Blacksmithing - the king of the trades!

I've always enjoyed the old crafts.  Spent years learning primitive skills of one sort or another, so it's no surprise that I'd end up doing the blacksmith thing.  Guy's gotta have gear, and blacksmiths pretty much make it all.

A lot of folks seem to get into the field because they want to make knives and swords.  I don't know what the fascination is with those things, but more power to them.  For me, it's about the traditional craftsmanship and making things that are useful around the house.  Though, to be honest, there have been a few times I could have used a sword or three.

One of my latest pieces is this deep-dish desk organizer.  I love these things for catching all the junk in my pockets.  Women seem to like them for the nice ring they have when you tap them with your fingernail.  The hardest part, for me, is putting anything in them that will clutter up the appearance!

I also make a shallower version with a peened inside surface that makes the light dance rather nicely.  They hold a ton of change!

Sometimes I wonder where these things will be in a hundred years. 

When reason fails...

Original Post

Real nice. Wish I had the skill to do things like that. Blacksmiths always seem to kick ass on Forged in Fire.

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It's not that life is so short, it's that you're dead for so long.

The .45-70 is the only government I trust

"I was raised in a place called America...
It's gone now, I wish you could've seen it"
- a WWII vet

 

Joined: 1/30/06 3:34 PM - Location:MA

Was visiting the Biltmore estate in Asheville, NC during a PCS a few years ago.  The mansion is interesting, but an old guy on the farm portion of the estate led a fascinating demonstration of traditional blacksmithing skills, accompanied by a riveting history and discussion.  It kept the attention of my wife and 2 kids (then ages 4 and 9) for the entire hour.

Here's a short bit of what he would do, along with some epic crafting.

https://www.youtube(period)com/watch?v=Kfin8P36phc

Apparently now he's retired.

https://www.biltmore(period)com/Blog/article/striking-while-the-iron-is-hot-biltmores-blacksmith

Very cool stuff.  

Tankersteve

In Yorktown, VA.          Joined August 2008

Gov't Civilian, after retiring from active duty in 2015. 

 

'One's own open sore never smells.'  - Haitian proverb

Malpaso posted:

Real nice. Wish I had the skill to do things like that. Blacksmiths always seem to kick ass on Forged in Fire.

It's like anything else -- lots of practice, lots of failures, and next thing you know... you're halfway decent at it.  

One of my favorite ways of training beginners is to have them draw a taper on the end of a bar.  They draw that same taper 100 times, each time trying to really focus on the hammer/steel interaction, controlling their arm, feeling the whole process and concentrating doing the best taper they possibly can.  The #1 taper won't look nearly as good as the #100 taper, but it's only through that repetition that they can drive the process into their mind and muscle.

Then they go back to the beginning and clean up all the tapers until they all look as good as Taper 100.

Only once that's done do they proceed to the next step.... likely cussing the whole way.  

Last night, I put the metalworking skills to good use -- and fixed my reclining chair!  The blasted steel bar in the thing developed a hairline crack that grew over the years until the bar failed completely.  Might be God's way of telling me to drop some pounds, and lord knows I need to.  

Pinched my fingers a thousand times trying to maneuver that thing into a position where I could get a tack weld to hold things, but I persevered and the chair is now back in operation!

It's not all glory.  Here's a round dish fresh out of the quench tub after being forged to shape.  It's cruddy and generally not much to look at so we have to clean it up on the wire wheel before we can give it that hammered texture.

That curved scar on my right hand is from one little slip, proving that I'm not nearly as tough as the wire wheel.  It was over before I even knew it began!  I bled, the spirit of the steel got its tribute, and now I have a cool scar.

Production work - gah!

I'd love to be able to never make another wall hook again!  People love them, and it's a bit of ironwork they can afford to have for themselves.  Making them, though, is so tedious.  I don't have a power hammer or press of some kind to speed things up, so it's just me swinging a hammer.  It gets old fast!

And, yes, that's pistol brass in the tray on the floor.  If anyone wants if for reloading, just say the word and I'll be happy to box it up.  Mostly once-fired .38spl, .357Mag, and .45ACP from back in my days as a security guy.  I miss those days more than I ever imagined I would, but I try to remember that those days are also the reason I have the blown back and other things.  Running an armored truck full of money was great fun, and women most definitely do love a man in uniform.  But I think I'll stick with blacksmithing.

It's there for the asking, and I'd love to see it go to a good Lightfighter home.

When reason fails...

My old SCA baron was a programmer by profession, blacksmith by preference.... he made axes, shield hardware, his own chain mail (made the wire to make the rings), quite a bit of other stuff. Not easy, you get what you pay for. 

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So low speed, i'm in Park.

"I could stand to hear a little more.." Jayne

Training is brief. Death is forever. PAY ATTENTION.

Joined: 6/14/03 1:02 PM

Last year, I got a call from a nearby village begging for some help with a dragon that was eating up all their virgins.

Contrary to popular myth, knights in shining armor didn't have jack shit to do with keeping dragon populations under control.  What they did do, however, was bribe the minstrels into spinning the yarn in their favor much like we see today.  Money talks.

But when you stop to think about it logically, what's the better practical option?  Do you send a messenger party to some castle days away, hope you can get an audience with the hoity-toity punks so enamored with polishing their fancy suits.... or do your reach out to that local guy who just happens to play with fire on a daily basis and is always in a foul temper?  Who's more likely to win against some foul wyrm, the nancyboy traipsing around in a trumped up soup can..... or the guy who talked the idiot into paying him to dress him up in a soup can?  

Anyhow, ask one of those knights to show you their trophy from the hunt and see what they have to say.

Me, well.....

Takes forever to clean all the gunk and gore from these things.  That dragon's breath really cooks all the knightly bits deep into the enamel!

When reason fails...

XTCBX posted:

Oh, I can seperate it...anything I don’t reload ends up out front in my “freedom garden”...

You definitely win the internet for today!  I got my post-secondary in horticulture and in all the years I've never seen a more beautiful landscape!!

Shoot me a PM and we'll get this ball rolling!

When reason fails...

Had a guy swing by the shop unannounced this afternoon and would have kicked him to the curb except he brought his old lady with him.  She was  a sight for sore eyes and really brighten up the shop.  Since she was interested in the trade and he'd already shared a story or two about his last visit, I decided to let them stick around.

It wasn't long before he decided he'd like to try forging a spoon.  It didn't come out very well, but he gave a good effort and learned something about how the steel moves under the hammer.

 

To give her a better idea what a spoon is supposed to look like, I forged one for her.  Started out as something like 5" of 1"x1/4" bar and was forged to shape just like you see it with nothing but hammer and hand.  I forged the corners of the handle too sharp for comfort, so I had to ease them a hair with a file after it was all cleaned up.  I would have liked to file on it more to really dress up the spoon, but it was getting late and they needed to head on to supper.

Overall, it was a good day in the shop.  All the visitors killed my productivity, but that's a rare thing and I can pick up the pace tomorrow so the orders can get out in the mail on Monday.  Might even have some time for practicing my penny-end scrolls.

When reason fails...

XTCBX posted:

1A750649-40F9-45D4-BCEB-198ECFCEC4638724826B-58BB-4BBA-8D51-9B88D1A16F4083DFF2FA-5DF0-42A9-A628-D9FB97B72384

Oh, I can seperate it...anything I don’t reload ends up out front in my “freedom garden”...

Lightfighter grade mulch?

I can imaging the young man coming to his girlfriends house for the first time.   Once his mind processes what that is....NOPE right outta there!!!!

Tenui Nec Dimittam

 

"Ideals are peaceful.  History is violent"   -Wardaddy, Fury

 

Joined: 8/5/07         Location: Chester County, PA

VaughnT posted:

…….. except he brought his old lady with him.  She was  a sight for sore eyes and really brighten up the shop.  

'A sight for sore eyes' and you take a pic of a mutilated spoon?

What have we done to you?

Why the hate?

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If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together    -    African proverb

 

Joined: 2003          Location: At home pretending to be retired (again).

standeasy posted:

'A sight for sore eyes' and you take a pic of a mutilated spoon?

What have we done to you?

Why the hate?

If I could have figured out a way to get a pic without coming across as a some dirty lech....

If it makes you feel better, I did get a couple pics of the dude that was in to make his own forge.  He's not as pretty, by a long shot, but he didn't mind posing for a few snaps.  I can shoot you a copy if you'd like!  

When reason fails...

I've wanted to get into blacksmithing for years. Everyone around here who "teaches" cost a damn arm and a leg. Guess I'll just be Youtubbing it and watching forged in fire.

---------------------------------- 'My lot in life is to serve, to the best of my ability. To know my life was not a waste, that in the end I can look back from the gates and know I did my best and that it was enough"

VaughnT posted:
standeasy posted:

'A sight for sore eyes' and you take a pic of a mutilated spoon?

What have we done to you?

Why the hate?

If I could have figured out a way to get a pic without coming across as a some dirty lech....

If it makes you feel better, I did get a couple pics of the dude that was in to make his own forge.  He's not as pretty, by a long shot, but he didn't mind posing for a few snaps.  I can shoot you a copy if you'd like!  

HD 'security' cameras.

"Your cleavage may be recorded for security & training purposes..."

VaughnT posted:

Anyhow, ask one of those knights to show you their trophy from the hunt and see what they have to say.

Me, well.....

Takes forever to clean all the gunk and gore from these things.  That dragon's breath really cooks all the knightly bits deep into the enamel!

Very nice...  are these available  or was this a one time  personal project 

Pyrotech posted

 

.....

Very nice...  are these available  or was this a one time  personal project 

A one time project?  No, those pesky dragons will get out of control if you don't cull the herd every once in a while.

Fang shape depends a lot on the type of dragon you're after and what they've been eating.  It's a lot like deer antlers, always changing as the years go by.

 

You'd think that the hunting is the hard part, but really it's the cleaning.  Dragons aren't much for oral hygiene and that breath of theirs really cooks the foulness down deep into the enamel.  It can take a month of steady work to get all the knight and dwarf guts off the things!

Truckie posted:

I've wanted to get into blacksmithing for years. Everyone around here who "teaches" cost a damn arm and a leg. Guess I'll just be Youtubbing it and watching forged in fire.

You can learn a lot from videos on the net. 

https://www.youtube.com/user/workingwithiron/videos

https://www.youtube.com/user/torbjornahman/videos

https://www.youtube.com/user/garyhuston/videos

https://www.youtube.com/user/MarkAspery/videos

https://www.youtube.com/channe...GrAV4nAjnlKcw/videos

https://www.youtube.com/user/elchschmiede/videos

I'm partial to people who stay in tight and focus on the work rather than jabber on endlessly or have horrible soundtracks and jumpy edits.  Working with Iron and Mark Aspery are probably the two best on the net, though the last two on the list are also very nice - especially since they bring a little something different to the experience being that they're European.

Classes cost a lot?  Nope.  Classes are dirt cheap!

Having someone there with all that experience, stopping you from reinventing the wheel or needlessly burning up fuel and steel... that'll save you a fortune in just a year.  

It's no different than taking a course from Trident Concepts or the like.  You can try learning how to move and shoot from youtube videos, but it's a whole different animal when you have a top level instructor running you through the paces.

 

When reason fails...

Very cool! 

I really dig the dragon teeth! 

I LOVE forging! It’s so cool to be able to manipulate a simple piece of steel into something useful and attractive. I’m one of those weirdos that does knives... 

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And one of my first hooks. It’s currently on kitchen towel duty! 

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Good work, Lechero.

I get a lot of folks asking me to teach them how to make knives and I always tell them the same thing -- you want to make a knife..... first you learn to make hooks.

Forging steel is probably the most meditative thing I've done other than bullseye shooting.  I love how the mind just seems to turn off so it's only you and the iron.  For PTSD and such, it's a great balm.

How'd you do your twine wrap on that handle?  That's something I've never been able to nail down.  I really like how Wilder Tools does his twine handles.

When reason fails...

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