As part of my continual self-improvement crusade, I've decided to try out blacksmithing. There are local forges throughout Utah that offer courses for reasonable prices. The forge I went to offers classes in three-hour blocks.
Why blacksmithing? I thought it would be a great skill (or even just for the exposure). Back in the mid-2000s, I used to play Runescape with my siblings and friends. One of my favorite skills was smithing. I've always leaned towards skills that most players hated to spend time grinding. In a way, it's almost like I'm turning a boyish dream into reality 20 years later.
Ultimately, I hope to practically utilize this skill and even forge sentimental gifts for friends and families.
I learned how to make an S-hook and a bottle opener. The lesson did feel like being hosed by a fire hydrant. The class included safety, tool usage, and proper posturing/positioning. Even though it felt overwhelming, doing it was the best way to learn the trade.
The hook I made is on the right. You may not see the difference between my work and the blacksmith. If you look closer, you will notice the finer details.
Here's the comparison between the bottle openers. The blacksmith made it with a more noticeable bent. The functional part of the opener also has a better finish and smooth transition compared to mine. The good thing is, mine works nonetheless.
Not bad for a first-timer. The color difference is due to the finishes I applied. For the bottle opener, I used brass and beeswax. The brass gave the color, and the beeswax made it more rust-resistant. For the S-hook, I used oil. The oil gave it a darker hue. If you ever want black armor, that is one way to go about it.
It was three hours of hard work, and I liked it. I plan on taking more lessons to hone my skills. The forge I went to offers lessons on toolmaking and knife making. They also offer even more specific instructions depending on what you are trying to make. Seasoned practitioners could rent time to use the shop during the blacksmiths' work hours for a price.
I will keep you all updated.