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Recommendations for a Beginner (just starting out)


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Please post any recommendations you have for a beginner. Thanks!

Edited by nathan doss
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This is excessively vague. Pinpoint what you want to know and you might get some answers. 

 

You can also search in the forum. There's a very good chance everything has already been answered countless times. 

 

I don't want to sound mean. Just help us help you...

Edited by Joël Mercier
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1. Try more on line research concerning coal forge construction. You might try looking into I forge iron,, or anvil fire. Read! Tons of material on line. More variations of coal forge than you think. Maybe try to make Jabod forge.   

2. You mentioned you were stressing. DON'T, based on your age you've got a life time to learn. 

Before asking a question try researching you question first. Its not that I want to discourage questions. But your questions have been answered on more than one site. 

 

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The best advice is to hook up with your local smithing groups.  Take a class, take 10.  You can never learn too much.  I've been making blades for 30+ years.  A couple of years ago I did a class with one of the best Japanese style makers on the coast (West).  Another student asked me why, didn't  I know how to make blades?  I said sure, but Mike Bell is better than me and knows way more on the subject.  I learned all kinds of stuff in 5 days.  But even a one day class will move your skill level more than a year fumbling around on your own.  

Working smiths have made more mistakes than you have ever thought of.  If you can avoid even one of them, you are miles ahead.  Also, smiths know smiths, and smiths have tools stashed in corners.  Some sort of organized meet will have tools for sale, and generally not at collector prices.  The days of anvils at $1 a lb are long gone (I won't boast, much, about the anvil I bought for .20 a lb, but that was a fluke) but tool prices won't kill you.  There is a thread in the pinned topics that talks about how to build an anvil out of discrete parts, you should look for that.

TAKE A CLASS!

 

Geoff

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"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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1 hour ago, Joël Mercier said:

This is excessively vague. Pinpoint what you want to know and you might get some answers.

Mostly I want a lot of recommendations for coal forges. I am sorry if I'm being too vague, but I just want to get as much information as possible.

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9 hours ago, nathan doss said:

Mostly I want a lot of recommendations for coal forges. I am sorry if I'm being too vague, but I just want to get as much information as possible.

well first see if coal is available in your area if you cant get it or you don't want to make your own charcoal youl be better off with propane

Brandon Sawisch bladesmith

 

eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked in to jet engines

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12 hours ago, vlegski said:

. You mentioned you were stressing. DON'T, based on your age you've got a life time to learn. 

This is probably the most important thing. 

 

At this stage (or any stage in my case), it should all be about having fun. If it stresses you, you should change your approach. Fun is what will drive you to be creative and move forward. Expect to screw up on a regular basis(we all do), it's part of the learning. 

 

Another thing that tends to be hard nowadays is TAKE YOUR TIME. Don't chase instant gratification. It's perfectly okay to take 6 weeks or 6 months to complete your work, it's no speed contest. You'll always regret rushing certain parts of your work...

 

Welcome to the madness :lol:

Edited by Joël Mercier
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12 hours ago, nathan doss said:

Mostly I want a lot of recommendations for coal forges. I am sorry if I'm being too vague, but I just want to get as much information as possible.

You might start by listening to the advice already given.

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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, go to that meeting in Albuquerque next Saturday.  Just show up.  You'll be welcomed.  If it's just that you don't want to call the guy, I get it, I refuse to use the phone (as a telephone) as much as possible.  His address is on the link, so just go.  If your only excuse for not going is that you're simply unwilling to, no amount of advice, from here or anywhere else, is going to help you.  

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Yes. Go to that meeting. You will learn a lot from watching. With your setup, I think you should try charcoal. You can buy natural lump charcoal at Walmart. Gets hot, takes very little air and is easy to keep lit. Get it going and a piece of hot steel and start hitting it.

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I am definitely planning to go to the meeting, but I thought that it would be a good idea to get as much advice as possible before starting. 

19 hours ago, vlegski said:

You mentioned you were stressing. DON'T, based on your age you've got a life time to learn.

 I needed that :lol: 

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Good.  And yeah, don't stress.  Until you're seen a real forge in operation and had a chance to hit some hot steel, you won't even know what or how to ask the right questions!  In the years before I actually started I read every book I could get hold of, and had a lot of it memorized.  Even joined the first smithing forums on that new "internet" thing people were talking about.  It helped only in that I sort of knew what should happen.  :lol:  It took the actual experience to realize what it all meant. 

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19 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Good.  And yeah, don't stress.  Until you're seen a real forge in operation and had a chance to hit some hot steel, you won't even know what or how to ask the right questions!  In the years before I actually started I read every book I could get hold of, and had a lot of it memorized.  Even joined the first smithing forums on that new "internet" thing people were talking about.  It helped only in that I sort of knew what should happen.  :lol:  It took the actual experience to realize what it all meant. 

That's true. All I've made so far is a flat nail. :lol:

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  • 1 month later...

I finally made it to the blacksmith meeting! I was also able to find someone who was willing to let me go to his shop on occasion.

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Right on.

Welcome to the group. 

Have fun.

Oh yeah, don't forget to post pictures of your stuff.

RIP Bear....be free!

 

as always

peace and love

billyO

 

 

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Abandon all all who enter here...wait, that was supposed to be welcome to the madness.

 

Doug

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Nathan, welcome to the group.  I have to second what Alan posted.  I've not been doing this long, but I've fell into "paralysis by analysis" far too often before with things I've wanted to try.  I started with 4 soft fire brick, propane torch, angle grinder, files, and a few pieces of steel I ordered from the Baron.  You can test the waters without sinking a bunch of money on equipment.  Then if you dig it, work at acquiring some tools.

I did mostly stock removal to start then forged a couple little things.  After a year or so, I took a class with a master smith (Burt Foster) and used my year of trial and error to ask some questions.  I've learned that most smiths are eager to share what they know.

 

I hope it's something you enjoy.

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The biggest difference between a master and a novice is the master has failed more times than the novice has even tried

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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Joshua is right.  I'm not close to being able to claim to be a Journeyman but I have a drawer full of ruined blades.

 

Doug

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HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Here is the best advice I can give you.

Make a knife. Nothing fancy. Just a 4 inch dropped point hunter with a bird's head handle. Make it the best knife you can. Post it up here for critiques and advice. Take notes and follow that advice. Lather, rinse. repeat.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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