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career swordsmithing...


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How much does a good sword-smith make per year? I'm wondering if i started smithing now, by the time i get set up ill be 15, would I be able to make as much money smithing as the average american makes in a year? currently I'm thinking about computer game programmer, would a smith earn as much money probably?

 

thanks in advanced

 

joe

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A little looking around "the Way" found the following. The beginner's forum is kinda new so a lot of what you might want to know is very likeyl to be found on one of the other forums. Older threads are formatted a little weird, the first post is usually 4th or 5th and the order can be hard to figure out, but you'll do it.

 

http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=3549

http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=3344

http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=2978

http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=1018

 

Bascially, no you won't get rich off of this and to live comfortably you'll have to be away from most urban areas. Plus there's the inherent danger in some of the materials we work with. Paw-Paw was taken by Zinc poisoning and another guy is currently battling another form of heavy metal poisioning... The above are just a start. Get your education, have something to fall back on in the lean times. Geoff Keyes (posts here) is a contract computer programmer. I have a regular 9-5 until I get rich :D

Edited by Kristopher Skelton
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Will you get rich, money wise? No.

 

Spiritual richness, richness of character and experience, oh my yes! This is something you do because you just have to. It's a heck of a lot of fun, and very rewarding in non-material ways, and when you reach the top you can get a few thousand bucks for each creation. This will allow you to live so you can keep making more creations, but you will not be in danger of an excess of cash flow in the inwards direction. :rolleyes:

 

I'm an archaeologist for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, at least as my primary bill-paying job. Not a big payer either, but it has its own rewards as well. The short version is, there's more important things in life than money.

 

That said, when I was your age (I'm 35 now!) I had a reasonable plan to be able to afford a $150,000 Lamborghini by the time I was 20. :lol: Didn't work, but I had fun thinking about it! B) I think I'm far happier without it, anyway. At least that's what I keep telling myself... After all, you can't haul iron ore in a two-seater sports car and maintain your fine leather upholstry. ;)

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Also, I'm not much older than you, but, start with knives, do a couple fer yerself and then maybe show a few people, do a few orders, but don't dive right into promising commisions, especially not with swords, it's not good for your mind, or your body, stressey. ONce you get into it's good for getting a few guinees to spend on wine and women though :P:D

My 2 cents. Welcome to the world of bladesmithing/general metalpounding by the way! :D

Edited by Archie Zietman
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Hehe, thanks for opinions all.

I'de have to say I'm gonna keep bladesmithing a hobby instead of a career.

Wha, swung the hammer I'm gonna be using for smithing a couple hundred times against a railroad spike to chip some rock for a drainage pump my moms bf is gonna install in our basement. I'm tellin ya this is gonna be better than weight lifting.

need more choices for smileys damnit!!! :angry: . lol.

thanx again all, if someone wants to respond to this question:

Do people always reply this fast, or is it just the weekends?

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Hey Joe,

 

I am currently attending Northern Michigan University as an art student concentrating in blacksmithing. I saw on some of the other post mention about Southern Illinois University Carbondale. If you are really in to art and the design process, and you want to study metalworking in college, come up to Michigan for an undergad degree, then do you graduate work at SIUC. Northern doesn't have a graduate program so is more focused to the undergraduate. When you are a junior in high school, contact Dale Wedig, but not by email, and come visit the campus. You can drop me an email if you'd like, just put something in the subject line to let me know that its not junk mail.

 

I know all about the passion for knifemaking. I forged my first piece of steel in 2000 at a celtic festival. I've been hooked ever since. It has changed the whole direction of my life. I wish you the best of luck in your search. :ylsuper:

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Joe,

 

As a rookie blade smith but not such a rookie with hot steel, maybe I'll give you my take on it. As the others said, get your education. It'll come in handy no matter what you end up doing. I started my professional life as a farrier. I went and got a degree when I had small children and lots of doctor bills and spent a bunch of years working as an engineer. I sort of ran out of places to work after moving three plants to Mexico and went back to shoeing horses. Over the years I became more interested in blacksmithing and just happen to have a fairly well equiped shop. A few months back I decided to go out in the shop and make a knife.

 

Here's the part for you. LOL I had read so many times how hard it was to forge a blade but I found it pretty easy...wait, I'm not done yet. I hit it with an angle grinder, a little file work and some sand paper, heat treated and slapped a deer antler handle on it. I was pretty proud of myself and thought I had made a really great knife. Then I made a little knife for my wife that I was pretty happy with. I started looking at the work of some real blade smiths and doing some reading. All of a sudden I wasn't so impressed with my work. In the process of trying to do higher quality of work I managed to ruin the next three blades. I set the grinder aside (I had picked up a cheap belt grinder) and started trying to get things really right. One of these days I'll take some scrap steel and just spend some time learning to use the grinder. For me, trying to learn to use the grinder at the same time I'm learning to make a knife didn't work out so well. In the mean time I welded up some billets and finally got one with enough layers and volume left to make a blade. I cut the first few short to chop them up and check my welds. With any luck I'll have this one ready for heat treat today which means there's still plenty of time for things to go wrong. It's a very simple blade but I already have many hours in it and I can't imagine any one paying enough for it to compensate me. Yet, you can get a decent cutting tool at wally mart for $20.

 

Don't get me wrong. Lots of people want me to make them stuff...blades and other things...but they don't have much money in their hand when they ask. LOL Learning how to make the stuff is one thing. Learning how to sell it is another. The market for high dollar hand made stuff is limited. Lots of guys are making great blades but it seems like the guys getting big money for them have managed to make a name also. I think collectors pay as much or more for the name as they do for the blade. Of course making a good blade comes first.

 

Anyway, I guess the point of this long winded post is that you'll keep plenty busy just learning to make a good blade...then learning how you want to make them. You probably have lots of blades to ruin before ever trying to make a sword...I keep getting the same little twist in my forged blades that I just can't seem to make go away. It's pretty slight on a short blade but it would make for a darned funny looking sword. LOL I can't find the naswer in a book either! The answer is out in the shop somewhere I think. Maybe some day I'll get a few sold but if I looked at this from a financial aspect I'd have to determine that the ROI just isn't there and stop now. I get $40 for a pair of hand made weighted shoes for a saddlebred though and another $300 or so for putting them on so I can justify having the shop.

 

PS...keep the twisted blade thing to yourself. If things go well the blade I'm working on will look great on MY belt and no one will know the blade isn't perfectly streight if we don't tell them!

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There's a lot to be said for having a full time job on the side. Game programmer (or anything computer related) pays well and is rather less stressful / boring than many other jobs (for example, you have no dress code...) You can actually make a lot of money if you choose your company wisely and get a good package of options.

 

I believe you'll enjoy each "job" better to the extent that you have 2 different jobs. By smithing, you'll learn to enjoy the human interaction you'll have in your day job, and by programing, you'll learn to appreciate the rewards of full ownership in smithing.

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Joss...

""full ownership in smithing" Point well made.

 

The rewards I get from smithing and hand work is the total control it demands and the way the work will focus your mind, to the exclusion of other thoughts.

 

The things most of us do in order to exist are governed by events mostly out of our control. Not neccesarily bad. Just 'reality'.

 

This art is good for mental health.....not a bad reward. We make cool things, too.

 

Tracy

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There's a lot to be said for having a full time job on the side.  Game programmer (or anything computer related) pays well and is rather less stressful / boring than many other jobs (for example, you have no dress code...)  You can actually make a lot of money if you choose your company wisely and get a good package of options.

 

I believe you'll enjoy each "job" better to the extent that you have 2 different jobs.  By smithing, you'll learn to enjoy the human interaction you'll have in your day job, and by programing, you'll learn to appreciate the rewards of full ownership in smithing.

31135[/snapback]

 

Not to be contrary but yesterdays $100,000.00/year US programers are being replaced by $100.00/month programers in places like India.

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Not to be contrary but yesterdays $100,000.00/year US programers are being replaced by $100.00/month programers in places like India.

31155[/snapback]

 

Not quite - I work at Microsoft, and I can tell you that we're trying to hire them as fast as we can. In any case, I am not advocating in favor of or against his choice of career - I'm just saying that it might be a very good idea to have a day job different from sword making.

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Hire full time? with benefits? Or build up the ranks of the permatemps? I KNOW most large companies are outsourcing "tech support" to India (in quotes because they're generally not very supportive and not very technical- yes, I've rebooted my machine) and programming jobs too. A buddy of mine works for a company that is basically moving all of their programming and tech positions to India and he spent 3 months in India earlier this year getting that off the ground. In the insurance industry just about everyone you call has a THICK Indian accent and is named "Dave" or "Bob" and it's been about the same when I've called for tech support. Wanna talk to a supervisor? I AM the supervisor!

 

anyway.... so maybe we should say

"Get a regular job for the steady paychecks and health insurance benefits and do the bladesmithing when you get home from work :) "

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Not quite - I work at Microsoft, and I can tell you that we're trying to hire them as fast as we can.  In any case, I am not advocating in favor of or against his choice of career - I'm just saying that it might be a very good idea to have a day job different from sword making.

 

Which is part of the reason I dabble in knife making & related things - it gets me far, far away from the computers I work with (or against) by day. Oh, and I can justify having neat toys that occasionally pay for themselves...

 

Day job? Real-time embedded software engineer. Anything from vending machines to flight control systems; digital television at the moment.

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As another relatively young guy learning how to bladesmith, I love reading the threads that come up on this topic. Its a pretty special thing to be a part of the thoughts, feelings, concerns, and conversations of some of the best in the field.

So a big thank you to everyone for always being so helpful to all the whippersnappers (like me!) out here on the forums who have ever wanted to to start with a katana. lol. :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:

 

Super Horrible, (c'mon man, lets change that name soon!) These forums are a goldmine of information. So often I'll think of a word or a process that I don't understand, and I'll quickly write it down and later look it up on these forums using the search feature. This place is like an encyclopedia of the coolest stuff, but better because you can ask questions too, and contact individuals.

As a guy who is not too much older than you but who has wanted to do this for years (I'm 22) I recommend not worrying right now about how much cash you can expect to make. The advice above is great and should give you a good idea of how this isn't something you get rich at, and it does have disadvantages like no health insurance as you get older.

But its easy to get too distracted by all the stuff in the future that could happen related to bladesmithing, when it might be more fun and beneficial to get a bucket of old railroad spikes and practice shaping them under heat with your hammer.

Oh, by the way, I'm back in college now to get a degree. Do I like it? Heck no. But is it going to give me more choices as I get older? Yes. And the younger you are, the easier it is to get through all this school stuff.

:ylsuper:

-Garrett

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lol, havent checked this one in a while. thanks for the replies guys.

 

G. McCormack:my name thing may be changed to joe mogusar soon, or it may not. i found a part of the forum where people were requesting name changes, so i requested one there. last i checked it don was on vacation.

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you spelled that wrong, Tai.

 

Having a "real" job on he side is "eating".... as in, paying the bills for gorceries, food, mortgage and especially the medical insurance on a teenage girl :D Maybe in a few years I'll be willing to take off the safety harness and free climb.

 

Rotory tools are cheating (but I do it anyway sometimes ) ;)

Edited by Kristopher Skelton
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