As for many of you that know me and for those that don’t, I love my Blacksmithing. I live and dream about blacksmithing most days and have done so for the last 20 years, bar a gap of 3 years spent in Saudi Arabia where I had the barest minimum of equipment and a side alley to practise in, but that is another story.
Most of my 20 years has been spent in my own backyard workshop by myself with minimum input accentuated by training courses whenever I can afford them and that still happens to this very day.
My style is very simple and organic, created using the basic procedures that are still vey applicable today.
I like to think I am very grounded and well versed in my basic skills and am very excited and passionate about sharing what I know.
In the early days I used a coke forge with a variable speed electric blower but these days favour a gas propane forge. Only because it’s easier to move and easier to buy gas and not so
mucky/sooty around my workshop. Given unlimited funds I would have both because there is definitely advantages for each type of forge which I won’t go into now.
I am a slow worker. I like to be very organised before I forge.
My work table looks a bit like an operating table with all the tools I need for that specific operation laid out in a row ready to use exactly when I need them.
I know in my mind what I am going to do when I remove my piece of steel from the fire and it’s at orange/yellow heat. I work quickly with my hammer using the heat whilst it’s there and stop when it turns to black heat. There is no pausing or umm..ing/arr..ing as to what I am going to do next. I use that heat to the best of my ability before it runs out.
For some reason, the public perception is that blacksmithing is a dying trade that only strong men could do. Therefore it’s interesting that many of my students on the basic introduction to blacksmithing course are women.
I’ve taught roughly 10-20 women over the last couple of years. Anyone from early teenagers to well into their retirement years, they’ve attended my workshops and learnt the very basics from putting a point onto a piece of steel to completing small projects for their home or gifts for family.