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I Forge Iron

Ebay for selling your product?

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Hey folks. I'm curious, what are your views on selling your projects on Ebay to further fund the forging addiction?

I'm getting to the point where I can make decent garden hardware that friends seem to be going gaagaa over. I'm talking plant hangers, birdfeeder hangers, towel rings, etc. The usual small stuff. So far, they've been gifts for the wife or kept in a pile for study.

I'm considering making a dozen or so of each item and testing the water on Ebay. This is just a hobby, but a bit of income to support purchases of coal, stock, hammers, expendables, etc. would be nice.

What do you guys think? Viable option? Lost cause? Look for other outlets?

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I've given it a go, once.

I made up a few bowl-type candle holders. Friends and family thought they were pretty cool.

I had a few watchers, but no bids.
At the moment, I'm scanning auctions for blacksmith-made items. Tongs sell nicely, but usually it's the older ones folks are after. Information and correct advertising/marketing seem to be the key. Again, it seems to be the "vintage" stuff thats sells

see these for example:




Hope this helps.

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I've also been watching eBay, and considering selling forged items there. Probably the biggest sellers I've seen are knives or t-hawks out of RR spikes. An online store of somekind would probably work better for selling artwork, since people dont like to pay diddley squat for things on eBay :P.

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I know there's an online store called Etsy.com.
It's only criteria is that goods for sale *must* be handmade. It seems to be primarily knitted, crocheted, etc stuff, but there's other things for sale on there. That, or something of that ilk might be the go.

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I have never dealt with/on E-bay. I am a realitive newcomer to the sales side of things. I sold a few spike knives and courting candles back in December to friends and co-workers. People wanted to know if I had Business cards to pass out so I thought about it for a week or so and talked it over with my wife and then went ahead and had some printed up. I started giving them out to people who asked and when I sell an item I give the purchaser several extra cards.
As this is just a "extra" Word of mouth is working well for me at the moment. I am making enough to pay for the shop and have bought several pieces of equipment I otherwise would not have purchased.
I had trouble setting prices on my wares and finally looked to see what things are selling for on the net and locally the compared that to time/material and usually end up somewhere in the middle. Not the lowest price but not the highest either. A guy can work 24/7 for free and die broke. If you sell to cheap you not only hurt yourself but those who are full time smith's and it is their only livelyhood.
I set up a web page in early Febuaury and have added the address on my business cards. The response has been positive however It only shows pictures of my work,the smithy, and me. It has no provisions for ordering items. If a person sees something that interests them they have to contact me. I prefer to deal face to face with people on a cash basis.
Like I said this is all new to me and I don't rely on it to put bread on the table. But I sell more each week and have orders waiting for forging this weekend.
Things that sell well for me
Bean ladles, Courting candles, Roses,Tulips, Lilies, Spike knives, Fireplace tools.

Thats my approach elkdoc, I don't want to stay busy 24/7 but I enjoy the time spent in the smithy and it is nice to have it pay for itself. Sorry to be so long winded but I hope this helps.


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it is generally a waste of time to post it under anything related to blacksmithing on ebay as the people looking at it will only go make their own.
If you use ebay you need to list it under something like ( fireplace tools ) for example or lighting , trivetts etc.
Perhaps we could all get together and establish a totally new listing catagory to showcase our wares and direct interested people to that catagory.
something that would seperate our stuff from the run of the mill cold formed and mig welded stuff that you see under the catagory of wrought iron on ebay now.
Not that I have a problem with people making the stuff that I list / its just that those people are not going to buy anything that they can make.
A lot of times I am one of those people

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I agree. I cruise ebay to get ideas to try out, or make and try to sell. This goes along with having a website to sell items. I am guilty of cruising those also to gain new ideas not only on product, but tools, shop layout, and homegrown tools that may be lurking in the background. I assume that ebay could work well for you if you post the item in a category where "Harry Homeowner" would look for it....

If you try it out keep us posted on your success!


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eBay is great if you have a bunch of cheap items to sell. That is, cheap in what they cost you, and cheap in what the customer pays. Or, it's pretty good for selling that one, large, unique piece.

But for trying to sell "hand crafted" stuff at prices fair to you, the guy that had to beat it into shape? Nope, sorry.

The problem is competition. eBay reaches millions, but you're placed right alongside the other 200 people trying to sell "crafts" and trinkets. The guy that just makes three curlicues in 1/4" cold rod, spotwelds on a candle tray, calls it "wrought iron" and sells it for $9.95 will soak up any sales you might get from the one you made with actual wrought and twisted legs for $35.

If you're going to be doing it as a hobby- in other words, you're not looking to make a full-time living off eBay sales- the best way is to have your own website (personal, not a Geocities or Yahoo or MySpace type site) with a gallery of your works and capabilities. Make and sell a few trinkets per week, and make sure each eBay auction also has clearly labelled banners and links back to your personal site and/or gallery.

Keep the gallery updated; mark photos with "available at $XX.XX" or "for sale", and if/when an item sells, either mark it as "sold" or move it to the "earlier works" gallery.

Even better is if you can convince your wife (or husband) girlfriend, kids, neighbor kid, helper, neice/nephew or whatever, to run and maintain the page and auctions for you. You build the parts, they take a picture and upload it, and list the auction.


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I have sold quite a bit of my work on ebay, and bought even more stuff from it. My power hammer, 2 anvils, 2 post vices, and almost all my tongs and hammers were all eBay purchases.

Having said that though, what others are saying about folks on ebay being cheap does mostly hold true. Most of what I sold was kilt pins. I usually just made them out of the small dropps from the ends of rods I was making other things out of. Smash the ends, wrap it around the horn, then add a small cross pin wrapped around one side. I can make them in about 3 minutes, and that includes twisting them when I do one out of square stock. I usually sold them for about 4 to 5 dollars. I made sure to put SCA in the listing title since that is pretty much the crowd I am aiming for. It was definetly not something to feed the familly on. However, when I took those exact same pins to the local ren faires I sold them for 10 to 20 to the other vendors who then marked them up as well. I quite bothering with eBay after a while.

I would say try it. Don't make a bunch of anything. Just do one or two of several different things and see what sells. I do know the reall key is in the listing description and the category. Be sure you spell things correctly.

Good luck


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Thanks folks! I had some suspicions that you've nearly all addressed. There's a ton of stuff welded together with a stick welder and called "wrought iron" on Ebay, and there's no way someone who had forges can compete pricewise. I'm going to check out etsy.com and watch some of the forged stuff on there for awhile.

I'll have to check out some local markets and see what opportunities arise there, too.

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  • 3 years later...

I haven't had an experience with e-bay but I am on etsy. Haven't sold anything yet but I've only been on there for about a week and a half.

If anyone was interested in starting an etsy group for blacksmiths, I'd be in for joining. Unfortunately I don't have time with schoolwork as of right now to do much administrating.

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I stopped using Ebay when they got all wigged out about certain gun parts. Nothing illegal, just certain "evil" parts, mostly anything machine gun related. Guys were having ads for tripods removed, just because it was for an MG. A website I use was asked by PayPal to give them a list off all of their customers who used their service to buy gun parts. Gary told them to go F themselves. Nothing illegal was sold, they were legal parts sets (chopped up MGs) with the BATF's stamp of approval. Ebay owns PayPal, so I don't use them either.

Ebay has also caused a lot of affordable items / tools to be elevated to "collector status" $$$$$. I still find tongs for $5 at car swap meets, and garage sales. I won't pay $20 for "antique collector tongs".

Etsy would be a good start, and do not overlook Craigslist.org which gets more visits than Ebay. It is also localized, so if you only want to deal without shipping that may work for you.

What I would do first is make sure I have unique items to sell, that are made with quality. Quality items will sell themselves. Find a niche, and fill it.

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Ebay.... I need to be a better copy writer for Ebay... I have sold 7 out of 10 some days... other times 0 for 12..... Plus the fees... Ebay gets theirs... and Paypal gets theirs... I now start the bidding where I am comfortable.... not interested in loosing my xxx again.... Looking into Etsy and a local consignment craft shop.... I have yet to figure out what I want to stock the store with and when i will get the time to make the replacement stock??

Good Luck! and keep us posted...

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E-bay has a few advantages. As a buyer and not being regional, one gets a better selection of whatever it is you are seeking. Economicaly, if you see a set of tools you can buy for less the cost of manufacture, then buy it. Your cost of manufacture vs the purchase price; The savings are obvious. As a seller of a hand forged product it (e-bay)has a few decided disadvantages. Shipping costs and the e-bay perecentage share reduce the limited profit margin. Prep time and web site interaction both take man hours. Economy of scale, while applicable in most manufacturing enviroments does not work well for the one-man shop with short product runs.

Also one should consider the market in which we sell our goods. Plant hangers and garden speciality items sell better at the consumer point of purchase. As an example, plant hangers sell good at outdoor centers featuring plants, Christmas themed items sell well at Christmas and other seasonal centric fairs. I'm confident you get the general idea. Every place where we live has a need for iron work. some decorative and others purely functional. One has to survey ther market and identify the opportunity (need) then produce what the clients are interested in purchasing. Sometimes the best advertisement for our work is the good word of folks that already purchased an item.

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Etsy seems to be a good thing-however they don't have a specific category for ironwork. I sent them an e-mail asking for an ironwork category and they said ther wasn't enough "demand" to put in a wholly separate category for us. Maybe if everyone on this forum sends a request it'll help. I know a couple of craft people in other areas who do well with etsy, so PLEASE send a request for our own category.
Mark Emig

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  • 2 weeks later...

Getting a few views. you have to be active on the forums and advertise elsewhere too though. You get buried very quickly in the listings so people don't see you right away otherwise, unless you spend the $.20 every time you relist and relist often. No sales on etsy yet which in and of itself is probably leading to no-one taking a risk as someone said earlier. I have had some sales locally through it though but people didn't want to pay shipping when they bought it online.

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