The Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America (ABANA)
Roaming the Web by ABANA Member John Dittmeier
The vast World Wide Web is a unique resource whereby we smiths are able to share and learn. For those who are not active in searching and using the internet, the following links are from John's roaming. John will have regular updates on web resources here. Announcements and summaries on his roaming will be published in the Anvil's Ring along with the URL for this page and a QR code for those using smart phones.
Please provide John the links to other web sites of which you are aware. Email: John Dittmeier
9010 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
Roaming the Web - March 26, 2015
Colonial Williamsburg: The reconstruction of the Anderson's Blacksmith Shop and Public Armoury is documented in a blog with photographic record. The shop reopened in March 2012.
The reconstruction of the Anderson's Blacksmith Shop and Public Armoury
Barnes Foundation: Within its new Philadelphia building are displayed over 500 works of iron amidst one of the finest collections of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings. At its web home page, search for 'iron' (not 'ironwork') and view photographs of the collection. From September 19, 2015 to January 4, 2016, the Foundation will host an exhibition of 150 masterworks from the Le Musee Le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen, France
Barnes Foundation Website
Samuel Yellin Metalworkers: Artisan Ideas' web blog 'Community Site' carries a May 2014 interview with Claire Yellin, third-generation owner of Samuel Yellin Metalworkers. She shares that, due to the 2008 recession, she changed the business model from employees to subcontractors. Claire Yellin acknowledges that the business may not continue after her retirement, believing that she has figuratively passed the. She also addresses the interests of female blacksmiths.
Clare Yellin Interview (Link is broken- Artisan Ideas is working to resolve problem)
Michael Bondi: The Wall Street Journal carries a March 2013 on-line still-photographic interview of Michael Bondi of Berkeley, California. The article discusses pricing: 'A simple fireplace screen can start at $3,500 and cost as much as $15,000. A set of double doors will cost from $20,000 to $80,000 and can take more than two months to make.'
Wall Street Journal Interview
David Ponsler: The Atlantic carries a fine October 2014 video interview of David Ponsler of Jacksonville, Florida.
BlacksmitHER: Victoria (Vic) Patti with support of others has created and actively maintains this web site with blacksmithing information specific for women. Its mission includes 'Educate . . . by highlighting strategies and tools that women blacksmiths use; Support . . .by providing relatable topics that will help others in the same field; Create a community and camaraderie among the podcast guests, listeners and website visitors; Entertain . . . with my podcast, BlacksmitHER Radio, candid, unscripted and sometimes funny interviews with lady blacksmiths around the world.' The web site includes pages for podcasts, events, resources, articles, etc. Podcasts include interviews with men of the trade, too.
Victoria Patti Website
Care of Iron Antiques: The Ironwork web page of Victoria & Albert Museum includes an article 'How to Care for Your Iron and Steel', devoted to antique and historic pieces.
Victoria & Albert Museum
Roaming the Web - February 18, 2015
Sharpening of Used Files: A discussion on the Facebook group 'Blacksmithing Enthusiasts' included a recommendation of Boggs Tool & File Sharpening, Paramont, California.
Boggs Tool and File Sharpening
Induction Forge Kit: The forum IForgeIron has a thread, starting in July 2012, by two Missouri brothers on the design and prototype of an affordable yet superior induction forge in comparison to the Chinese products. One is a blacksmith (though, having departed the trade); the other is an electronics expert, who has established a web page at ReactorForge.com. The development, however, appears to be stalled.
Home Built Induction Heater
Reactor Forge Website
Large, High-Heat Gas Forge: In the Facebook group, 'Blacksmith Forges', Matt Harris of Maryland has described his large gas forge, built in the summer 2014. He states 'The burn chamber is almost 3 cubic feet. Floor dimensions are 20" wide by 28" long. It burns extremely efficiently for being so large. And it gives crazy hot heat. White hot. Forge welding is easily done. I have been tracking the gas consumption at 2.5 to 3 gallons per hour, not bad given the size. That is with both doors closed. The doors are a unique design as they will ratchet up at 2" increments and also flip up 180 degrees out of the way. I'm using a http://pineridgeburner.com burner, LP390. This is the key to the efficiency. The blower is from a kids moon bounce and is also key to the system as it produces the right volume, and pressure needed. Ribbon burners are finicky on what type of blowers they need to run correctly. I've experimented with many blowers and this is what is working best for now.' Its price range is $140 to $250, depending on size.
Ribbon Burner for Gas Forges: See above 'Large, High-Heat Gas Forge'. The Hammer's Blow did publish an article on these types of burners. From the web site of Pine Ridge Burners: 'Most burners on the market are of the "retention tip" type. The fuel/air mixture passes straight through the burner and into the firing chamber. Retention tips do help improve flame stability and give a focused spot heat, but they do little to improve the fuel/air mix and they can be noisy. The Pine Ridge Burner is not a retention tip. The fuel/air mix first enters a chamber called a plenum. This plenum is baffled to further mix the fuel and air. (The better the fuel/air mix, the better the burn). This improved fuel/air mix then exits the plenum through a series of alloy steel metering orifices. The metering orifices accurately supply the fuel/air mix to a honeycomb of larger delivery orifices in the burner head. Burning the fuel through many orifices spreads the heat out evenly over a wide area. It also makes the burner very quiet. The Pine Ridge Burner is often referred to as a "ribbon burner" because it creates a "ribbon" of flame.' Its price range is $140 to $250, depending on size. The forum IForgeIron (QR code) has a lengthy discussion of ribbon burners and the necessary blower for adequate pressure rather than adequate volume (cubic feet per minute).
1500 Pound Self-Built Power Hammer: YouTube has two 2013 videos on Jim Claar's power hammer in Indiana, which is 'operated by an 18hp lawnmower engine. ..The arm operating the hammer head uses two truck air bags to generate a whipping action. As such, the force with which the hammer hits the anvil is quite a bit larger than 1500 lbs. …It is easily adjustable in many ways - among others, you can adjust for the height of the piece by operating a simple lever.'
Youtube Video 1
Youtube Video 2
Posting of Research Results: Moose Forge is a repository of one smith's research across numerous topics. As the web master Jim explains, it is a '"notebook" of things I've learned, run across, tracked down, and just plain discovered since I decided to start learning blacksmithing.' It is a resource for beginners and for experienced smiths.
Moose Forge Repository
Roaming the Web - Jan 27, 2015
Article Originally Printed in Vol 43 No 2 Spring 2015 Anvil's Ring
(As paraphrased from Wikipedia) An internet forum is an online discussion site for conversations in the form of posted messages. A discussion forum is tree-like in structure: a forum can contain a number of subforums, each of which may have several topics. Within a forum's topic, each new discussion started is called a thread, and can be replied to by as many users as so wish. On most forums, the general public may read existing messages. Users, though, register with the forum and then subsequently log in order to post messages and photos. One can use the forum's search function to locate a topic of interest.
Here are the foremost English-text forums for blacksmithing, with statistics as of January 2015:
IForgeIron: 401,000 posts and 31,900 members
Bladesmith's Forum: 296,420 posts and 8,680 members
Metal Artist Forum: 72,270 posts and 5,780 members
AnvilFire's Slack-Tub Pub: For the overall site, there are over 140,000 monthly visitors from over 150 countries. For this forum, one must register with the site.
Northwest Blacksmith Association Forum: 17,740 posts and 6,570 members. For this forum, one must register with the site.
ABANA Forums: 2000 posts
HammerTyme Blacksmith Forum: 1,830 posts and 803 members
Blacksmith Forums: 114 posts and 48 members
Facebook is an online social networking service, in which individual blacksmiths have created 'groups' for common interests as listed below. To view the postings of these Facebook groups, one must register with Facebook and thus create one's own Facebook profile, albeit with minimum personal information if one desires. To participate in a group by posting messages, photos and even files, one must request to join the group.
Here are popular Facebook groups and a few Facebook pages, as noted:
Artist Blacksmith's Association of North America - ABANA (page): 2,127 likes
Blacksmithing Enthusiasts: 11,440 members
Blacksmithing for Beginners: 14,799 members
Women Do Iron: 2,628 members
Blacksmiths without Boundaries: 3,079 members
Professional Blacksmiths and Metal Forgers: 496 members
Forging on the Faultline: Forging on the Faultline: 278 members
Blacksmithing Classes: 1307 members
ArtSklad (Page): 13,000 Likes
Blacksmithing Art: 1300 members
Hot Off the Anvil:Hot Off the Anvil: 1015 members
Anvils: 3,578 members
Antique Blacksmith Tools: 3,559 members
Anvil Surfers 2,059 members
Power Hammer Forging: 1,910 members
The Blacksmith's Tailgate: 1,855 members
Hammer Junkies:Hammer Junkies: 928 members
German Anvils: 620 members
Hydraulic Forging Presses:Hydraulic Forging Presses: 729 members
Fisher & Norris Factory Museum (Page):Fisher & Norris Factory Museum (Page): 627 Likes
Leg Vise Madness: 371 members
Blacksmith Forges, Gas, Coal, and Alternative Fuel Forges: 418 members
Swage Blocks: 344 members
Individual blacksmiths or businesses that deal with blacksmiths have created blogs for sharing ideas and reflections. The postings typically do not invite comment, as is the case with forums and Facebook groups.
Beyond these three blogs, let John Dittmeier know of others that would be of interest to smiths:
Artisan Ideas' Community Site
Videos and Tutorials
YouTube is a video-sharing web site, in which individuals or business users of YouTube can upload, view, and share videos and from which any blacksmith can view the films for free. Web sites can also be designed to carry and display videos.
Here are a few of the video sites:
Mark Aspery YouTube channel.
Note that his Ring Project #3 video of 5 minutes has had over 1,200,000 views.
Brian Brazeal forging techniques and YouTube channel
Dirty Smith blog
BBC's Metalworks: The Blacksmith's Tale.
In YouTube, there are four 15-minute parts of this one-hour documentary.
Instructables Blacksmith Projects
Instructables, which offers still photographs and texts for rudimentary do-it-yourself projects, such as coal and gas forges.