How to get started in blacksmithing

Last Revised: June 18, 2014


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Introduction

To get started in blacksmithing, you need:
-Knowledge
-Equipment
-and a Place to do it.
This article covers all three. Read on!

To get started in blacksmithing, you should first visit the ABANA website and use it to locate the affiliate (chapter) closest to you. .

Personally, I am happy to answer questions from neophytes whenever I can help, but let me say this again:
The VERY BEST way to get questions about blacksmithing answered is to get into a group that does what you want to do. There are over 60 "clubs" around the USA and Canada organized primarily to educate folks about blacksmithing. ABANA, the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America at www.abana.org, has a list of the whereabouts of most of them. ABANA is our "national" level organization.

Most of the local groups have websites, too.

The local clubs have various meeting schedules and conferences. The members range from "never lit a fire" to real professionals. Many have education programs. All of them welcome and look forward to meeting new members as well as guests. Many of the members have been upgrading their equipment for years and therefore have things to sell, trade, etc.. Members having their own shops may offer a visit to their shop for a lesson or two once they realize that a new recruit has a genuine interest in the craft.

Many of the groups also have newsletters containing "how-to" articles. For instance, our group, The Guild of Metalsmiths, has an index of almost 1000 how-to articles that have been published in our own newsletter, The Metalsmith!
And all those 30-plus years of back issues are available on DVD.

Many of the clubs have annual conferences where "tailgating" is done. This simply means that anybody who has stuff to sell just piles it into the box of their pickup truck and puts prices on it. A great way to get started with equipment.
Farm and estate sales that are listed in small town "shoppers" and newspapers are another good source of tools.

Some other countries have similar organizations.

So, to the folks who are new to blacksmithing: Find your closest ABANA affiliate, check out their website if they have one, and join that group. Get to a few meetings and introduce yourself. Tell folks about your interests and go from there.

Finally, if you do send an email or post a message to a newsgroup with a question in it:
Tell us in general where you live like "west central Wisconsin" (me). Who knows--- you may live a mile from me or some other person who can help.