news is I hammered away for a good 4 hours or so without anyone saying anything whether they read the note or not. I did have one neighbor come over who was very interested and even brought me a plate of some sort of steel that had apparently fallen off a truck years ago.

It gets dark by about 4:30 here this time of the year and I went till 6:30. Fun thing is that more of my neighbors will have no idea that it entails fire. I only said hammering, which most are used to hearing anyway; however I do consider myself an idiot for deviating from begging forgiveness over asking permission.

And as another plus I do use charcoal and there is no smoke. So those who don't know about the fire wont find out. I currently set up near my old rusty tin shed to help hide myself and avoid wind although it would help the fire charcoal flying around isn't fun hehe.

I did get the shape of my knife going, I learned a TON, and it was fun to see my ill planned project sort of... shape before me and I just went with the flow. This will likely end up as a fun kitchen knife, and I'll probably be the only one to use it haha!

And I did pick a great time to start this in a certain sense, people are blowing leaves around for most of the day =) makes my noise seem pretty acceptable

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In my area no noise before 7 AM and after 10 PM. No noise at the property line above 65dB. Nearest house is about two hundred yards away, I think I will be OK.

Getting kids in the neighborhhod interested is a real plus. I am a trapper and skin critters outside when the weather is nice. Folks would turn up their noses when they realized what I was doing. I got a lot of the kids around interested so the parents left me alone. This was a lot of years ago and the kids are grown and gone but I don't get any complaints.

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