Pages about blacksmithing, my home forge and workshop, and related subjects.

Project Handouts

Suitable for handing out at the beginning of a project class. Please feel free to hand them out in your class if you want, so long as the class is taught in person (no distance learning classes, please), and so long as the document is not modified (my work, I'd like credit for it and I'd like it to look good). Also feel free to use them to for yourself. Drop me an email if you want to use them some other way or modify them, and we can discuss it.


The Home Forge

Ever since I was a teenager, I'd been fascinated by metalworking. I spent a lot of time in college in the student shop, learning how to use a lathe and mill, and making various things. Every time we visit a living history center, my family knows where to look for me if I disappear: at the blacksmith, bladesmith, or armorer. It's just something I really like.

Over the years, I've gradually put together various bits and pieces of a blacksmith's shop. I picked up a 50lb Chinese anvil back in the 1980s, along with a nice post vise. In the 90s I put together a brake drum forge, with fire clay across the bottom (I'd thought to keep it from burning through, but it mostly made the fire pot too shallow). Every once in a while I'd pick up some other tool; a few hammers, a nice handled hot chisel, a 1/4" round punch, a round firepot in a catalog sale from Centaur Forge, and a small collection of scrap steel.

brake drum forge work area
The brake drum forge in action. The work area.

Then I took some classes at Adam's Forge. They have good anvils, good tools, good propane forges, and very good instructors. The classes (CBA Level 1, and a few one-day classes) taught basic hot work, and had us make several tools and other objects. That changed my skill level, and got me even more interested. I've also visited Vista Forge at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum near Oceanside, which uses coal forges instead of the propane forges used at Adam's Forge. Vista is a long drive for me, but the people and knowledge there are worth it.

If there's any specialty within smithing I want to pursue, it's knife making.

I'll add more as experience grows and time permits.