Jump to content

Where Are They Now, Fall 2020


Recommended Posts

I just read a thread on Japanese Stones and remembered trying to get some when I was living in Asia. I dug back into the back of the forum and read some old threads from as far back as 2003. The forum started off as part of Don Foggs website, got pretty big, and now still has a dedicated group but what happened to everyone else? Where the heck did they go? 

 

Reading back I saw names I had not seen in years, clicked a few and they have not posted in many years, a few I saw had last signed in more than 2 years ago. Its hard to believe anyone would dedicate themselves to learning how to make knives and then just stop. A few people have certainly retired or got caught up in dong art, but there were some heavy hitters, guys putting out lots of work, and now its like they fell off the internet. 

 

Maybe its just life,,,,, Some are plenty old enough to know Thomas Wolf, "You Cant Go Home" and probably reflected on that whole concept, I did back in the days of books, before the interwebs.  I left the forum for a few years while sailing, maybe Im still trying to go home but home is not there anymore? 

 

There was man that inherited some of the best ranch land in Texas, thousands and thousands of acres on the Brazos River. He told me it was all going to change hands anyway and he had no interest in preserving it as a ranch or even working on it, in fact he leased it all out and lived in a hotel in Mexico City. There were pictures of 20 cowboys and hundreds and hundreds of cows on that place before it was even fenced, I still day dream about that land, being a young cowboy there, and fear for the future of the place, hate to think of it getting changed much more than it has already been changed, at least the rattlesnakes will always keep some of it for themselves.

 

My kids keep letting me know Im getting old, still in my early fifties, maybe thats just what happens, you get old, people drift away, places change, I would still like to think that old members are still  making knives somewhere. It would be cool to hear from some of the old members that have not posted in a while for whatever reason. 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

People move on for all sorts of reasons. Here's three off the top of my head.

 

For some, forging was something that was a fun experience, but over time, the effort, time and expense was better placed elsewhere.

 

Others have used the forum as a stepping stone. It helped them become established, but once it had served that purpose, they no longer support the forum.

 

People get busy with their making and once they leave the shop, blacksmithing/bladesmithing is the last thing they want to talk about.


 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another big one is that the general tone of the forum changed when Don retired, and some people didn't like it.  It was not deliberate, but it was inevitable since only Don is Don.  I have been told this in no uncertain terms.  We try to keep the core principles the same, but Dave, Me, and Niels are not Don, so there you go.  Ten years down that road, it's still recognizably the same place, but like all places time does not stand still.  

 

The rise of social media was a huge one.  The makers who go to Facebook and Instagram rarely come back.  And why would they?  All the adoration you could ask for, plus sales!  

 

That said, forum fatigue is a real thing.  Smithing forums were a relatively new and exciting thing in 2003.  Over time, they all wind down a little.  There will be a core of windbags like me who stay because we like to teach (aka hear ourselves bloviate), but the general membership will always be fluid.  I miss the old guard too.  

 

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I dunno, Alan, it still feels like this place is hopping! Also, it's pretty amazing in terms of the depth of knowledge we've got archived on here. Do a google search on almost anything bladesmithing and we dominate the search results. 

 

You hear that other forums!?! We will crush you!  (Yeah, I guess you have a point on the tone changing. . . Don would have never posted this. LOL)

 

Looking, how popular Hulk is, I decided to share my Hulk-gif with any  interested. Made this a while ago. - GIF on Imgur

  • Haha 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

I moved to American Samoa in 2013 on the promise of free family land on which to build and farm; less than a year in, other "family" members began using the village structure to try to take away our land and ability to build. The corruption runs deep here, to the highest levels of government. As a result, my house never got finished, and I am living in my workshop since August, looking at the power hammer I built and having limited access to tools due to the living situation. I am trying to get out of here soon via my sailboat, as there have been no passenger flights since March and none in sight. The COVID thing struck right when i was trying to sell some of the Japanese swords i had restored, bad timing indeed. All of my investment in time and other resources has come to naught; bladesmithing is on the back burner for the time being. I still check on the forum here regularly.

Link to post
Share on other sites

By no means an Original here,  but I first joined the forum in the last year or two when Mr. Fogg was still running it.  It has been an extremely valuable resource,  and I still appreciate  it's existence.     Can't say where  some of the old posters went, but I do know life gets  in  the way of many things, and the knowledge that they left is still valuable.   The pictures alone of some of the work  is enough to look at my own work and  realize how much it sucks.

 

Hope it keeps going.

 

.02 cents

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I'm a newbie here also.  I've nothing to compare how the forum is today vs in the past, but I couldn't be happier.  I'm like a sponge.  So much to learn and so little time left in which to do it.................with all the other things that continually go on in my "world".  I'm a teacher and my students text and e-mail me all the time.................even though the school has cancelled our classes.  I keep up with what they are creating and they ask a lot of questions.  Being one who teaches, I appreciate one who teaches.........and there are many on this forum who share their knowledge.........willingly so.  One in particular probably gets an involuntary "knee-jerk" when he sees a PM from me.  ;)  But hey, what goes around, comes around.  I'm sure it's not easy maintaining a forum, but I for one thank all of you who do the behind the scenes work.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry if I came across all doom and gloom,,,,, For sure Don made the right choices with both of you guys to lead the forum, Alan and Dave. For sure none of the  the original "young guns" are an old Don Fogg, but certainly we have a few younger, under 50 skilled Dons on here that if they live long enough, may catch up, and everyone contributes in their own way. We have a few Masters on here, not sure who is still posting.

 

There is no way any bladesmith database will ever catch up with this forum or even come close, basically this was it, the very first, the best contributors, the most posts. 

 

Random thought,,,,,, we need a gear page for some shirts and hats and things. I would like to see a retro Don Fogg Bladesmiths Forum shirt and hat. I just paid like 25 bucks for an Oliver Saddle Shop t shirt for one of my kids, it would be cool to have a sweet t shirt with Dons Mark or a Tanto or something as a tribute to him. 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great idea on the gear, Bryan. 

 

If we have any graphic design types that want to design BladesmithsForum.com T shirts or hats or something and then make them available for sale on Etsy (or wherever), feel free to do so! (Um . . . please keep it within our content guidelines. Nothing you wouldn't show your grandma or a 7 year old.) 

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, since I posted first, Im out in New Mexico, back to my roots as a young cowboy in Billy the Kid Country, just not young anymore. Im working on my first pair of spurs and learning engraving the GRS  method. Mostly Im training cow dogs and raising some runner ducks. I have an old shed Im setting up a forge in, kind of an American Japanese style similar to what I had in Thailand, air blown side blast charcoal forge, stand up version, most likely a hand crank. 

 

Some will remember I sold my Sea Robin Anvil when I moved onto a sailboat in Key West, the Anvil and a bunch of tools went to a guy up in Ocala, hope he is still using them . If anyone has a large or double sided Sea Robin, I would interested, b.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dave, Isn't Dons Mark an Apple Blossom? I was just looking and it seemed there were a couple versions. My suggestion would be as below, Mark or Katana in the center, just so we keep our history and a short to the point domain name. Also, you (Dave) and everyone of us work for free here, or more or less students of Don, nobody should take on any Don Fogg Legacy project for a profit. Any money made should support the forum, buy Don Fogg Knives for the Bladesmiths Museum in Arkansas, or give away hammers or something, not pay for my  tea, coffee, and or beer. MHO

 

 

   Don Fogg Bladesmiths Forum

 

bladesmithsforum.com

 

 

PS, Don Fogg never took a dime and I, We, owe him everything, Don introduced me to Dr James Batson, corrected me on Arkansas Bowies, and Im from Arkansas, introduced me to Jerry Fisk, Arkansas Knife Makers, Uncle Als, Damascus, Crucible, Wootz, Amerasian, taught me how to build a forge, make an anvil, and did about everything but baptize me when I waded into and got dunked into a stump hole duck hunting in Bayou Meto Arkansas,,,,,,, My family was privileged to be there when Don was inducted into the ABS Hall Of Fame, to shake his hand, Arkansas Historic Museum, Little Rock Arkansas. OK, in case anyone is not getting it, Don Fogg is high on my list of important people and highest on my list of any and all designated knife men, designer, maker, buyer, seller, collector and or blade salivator. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Life is funny. Passions come and go sometimes. I can think of two activities that I was passionate about in my adult life and at the time, I thought i would always be doing them. Those passions have waned, I guess. Part of it was physical limitations, part was talent limitations. Still, life is short and time is fleeting. Sometimes things fall off the daily list and get replaced by something else that is sitting on the bucket list waiting for you to start.

 

I've been hanging around here for almost 5 years now. When I found this place, it was a most welcome joy. The attitude of the admins, the quality of the work, and the wide variety of talent from around the world, make this place an island oasis in the sea of interweb nonsense. I managed to make a few friends from what I think of as the "old guard". (Folks that dominated this forum 5 years ago) Some of them I see on FB. Some have gravitated to other art forms. Others have simply disappeared. 

 

The truth be told, knife making is a hard way to make a living. So, people move on to other things. Passions come and go, but if you have that bug that makes you create, create you will do. The medium may change, but the fire will always smolder until it has the fuel.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I myself joined in 2014..and left a few years later. At the time there was an influx of newbie smiths who seemed incapable of using the search function to learn things, who didn't think their 1080 would harden like any one else's and seemed incapable of taking criticism or advice. Its toned down a lot since I've come back lately, with many of the new people being respectful, learning what they can and wanting to know how to get better. I'm still friends on Facebook with Miles Alexander Hebbard who tapered off here around the same time. He and Alan really helped me along with my skills back in the day. For anyone who remembers him and wants to catch up, he is still riding motorcycles, drinking hard with friends and befriending every dog he sees lol.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You know who I miss on the forum? Dick Sexstone. That guy was the coolest old artist ever. I loved how his sense of humor was captured in his work. He built model spaceships out of copper that looked like they were straight out of a 60's Buck Roger's comic. His folding knives were some of the first I'd seen that had illustrations in pattern welding, and really elegant ones too, not the gaudy over-the-top mosaics you sometimes see.  I meet him at Ashokan and he gave me a German book on patternwelding that is one of my prized possessions. 

 

What a cool cat. I seem to remember he couldn't get Internet anymore in his remote cabin. 

 

He reminded me of who Jul (J. Arthur Loose) will probably be in his latter years. 

 

Link to old thread with his spacship: 

and that illustrative pw: 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread made me look when I first found this forum. It was January 2009 - 11 years ago! Back then and still today, I continue to be impressed how willing everyone is to share their knowledge and experience. It's truly unique. While my own progression has been somewhat slow with a few hours of blacksmithing here and there, I get a lot of joy and energy from seeing what others here are up to. 

 

I would totally go for a t-shirt. My general requirement for all t-shirts is that they need to be 100% cotton so that they can graduate to blacksmithing t-shirts once they wear out for regular use :-)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The major obsessions in my adult life started with fly fishing, grew to bonsai, and on to knife making.
None of these "hobbies" would have been remotely possible without the internet and forums.

 

I put in so many hours learning to cast a fly rod, tie flies, and countless wonderful hours on the water.  After fate landed me in a town close to a river I experienced the best fishing of my life, and that left me a bit jaded, nothing close to where I live compares, but when I get the chance to hunt a fat carp with my little 3WT I take it.

 

I joked about bonsai being the only garden option for a person that moved so much, but the moving also turned my little trees into a millstone around my neck.  I've sold or given away most, but a few will always hang around.

 

Knife making has changed everything, if you ask me what I am, I'll answer knife maker before I say IT tech, no matter which makes me money.
This came along with the most stable 5 years of my adult life, a trend that is unlikely to last.

My tools and machines for knife making is the most and heaviest collection of stuff I've ever owned, they will be a nightmare comes the day that I have to move again.
I'm extremely unlikely to move anywhere I could set up a workshop, more likely a bachelor flat with belt grinders, forges and an anvil taking up living space.

 

I'm extremely thankful for the knowledge I've gained on forums, I made a jungle chopper for the owner of the fly fishing forum that was my "home", and I hope to visit him in the Malaysian jungle someday soon, but I do not frequent the forum anymore.

Thankful as I am for everything I've learned here, if life gets in the way of the activity by which I define myself these days, I would not visit the forum anymore....would be salt in the wounds.....

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been here almost since the forum started I think, moving here from Anvilfire, Keenjunk, Swordforum, and others whose names I forget. I had the great pleasure of seeing Don demo a couple times in person--it was like watching magic!--and meeting some other forum members in person at hammer-ins, the Blade show, and Pennsic War. Four moves across state lines for work and raising kids have kept me too busy to accomplish much forging of my own, but I do love seeing all the work and people on here whose work I've admired for so long, and I will, eventually, make some knives that are passable enough to share here. Thanks Alan and everyone else for keeping all this going, and for maintaining its clear focus.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/29/2020 at 1:16 AM, Gerhard Gerber said:

they will be a nightmare comes the day that I have to move again

Speaking from experience, yes.  Not a bad idea to start planning now....  Especially if the move iss prompted by something like a seizure disorder that forces one to give up driving and ask for help moving.  It's amazing how many 'friends' I found out I really had.  It never really occured to me that I was the friend with the full-sized diesel pick-up helping everyone move their stuff.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ive been a member since 2009 - think I was a lurker long before that. I drift in and out of the forum as life allows. This forum has led to me meeting some awesome people in real life that would not have happened otherwise, and for that, I thank you.

 

Social media has its place, and I like instagram for my blade work, and snapshots of my forging industry work, but it is really transient, instant hit and gone. Not even tomorrows chip papers. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Michael Stuart said:

I've been here almost since the forum started I think, moving here from Anvilfire, Keenjunk, Swordforum, and others whose names I forget. I had the great pleasure of seeing Don demo a couple times in person--it was like watching magic!--and meeting some other forum members in person at hammer-ins, the Blade show, and Pennsic War. Four moves across state lines for work and raising kids have kept me too busy to accomplish much forging of my own, but I do love seeing all the work and people on here whose work I've admired for so long, and I will, eventually, make some knives that are passable enough to share here. Thanks Alan and everyone else for keeping all this going, and for maintaining its clear focus.

 

I remember lots of those sites on internet version one! - I think keenjunk became 'farwestforge' or similar, im sure there was some drama at the time! - Jock is still stubbornly going on Anvilfire, I had a look a few weeks ago. 

 

edit!!!!

 

and Iforgeiron, back in the day when experienced and skilled smiths shared knowledge freely, before a few self appointed forge gods developed a superiority complex belittling new members who had the audacity to ask questions!

 

Edited by John N
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a newbie to this forum with only a couple of years under my belt but been making hunting knives since the late 60's. Only had computers for a few years and only recently found the knife making forums but canned the other two I enetered in preference to this one with an incredible spread of knowledge and experience but most importantly with a culture of respect that fits in with my own way of dealing with people so I feel right at home here and greatly appreciate the work that goes into keeping the forum  this way. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, billyO said:

Speaking from experience, yes.  Not a bad idea to start planning now....  Especially if the move iss prompted by something like a seizure disorder that forces one to give up driving and ask for help moving.  It's amazing how many 'friends' I found out I really had.  It never really occured to me that I was the friend with the full-sized diesel pick-up helping everyone move their stuff.

Not planning, but I've spent enough night worrying about that day.
I turned down a job-offer in that mining town next to the river last year, at least 70% because I couldn't take my shop along until the appointment became permanent, and then I'd have to hope my assigned housing would have space.
Almost 30 years of renting this is the first time I could do something like this, and now I'm stuck wondering how I could live without making knives.

What you said about moving brought back a lot of memories, I mostly always drove pickups, so I was involved in many moves, have to say when my turn came (very regularly) they were at least there to help carry.

I have a cousin who is a brother from another mother, I can always count on him, but with the destruction that this pandemic/lockdown bullshit has sown in his life and career, I couldn't and wouldn't ask for his help.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/27/2020 at 8:59 PM, Alan Longmire said:

Another big one is that the general tone of the forum changed when Don retired, and some people didn't like it.  It was not deliberate, but it was inevitable since only Don is Don.  I have been told this in no uncertain terms.  We try to keep the core principles the same, but Dave, Me, and Niels are not Don, so there you go.  Ten years down that road, it's still recognizably the same place, but like all places time does not stand still.  

 

The rise of social media was a huge one.  The makers who go to Facebook and Instagram rarely come back.  And why would they?  All the adoration you could ask for, plus sales!  

 

That said, forum fatigue is a real thing.  Smithing forums were a relatively new and exciting thing in 2003.  Over time, they all wind down a little.  There will be a core of windbags like me who stay because we like to teach (aka hear ourselves bloviate), but the general membership will always be fluid.  I miss the old guard too.  

 

 


I did not experience the early days of the forum, but apart from my eternal and often expressed thankfulness for the help, information and inspiration I get here, I can honestly say this is one of the best no-bullshit forums I've ever experienced.
Strangely enough, my experience here caused fatigue for the few other forums I frequent(ed) 

I hope you are wrong about social media because I'm sick & tried of that. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, John N said:

and Iforgeiron, back in the day when experienced and skilled smiths shared knowledge freely, before a few self appointed forge gods developed a superiority complex belittling new members who had the audacity to ask questions!

This is so true.  And kinda sad, it was a good resource 8-9 years ago...

Edited by billyO
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a very new newbie to blacksmithing/bladesmithing and I was not going to comment on this thread because I talk too much, but some of the previous comments have direct bearing on how I now live my online life that I should comment.

 

Like many of you on this forum, I have taught myself how to do many things via the internet. A forum was instrumental in helping me learn how to throw pots and now I make money with those skills. That forum enabled me to meet some very lovely makers who I consider good friends to this day. Some of those online forum friends actually came down to my old place  and helped me and the wife clean up after a natural disaster. I wouldn't trade those contacts for the world.

 

That said, forums are funny things. The clay forum I have belonged to for over 15 years has mentioned the good-old-days for at least a decade or more. True, folks have been run off from time to time because of a cantankerous few, but many stay on and the forum churns on. The information is still good and folks are still learning to make. Strong, sympathetic leadership is often the key to a long-lived forum. if that is lacking, it won't be long before things devolve into a community of talkers not makers.

 

When I started becoming interested in  blacksmithing, I found iforgeiron. I know the score by now and wasn't surprised when it turned out to be less than I had hoped. Still, I have been known to filter out the bad in order to glean the good. Now I've found bladesmithforum and am cautiously optimistic.

 

I'm not bashing any site or any forum. I'm attempting (badly) to make the point that the information isn't really the most important part of these forums.  Anyone can do a google search and find just about any piece of information, including information from this very forum, from iforgeiron, and the many other apropos sites. All this without having to deal with problem children! It's the encouragement and the honest helpful criticism that makes those online places such assets and places where folks want to contribute...

 

Even the new folks.

 

Now I have to go order another dc motor controller because I fried my current one with a short this morning. No forging a blade today.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...