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How did you learn to armour- and blacksmith?
Apprenticeship
16%
 16%  [ 4 ]
Someone in my family/a friend of mine is a smith
4%
 4%  [ 1 ]
Book, anvil and hammer on!
56%
 56%  [ 14 ]
Other (post about it)
24%
 24%  [ 6 ]
Total Votes : 25

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Peter Molotov




Location: Thule
Joined: 05 Dec 2009

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat 12 Dec, 2009 10:12 am    Post subject: Smithing question - The wonderer         Reply with quote

Hello there!


I'm a 15 year old wannabe smith, as in, It's a wish of mine to learn it, and I'm serious about it.

Unfortunately, apprenticeship is not an option (certainly not because I wish so), so I have a question for all you myArmoury armour- and bladesmiths. Where did you get the chance to learn the art of armour- and bladesmithing?

A tiny poll might help well, just to "sum it up". Wink

All answers are appreciated.


Peter

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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Location: Netherlands
Joined: 11 Mar 2005

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PostPosted: Sat 12 Dec, 2009 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By doing it, looking at others doing it, following lots of discussions online and occasionally asking questions and a great amount of common sense. Just doing it is the most important part, the rest helps you speed up the learning process Happy
Jeroen Zuiderwijk
- Bronze age living history in the Netherlands
- Barbarian metalworking
- Museum photos
- Zip-file with information about saxes
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Ben Potter
Industry Professional



Location: Altadena, CA
Joined: 29 Sep 2008

Posts: 342

PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2009 9:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My Father taught me the basics of wood leather and metal working, then I got some books and videos.
The Biggest thing is just doing it and when something goes wrong ask what it was and how to fix it.
I would check out the BANDESMITH FORUM on Don Foggs website that is where to learn.
Good luck.

Ben Potter Bladesmith

It's not that I would trade my lot
For any other man's,
Nor that I will be ashamed
Of my work torn hands-

For I have chosen the path I tread
Knowing it would be steep,
And I will take the joys thereof
And the consequences reap.
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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2009 9:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Folk High School traditional craftmanship class with three years of blacksmithing specialization.
The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Allan Senefelder
Industry Professional



Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

Posts: 1,563

PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2009 10:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pretty much completley self taught. Lots and lots of trial and error.
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Scott Hrouda




Location: Minnesota, USA
Joined: 17 Nov 2006
Likes: 15 pages
Reading list: 87 books

Posts: 643

PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2009 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I began making my own armour because I couldn't afford manufactured armour, even the cheap stuff. Sad
I had a ready supply of steel (dumpster diving Laughing Out Loud ), a ball peen hammer, a tree stump and lots of energy. My first attempts looked OK, but did not fit or perform well. Through trial and error you will begin to get the hang of it. It's easy to get frustrated early on. Just keep plugging away and you will get the hang of it. Happy

Once I got my hands on a copy of Brian Price's Techniques of Medieval Armour Reproduction, my work improved rapidly. Don't forget that (imo) the gambeson or arming coat is the most important piece of "armour" that you can have. Everything rests or secures upon this piece.

Some of my early attempts are posted on myArmoury here http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/thumbnails.php?album=224. With a few tools and sweat, I'm sure you could produce better pieces in a short period of time.

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Joined: 21 Aug 2003
Likes: 10 pages
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

1. develop a passion for arms and armour
2. find inexpensive examples of same that could be improved if only you knew how to...X
3. research, ask for help here and experiment

I think Windlass swords make excellent projects, and they're regularly on sale in the "Deal of the Day" page at museumreplicas.com

By the way, we have a "Do It Yourself" links page here that features many such projects. http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/spotlight.php We also have a few items in the "Workbench" series (see "Features").

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Allan Senefelder
Industry Professional



Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

Posts: 1,563

PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2009 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter, take a look at some of Sean's projects over the last few years ( the helmet in his avatar being one ). While he probably consideres himself a " hobbiest " the quality of the work he's done speaks to the truth of his advice.
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Peter Molotov




Location: Thule
Joined: 05 Dec 2009

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2009 2:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks a lot, guys!

You did give me some more inspiration and courage. Happy

Now, since I see I managed to gather some proper armourers and bladesmiths on this thread, I'd like to ask some details. Like, to begin with, where, or rather, what kind of anvil to get? There is a 1926 100 pounds anvil on sale for 295€ / $432, which is a pretty good offer, as far as my tiny knowledge takes me, but of course, I still only ask. And what kind of hammers to use, and how many? If there is some other MUST-HAVE equipment, please mention.


Peter

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
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Tim Harris
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 06 Sep 2006

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2009 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I saw a smith at work when I was a small boy, and knew I was going to do that some day. It took over 30 years before I was able to get started, but once set up with the basics and somewhere to use them, it was all down to hands-on experience - after a lot of reading.

Don Fogg's site has been mentioned already, and I recommend it highly.

As for must-have's, bear in mind that you can get started with very little. Obviously, you need something to make metal hot plus something to hold it with, hit it with and hit it on. A decent anvil is likely to be your biggest single outlay, but you can improvise until you get one. In fact, a lot can be improvised, and there is a wealth of information available these days. When I first started searching for info more years ago than I care to remember, it was scant. Now there's any number of practising smiths making their knowledge available on the 'net. For free.

You can get going with a robust ball pein hammer, but get a cross pein when you can. Once you have one, you will almost certainly want one with the pein at 90 degrees to the first one. Any old tongs will get you started, as long as they hold the stock you're working on securely. A solid vice and a sturdy workbench would be good to have. One of the joys o0f smithing is that once you've got the basic chops, you can make a lot of what you might need yourself.

There is no substitute for hands-on experience, so take the plunge and do it. I have been at it for about 15 years and every project remains an education. I hope it stays that way, because the day I think I know it all is the day I should put the fire out for good.

Move the work, not the hammer, keep your thumb off the back of the hammer handle, and all the best to you.

-Tim Harris
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Allan Senefelder
Industry Professional



Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

Posts: 1,563

PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2009 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter, some pics of the shoppe showing hammers and stakes that we use are here http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2021080...b665c60d6c . I don't have any idea how much different toll prices and avaliablility are in the UK but we've found alot of tools at flea markets and antique shoppes. At one point we had 13 anvils, all found at barn sales. We paid .80c a pound or less for them all.
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Peter Molotov




Location: Thule
Joined: 05 Dec 2009

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue 15 Dec, 2009 11:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim, thanks!

But, there are some things I don't understand about hammers and other equipment. First, what should the "main surface" be like, I mean, circle form or square? With of course ball and cross peen on the backside... and second, I often hear smiths talk like, "buy *this* kind of hammer when you're able", which you also did, but, it sounds as if tools cost thousand of $$$.


Peter

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
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Tim Harris
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 06 Sep 2006

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Tue 15 Dec, 2009 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter,

As you get more experienced, you may see specific situations where a square face is better than a round, but initially, it shouldn't matter much. I often switch between the two, depending on what is within reach. The most important thing about a hammer for general smithing is that the face is "crowned" - in other words, slightly convex, with rounded edges. This prevents the hammer digging into the work. You can do this yourself with a grinder.

I got my first cross-pein hammer fresh from a smithing equipment manufacturer for around $A50. Equipment need not be massively expensive, and I have plenty of used gear obtained cheaply, some of it over a century old. I also have a habit of checking out tools in any junk shop I pass, as you never know what might turn up.

.. and I forgot to mention the paramount item of smithing wisdom: Just because it doesn't look hot, it doesn't mean that it isn't. That will save you a bit of grief.

-Tim Harris
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Josh Maxwell




Location: Michigan
Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 55

PostPosted: Tue 15 Dec, 2009 9:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The very best way to learn is by trial and error. But if you want to pursue a college degree in the subject, the University of Southern Illinois Carbondale (SIUC) has an excellent program in the metals field. The University offers both bachelors and masters degrees, though be warned it is a fine arts degree and you do need to take classes other than a metals course in order to obtain such a degree.

If you haven't guessed, this is where I'm attending right now.
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Peter Molotov




Location: Thule
Joined: 05 Dec 2009

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun 20 Dec, 2009 7:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also! What to use to cut steel and what did they use in the medieval times?


Peter

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
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