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Addison C. de Lisle




Location: South Carolina
Joined: 05 Nov 2005
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Posts: 614

PostPosted: Sat 21 Oct, 2006 6:48 pm    Post subject: Learning to Make Armor and Swords         Reply with quote

After sitting down and evaluating my goals for the future (taking a year off before going to college gives you a lot of time to do this Razz ), I've decided that I want to learn to make armor and/or swords. Are there any particular colleges that offer good metal programs, or other recommendations that people may have?
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Barrett Hiebert





Joined: 22 Sep 2006

Posts: 71

PostPosted: Sat 21 Oct, 2006 9:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings,

I would very much like to learn to do this as well as a profession too. I should direct you toward these threads, they may be of help!

http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=72981

Use the links that are given in the second post. Good luck and if you need any advice don't hesitate to ask. I am hoping to make this a future profession too, so we should definately learn from eachother.

Have a good day! Cheers!

Barrett Michael Hiebert
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,272

PostPosted: Sun 22 Oct, 2006 10:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good idea! Making armor is FUN!!! There are useful articles on this site, as well as on others:

http://www.armourarchive.org/

http://wwww.arador.com/

http://www.anvilfire.com/

I once heard a blacksmith say that your first project as a beginner is a scrap pile! That's fine, scraps come in handy, or can be turned into orc armor. From my own hobby experience, making some sorts of armor is easier than making decent blades, but at some point they start to require some very different tools and abilities. Let your mood swings have as much vote as your wallet.

And have fun!

Matthew
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Shawn Shaw




Location: Boston, MA USA
Joined: 07 Jan 2006

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Sun 22 Oct, 2006 11:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, if you want to learn my best suggestion is to listen to Yoda: "Do or do not, there is no try."

I've got a (more than) full time job and a family (with a 2yr old), so my time is pretty limited. But, even so, I decided that blacksmithing was something I was serious about because there is absolutely no feeling in the world like when you are at your forge, feeling the heat on your face and listening to the song of your hammer on the steel. I'm a raw green beginner but one day, I just bit the bullet, started putting a shop together, reading books, etc. I did take one class at the Brookfield Craft Center (a weekend course in beginner blacksmithing) that was alot of fun. You should look for local craft centers and check www.anvilfire.com and www.abana.org for classes in your area.

Be forewarned...blacksmithing is not nearly as easy as it looks. But, if you stick with it and love doing it, you'll get better. At this point, I don't ever come away from my forge without having learned something new...and that's just a terrific feeling.

Anyway, my point is-you can spend months or years trying to figure out what tools you need, where to go to school, what books to read, etc. Just get a few things together and give it a try. You will come away from your first forging session with a ton of questions that you can look up answers to. I recommend you start off with a weekend beginner course, that way you don't spend a lot of time and money setting up a shop if you change your mind and decide you don't enjoy the art. Plus, you'll learn basic stuff that can keep you from getting seriously hurt or frustrated. Money well spent, imho.
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Tim Harris
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 06 Sep 2006

Posts: 158

PostPosted: Sun 22 Oct, 2006 7:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good advice so far.

If you can spend time with an experienced smith when you're starting, so much the better.

A couple of things that might be worth bearing in mind about smithing: there are at least six ways to get any given result. None of them are necessarily wrong, but some of them aren't quite as useful as others.

Get a solid grounding in the basics first. People often tell me how they'd love to make a sword or a knife, and my stock response is "you don't get on a skateboard before you can walk". It is possible to make a sword or knife like thing first off, but you'll get far more satisfying results once you know how metal moves under the hammer.

... and forget any dreams of a career as a hand model.

As for reading, I thoroughly recommend Alex Bealer's very comprehensive book on blacksmithing, which has been reprinted recently.
For bladesmithing, you could do a lot worse than "The Complete Bladesmith" by Jim Hrisoulas (sp?)

Cheers

Tim Harris.
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Addison C. de Lisle




Location: South Carolina
Joined: 05 Nov 2005
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Posts: 614

PostPosted: Sun 22 Oct, 2006 8:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for your responses everyone! I already own a copy of The Complete Bladesmith; it's a great read even if you don't know how to actually do any of the techniques being described. I have no experience actually forging anything, but I am currently thinking the best thing for me to do would be to go to the Maine College of Art (a local art college) and taking metalsmithing there, as well as some metal sculpture, casting, and welding courses. From there though I'm not sure what to do because armor and sword making aren't exactly common courses. However they offer the option to design your own major (I checked and one of the recent ones was Metal Furniture, so armor isn't that great a leap Razz ) to achieve this, and then perhaps an internship somewhere for my third or fourth year to actually get direct experience/instruction in my topic of interest. Does this sound feasible? Are there colleges that have particularly great metalworking programs that anyone knows of?
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Bruno Giordan





Joined: 28 Sep 2005

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 915

PostPosted: Wed 25 Oct, 2006 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Good idea! Making armor is FUN!!! There are useful articles on this site, as well as on others:

http://www.armourarchive.org/

http://wwww.arador.com/

http://www.anvilfire.com/

I once heard a blacksmith say that your first project as a beginner is a scrap pile! That's fine, scraps come in handy, or can be turned into orc armor. From my own hobby experience, making some sorts of armor is easier than making decent blades, but at some point they start to require some very different tools and abilities. Let your mood swings have as much vote as your wallet.

And have fun!

Matthew


I'm finding the contrary.

My blade is progressing, my helm is sanded down ...

Anyway it is not an easy kind of hobby, like papier-mache or decoupage.

It takes professionality.


Beautiful yet terrific hobby.
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Bruno Giordan





Joined: 28 Sep 2005

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 915

PostPosted: Wed 25 Oct, 2006 12:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Addison C. de Lisle wrote:
Thanks for your responses everyone! I already own a copy of The Complete Bladesmith; it's a great read even if you don't know how to actually do any of the techniques being described. I have no experience actually forging anything, but I am currently thinking the best thing for me to do would be to go to the Maine College of Art (a local art college) and taking metalsmithing there, as well as some metal sculpture, casting, and welding courses. From there though I'm not sure what to do because armor and sword making aren't exactly common courses. However they offer the option to design your own major (I checked and one of the recent ones was Metal Furniture, so armor isn't that great a leap Razz ) to achieve this, and then perhaps an internship somewhere for my third or fourth year to actually get direct experience/instruction in my topic of interest. Does this sound feasible? Are there colleges that have particularly great metalworking programs that anyone knows of?


I don't want to put down the CB but it seems a very basic book to me.

I took a weeklond course in a XV century forge where smiths were forging buckets and agricultural tools for centuries (the famous brescian forges of Bienno).

The operators are retired but give courses to everybody who wants to learn.

Things seems easy if done by them but when you try you feel like a goose with an hamer in hand.

Nonetheless since august I have mproved my skill considerably, now I have a decent blade and cross.


But almost every sunday I'm helping on of the best italian damascus maker in another historical forge.

His tips, as well a stips from another smith friend that works on wrought iron, are immensely helpful.

Now, I have nothing against tehory (I'm also studyng at university, beside having a fulltime job), I have a bachelor in latin and classical studies, but for smithing graphs and diagrams or pics will be almost unuseful.

A forge and many hours of working while observing experts will do.
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John Gage
Industry Professional



Location: New Glarus, WI
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 154

PostPosted: Wed 25 Oct, 2006 4:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Addison,

For what its worth if this is a field that you really have a passion for, go for it and follow that passion and be driven by it. There are many ways to go in the industry and we each have our own path and final destination. Soak up evrything you can, even if the book is basic, you will learn to filter out what doesn't work for you. It may take a long time and you won't get rich and famous, but just stick by why you want to do it in the first place. Passion.

I hope this was helpful,

John

http://www.GageCustomKnives.com/
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Addison C. de Lisle




Location: South Carolina
Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Likes: 27 pages

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Wed 25 Oct, 2006 6:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Gage wrote:
Hi Addison,

For what its worth if this is a field that you really have a passion for, go for it and follow that passion and be driven by it. There are many ways to go in the industry and we each have our own path and final destination. Soak up evrything you can, even if the book is basic, you will learn to filter out what doesn't work for you. It may take a long time and you won't get rich and famous, but just stick by why you want to do it in the first place. Passion.

I hope this was helpful,

John


Thank you very much for your encouragement. It's pretty much that which made me change my mind about going to a "contemporary" college; this is what I love so I feel this is what I should do.

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Jeff Pringle
Industry Professional



Location: Oakland, CA
Joined: 19 Nov 2005

Posts: 145

PostPosted: Thu 26 Oct, 2006 5:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Are there colleges that have particularly great metalworking programs that anyone knows of?


CCA and Mass Art were the best a while back, if you are looking for a degree program.
There are also things like the Crucible if you are looking for a less structured environment.
http://www.cca.edu/academics/metals/
http://babel.massart.edu/metals/
http://www.thecrucible.org/
Edit: oh, and don't forget Sierra -
http://www.sierraforgeandfire.com/
Wink
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