Many homesteaders enjoy learning skills that can help them on the homestead. There are any number of skills that would be great to know. Some are simple that you probably have some level of knowledge on already that you are looking to just increase your skill level on, perhaps cooking. Then there are others that could be a very useful thing to know, but you know nothing about, let’s say blacksmithing. I took my first steps to learning some on it, and I have to say that I’m hooked.
Back in December my friend sent me a message about an introduction to blacksmithing class that was being held not all that far from me. I looked it over, talked it over with the wife and signed up. I have been looking forward to it for a while and finally, over this weekend, I got to go down and try it out. I drove down and found the center, it was an area in an artist type co-op. A total of 5 students came down to learn basics of blacksmithing.
We started by going over a little bit of safety (safety is always a good idea when you are dealing with white hot metal). We made sure we had the right safety gear, like eye protection, ear protection, and gloves. Then we learned to fire up the forge and started on our learning project. As it turns out we would be taking a length of square stock (a piece of metal that is squared) and turning it into a Viking fork and knife.
First, we cut the bar in two. Then we took one piece and flattened out one side to form the knife. This would only be a butter knife, but still, it was quite cool. I had to lengthen out my handle some, so I got to learn how to do that as well. When the handle was at a good length, I learned out to put a twist in it. To be honest my twist for the knife handle wasn’t all that great.
Next we had to make the fork. First we took one side of the stock for the fork and flattened it out so it would be like a paddle. Then we cooled that and used a rather large snip machine to cut the part in half. Mine was a bit off center so one side was thicker than the other. Still it was pretty darned cool. We formed the tines and bent them around the horn of the anvil.
Finally we took both to the grinder and wire brush wheel to clean them up and finish them out. I got to put a bit of an edge on my knife. In all honesty it is just a butter knife, but still, I’ve made a knife.
The instructor told us that with this simple project we covered most all of the skills to make many items in blacksmithing. I think that I may have to see about going to a few more classes. Also I’ve been now trying to convince my wife that I need to be able to build my own forge out here to make stuff.
I can see where this could be quite the useful skill to pick up for the homesteader. I’ve done some research into it and have learned that in many cases a skilled blacksmith can most most of the tools that they require, which seems to go right along with the whole homesteading mindset. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to be able to make some things for the home, I’ve already been told that people would like any number of hooks that I’m able to produce.
So you’ll have to watch, but I can forsee there being more blacksmithing posts coming as we move along.