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View Full Version : Where to learn to blacksmith



jwirecom109
11-16-2015, 10:19 AM
Where does one go to learn old world skills like this?
or is it a trail and error basis?

I would prefer a entry course but Calgary doesn't have any.

Thoughts?

FALover
11-16-2015, 10:47 AM
Don't know your travel limits but maybe this for a start? http://www.nait.ca/course_IRON101.htm

jwirecom109
11-16-2015, 10:54 AM
Looked, all full up till after May.

FALover
11-16-2015, 10:59 AM
Are there any blacksmiths in the area that offer courses? This guy is to far for you but is about an hours drive from my place. Someone like him looks ideal. I like his coal distribution through Home Hardware stores. http://www.thak.ca/courses-workshops/

FALover
11-16-2015, 11:07 AM
Another angle, check out Heritage Park in Calgary and ask them who does their blacksmithing displays. Maybe they can point you in the direction you are aiming for. Heck, any pioneer village setup usually has someone with a forge and anvil beating out nails,chains etc. for examples of 'old time' engineering and manufacturing processes.

kennymo
11-16-2015, 11:23 AM
I know an engineer who put himself through college doing a blacksmith's apprenticeship at Lower Fort Garry. There may be a local historical attraction somewhere in your neighbourhood that could take you on weekends or something. My grandfather recently gifted me a couple of books on the subject, he was fixing stuff on the forge until he was in his eighties on the farm. Last time he fired it up was to straighten a bent cultivator shank, but it didn't get broken out too often after they got reliable electricity in the 60's and bought a stick welder.... I've been thinking about making him an offer on his forge table. It still sits at the door to his workshop, but the crank blower has been well oiled and stored indoors....

The books, one is on moden decorative blacksmithing from the 70's or 80's, but the other is a shop manual from the turn of the century. Interesting stuff. It goes on about steel slowly killing the trade because it is so much more difficult to work than iron. Apparently good iron was the cat's ass. Steel doesn't bond as well when forge welded....or so it says. There's a lot of great how to instructions in there, with plenty of diagrams and details. I'd keep an eye out at old bookstores for something similar.....

Camo tung
11-16-2015, 01:06 PM
What are you looking to do? Artsy-Fartsy or something that will require annealing? A lot of the "heat and beat" skills (shaping, bending) can be learned in your own garage using a torch for heat instead of a forge and time (trial and error).
Making knives or striking tools require more education but there's plenty of info available on-line to whet your appetite.

jwirecom109
11-16-2015, 01:25 PM
What are you looking to do? Artsy-Fartsy or something that will require annealing? A lot of the "heat and beat" skills (shaping, bending) can be learned in your own garage using a torch for heat instead of a forge and time (trial and error).
Making knives or striking tools require more education but there's plenty of info available on-line to whet your appetite.

Real world items that would be used, axes, knives, tools etc. Stuff that could be made by hand for personal use.
Not really interested in art projects.

50 B.M.G.
11-16-2015, 01:28 PM
Olds College

jwirecom109
11-16-2015, 01:42 PM
Olds College

nothing listed on their courses offered

Rory McCanuck
11-16-2015, 01:55 PM
Ever wondered why all those tool boxes have that one funny drawer?
You know, the deep narrow one in the top box.
Second row from left:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c180/lbgradwell/Beach%20Combo%20Deal/BeachB29-B27Combo2.jpg

It's there to store your copy of Machinery's Handbook.
They are a wonderful resource, will tell you the size and strength of wire rope, the strength of metals, the pitch of threads, how many rivets are needed per bridge truss... amazing stuff some of it.

They have a section on Blacksmithing, but the section grew smaller with each edition.
I think it disappeared late 50s-early 60s.
My copy is a 10th Edition, from 1940.
The Forge Shop Equipment and Forge Welding section is only 12 pages long, but there is some great information in there.

Here's a 5th Edition, from 1919:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Machinerys-Handbook-for-Machine-Shop-5th-Edition-10th-Printing-1919-/291616738506?hash=item43e5b64cca:g:PU0AAOSwkZhWR-PN
I believe it has a considerably larger smithing section.

It isn't a how-to book, but I guarantee you'll learn something from it.
It's a great reference to have around anyways.

blacksmithden
11-16-2015, 02:20 PM
Read....do......read.......do more......read.......do even more. The skills can be learned on your own but it's going to take time, and trial and error. I was fortunate enough to be born into a family of old school millwrights and learned a lot of stuff from my grandfather. I also learned a lot on my own. A lot of the "black art" of it is stuff that only doing will teach you......slight angles on hammer strikes....how hard to hit, and at what.temperatures to quench. I'm not a hardcore blacksmith by any means, but know a fair bit. I'd love to learn more, but the actual hammer and forge stuff will have to wait until I've moved out of the city once and for all......damned neighbors. Lol.

BrotherRockeye
11-16-2015, 07:32 PM
Western Development Museum in Saskatoon used to have a class. But you'd have to go to Saskatoon...

ESnel
11-16-2015, 07:57 PM
http://www.bamsite.org/books/BLACKSMITHS-MANUAL-ILLUSTRATED.pdf

http://www.knifehelp.net/media/docs/The_Complete_Bladesmith.pdf

http://www.amazon.ca/Complete-Modern-Blacksmith-Alexander-Weygers/dp/0898158966 (two books in one)

50 B.M.G.
11-17-2015, 10:15 AM
nothing listed on their courses offered

Sorry. It was many years ago i took their blacksmithing course. I just assumed they still offered it.

jwirecom109
11-17-2015, 04:29 PM
http://mysticforge.ca/html/courses.html

found a place close to my location

Kenwp
11-17-2015, 10:47 PM
There is a couple of Blacksmith clubs in Alberta that I know of. The one I know the most about is in Wainwright.

Candychikita
11-18-2015, 01:08 AM
There's a few that practice at Fort Langley out here (or did, not sure if they still do) From what I understand it was just trial and error...lots of practice because people wanted to see a "live blacksmith" at the Fort in the smithy.

FALover
11-18-2015, 04:44 PM
There's a few that practice at Fort Langley out here (or did, not sure if they still do) From what I understand it was just trial and error...lots of practice because people wanted to see a "live blacksmith" at the Fort in the smithy.

Not a lot of demand for dead ones?:tounge:

Cranky1
02-25-2016, 09:53 PM
I black-smithed for years as a welder. It is not rocket science. Get an anvil ( good luck) a forge? A hammer, scrap metal, and start beating hot steel! Nothing to it. Cheers, have fun.