DIY Blacksmithing Podcast – Episode 002: Basic Costs to Set Up Shop

DIY Blacksmithing Podcast

In this episode of the DIY Blacksmithing Podcast, we’ll talk about the basic costs of setting up your blacksmith shop.

Here’s the big hairy question:

How much do you have to spend?

Thankfully, the answer is not very much at all.

What I’ll do in this episode is lay out the bare minimum you will need to get started as soon as possible.

In future episodes, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of each item on the list.

Thanks for listening!

DIY Blacksmithing Podcast Episode 001: Our Mission and Background

DIY Blacksmithing Podcast

In this episode of the DIY Blacksmithing Podcast, we lay down some goals and talk about some background.

Why Are We Here?

There’s a lot of information about blacksmithing and metalworking out there.

With the Internet, we have access to more useful (and not-so-useful) information than ever before.

My name is Terran Marks and I’m a professional blacksmith.

I run Brown County Forge where we focus on home hardware and blacksmithing classes.

I learned the trade at a Craft School in North Carolina in 2011 and I’ve been smithing ever since.

I love the craft and I love talking about it.

When I was first starting out, I created a website all about it.

The DIY Blacksmithing website began as a way to keep track of my experiences.

What it was like setting up my forge, buying my first hammer, and selling my first hook.

Over the years, the site has gotten bigger. It now has tools and resources that get used by thousands of blacksmiths around the world.

I hope the DIY Blacksmithing Podcast becomes a resource for you as you continue on this path.

Ask a Blacksmith with Finín Liam Christie

Finin Liam Christie DIY Blacksmithing 2

DIY Blacksmithing Finin Liam Christie

Finín Liam Christie

Blacksmith from Ireland

Introduction:

My name is Finín Liam Christie – Blacksmith from Ireland. I am a blacksmith of some 36 years. Of all this, I practiced only blacksmithing and general ironworks, arc welding, mig welding, cast welding, tight welding, brazing etc etc.

I am 51 years of age, married with 5 dependents. I was born in Dublin in the 1960s in a time of bad unemployment in Ireland. Hard, hard times for my parents bringing up 10 children of which 8 were boys. We grew up tough.

How long have you been blacksmithing and what/who got you started?

 

Finin Liam Christie DIY Blacksmithing 2

I have been a blacksmith for 36 years now. My late grandfather, James Christie, was a blacksmith. He was the general foreman blacksmith in the Midland Great Western railroad in Broadstone Dublin, Ireland.

I was only 5 when he passed away, but I think at that stage he had embedded the blacksmith seed in my brain. As all his tools were left to my dad , whom was an only son.

Over the years I had tormented my poor dad whom I sure must of being pulling his hair out by this stage. Because no matter what he done to secure his workshop, he used to wonder everyday when he came home from work, “How the he’ll did I get in to the workshop?”

It’s my secret!!!!

Do you forge full time or is blacksmithing more of a hobby?

I work full-time as a blacksmith.

 

Can you say a bit about your hammer, forge (fuel choice, etc.), and tool preferences?

Finin Liam Christie DIY Blacksmithing Hammer Head

My main hand hammer of choice would be my 2.5 lb ball pein hammer , as I find it very versatile in so many ways. My other choice would be my 4 lb cross pein hammer. I find its great for drawing down heavy iron to where I can then finish off the work with the lighter ball pein hammer.

I use solely a coal fire open type. Unfortunately, I find it hard to find coke, so I use singles coal.  It burns hot but very smokey and dusty. Not too good for fire welding. Too much impurities.

My preference of tool is my hand hammers, as I love hammer work.

What projects have you done that you’re especially proud of?

All my projects I am proud of, but I think my traditional type work is my passion. I love the old ways.

What resources helped you when you were just getting into blacksmithing?

Finin Liam Christie DIY Blacksmithing 8

The resources I had when I started out working for myself was:

I had finished my 5 years of training as a blacksmith in September 1985. There was no work in the country of Ireland at that time, so I had just received my holiday pay of £150 which was a lot back then.

So I went into the city and purchased a 9″ angle grinder and a arc welder. I had a cycle bike that I adapted to carry all my tools: a small anvil, a sledge hammer, and extension lead.

I cycled around Dublin city and county knocking at doors asking people if they wanted their gates repaired

After a year I was able to purchase my first car and trailer.

What are some tips you can offer people just starting out?

Never be afraid to ask for advice. Also listen watch closely, and work hard  you are only fooling yourselfs if you don’t do them things.

Where can we find out more about what you’re doing?

I can be found on Facebook under the name of Finín Liam Christie. I am also a member of the Irish Blacksmith Association (I.A.B.A). You can see my work their as well.

My contact details are as follows:

Email: fchristie51@gmail.com

Mobile: +353876301276

I am also open to give advice if needed.

I will quote for work all over the world if needed.

Kind Regards,

Finín Liam Christie

Blacksmith from Ireland

Thank you for sharing your story, Finín!

Here’s a selection of Finín’s work:

Finin Liam Christie DIY Blacksmithing Finin Liam Christie DIY Blacksmithing 3 Finin Liam Christie DIY Blacksmithing 7

Vulcan Anvils – Results May Vary

Vulcan Anvils

The anvil is easily one of the most expensive one-time purchases we make. We spend hours researching anvil brands and prowling through eBay looking for that elusive anvil that’s not too much many, but still made by someone reputable.

While we were looking for old-timey blacksmithing pictures to share, we came across this one of a Vulcan Anvil from an 1899 publication called 20th Century Catalogue of Supplies for Watchmakers, Jewelers, and Kindred Trades. (We’re the “kindred trades” they speak of.)

We thought it looked like a solid anvil. Horn, shoulder, sturdy base, hardy and pritchel holes. We started wondering what Vulcans go for nowadays and what the general consensus is on them in the blacksmithing community.

What we found, as with so many things, is that people’s opinions differed.

From I Forge Iron’s discussion The Trouble With Vulcans, we saw that quite a few people didn’t think much of the Vulcans. The post is from 2012, but the link to a Vulcan anvil on eBay still works. It appears to have some large chips out of it indicating a soft, weak surface.

So, the question becomes: Are they all like this and are they worth current prices on them?

In that same thread on I Forge Iron, there’s at least one guy who has had very few issues with his over the years and is backed up by Brian Brazeal, a blacksmith of over 30 years. Brazeal created his signature style rounding hammer that is often replicated (you’ll see examples on eBay at that affiliate link*).

This at least shows that you can get some work out of a Vulcan anvil. It also shows that results will vary. This is true of any anvil, tool, or piece of equipment. There will be inconsistencies in the final product. We’ve come a long way since Vulcans were first made and they’re still floating around out there.

The most current prices on eBay for Vulcans range from $150 to $400.

If you come across a Vulcan anvil in your searches, take some time to read about them on forums, but also use your best judgment. We’ve seen amazing things created on rocks, not to mention cast iron Anvil-Shaped Objects.

Remember: It has more to do with the smith than it does the anvil.

Cheers!

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*For the sake of full disclosure, we will be sharing affiliate links in our posts. The commissions we receive for these referrals do not increase the price of things you choose to buy. These commissions do make it possible for us to continuing to provide useful information. Thank you for being interested in blacksmithing.

Hammer and Tongs Giveaway Starts Today!

Hammer and Tongs 2

Whether you’re a seasoned blacksmith or someone just starting out, we think you’ll agree that there’s no downside to having another set of tongs and a new hammer.

As a way to celebrate the new year, we’re giving away a Free Peddinghaus Cross Peen and a set of Wolf Jaw tongs. This giveaway will be a first for us, but we hope to do many more in the future.

To Enter the Giveaway:

  1. Go to Hammer and Tongs Giveaway
  2. Answer the easy question
  3. Share the giveaway with your friends for more chances to win*

*Each time you share your “lucky link” you will get 3 extra entries. That means you have an additional 3 more chances to win.

Best of luck!

-The DIY Blacksmithing Team

P.S. If you’re reading this, you’re about to find out about the added bonuses of entering the contest. Over the next few days, DIY Blacksmithing will be sending you free online tools and resources to make getting started (or continuing in the craft) easier. Be sure to scan your emails for anything from DIY Blacksmithing