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What it takes for me to set up my workshop | Denise Axelsen Artisan Blacksmith

What it takes for me to set up my workshop


Top Tips, things to consider, must have items.

What I’m considering: electricity, space, equipment.

I am in the process of moving back to Townsville and I currently live in a tenth-floor apartment. Not very conducive to owning a blacksmith shop!

I have lived in Townsville before, 3 years ago and had a rental with a house and large shed in the garden, this proved ideal for me back then. But now, we own an apartment which is up for sale and showing no sign of selling any time soon so I need to look for a workshop. With a mortgage and rental to pay, funds are very tight.

So far, I have approached the Drill Hall Studio and I am delighted to say I am returning as a resident artist.

Sue Tilley, the owner is allowing me to have a space in her workshop for a small gas forge and an anvil so that I can start sharing my skills on a one to one basic lessons. Watch this space ! But I have a lot of other equipment that needs a home so the search is on !

Now if money were no object, I would have a triple size garage or larger.

In fact I would really like to share a light industrial workshop with other makers/artists. A space where I can make and use my own equipment whilst others do the same in their allocated spaces, but also where I am very happy to share what I know with others with collaboration and always willing to give a spare pair of hands when needed too.

My workshop at the moment is sitting in Victoria along with my husband whose work will keep him there a bit longer so I will have to ‘fly in/fly out’ for a while. For me, being here in Townsville makes the search easier.

So what next ? I’m sitting in Co-Habitat shared office space as I type this [ a great place , check them out here or on their Facebook page – making contact with local businesses, you can’t beat ‘word of mouth’ and ‘sewing seeds’ for possible venues.

Things for me to consider.

Single phase power. – 15 amp. ( only for power hammer )

And something that can be locked securely.

A roof that does not leak.

A long term space – my equipment is heavy and expensive to move especially interstate.

A few concerns to people are the amount of noise I will make. I like to think I’m quite sociable in the hours I keep, preferring to work 3/days a week workshop based Monday – Friday, 8 – 5pm and not weekends.

I own a power hammer which can be noisy nearby but use that no longer than 3 hours maximum at any one time and usually anything from 5 minutes to 1 hour at any given time.

I honestly believe that the noise I make is no louder than any tradesman/builders/garden maintenance workers around and about.

Just out of interest I run an Anyang 15 Kg power hammer [Anyang Australia – Pneumatic Power Hammers] I find them economical on electricity consumption and easy to use and in current production, so easy for added extras for spare dies and maintenance parts, etc. Plus Bruce Beamish the main distributor for Anyang Australia, is at the end of the telephone should I ever have any questions !!

I run a gas propane forge finding it much cleaner, and easier to obtain cylinders from many outlets nearby, such as Bunnings, local garages and my local convenience store.

I am very safety consious so check for gas leaks daily using a spray bottle with soapy water on a daily basis. My hoses are all purchased through a reputable dealer (Gameco –  http://www.artisansupplies.com.au/   https://m.facebook.com/GamecoKnifeAndBlacksmithSupplies/ )

I drain the hoses of gas at the end of every day and release the kpa/psi pressure. This also helps preserve the longevity of the gauges. This also applies to my oxy/acetylene set up.

Incidentally, I buy the bottles outright, refill when needed, then take them back when I move, get a refund on the bottles and will re-buy here again in Townsville.- Townsville Welders Mart.https://m.facebook.com/pages/Welder-Mart/164637360220601

This is a great system. Previously, I always had to rent or forfeit the cost of the bottles every time I moved.

I’m checking  out a few double size garages in peoples gardens at the moment and have also contacted the local Business Development Centre.

I’m searching for ‘light Industrial’ artists co-operatives on the internet. Apparently, no such place exists. Though there is a Facebook group CTC – Creatives, Townsville Collective that had their first meeting whose group I have just joined.

I’ve been to the local steel yard (great place for steel and here is their Facebook page)  and asked if they know of anyone. Also other local businesses that others have told me that may have space.

Now it is just waiting for a few people to contact me back. This all takes time but it does help by being here physically. Next will be letters to follow up any possible leads. 

If anyone has any contacts or potential leads to other businesses that may have space in their workshop, please do contact me. Many thanks indeed.

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