Aside from reading a lot and going to D&D/LARP matches, I don’t really have a hobby. I also got to thinking that I don’t really have a thing I make, you know? Some people draw, or sing, or make birdhouses, or whatever it is. I didn’t know what my new thing would be, but I’d been keeping the need for one in the back of my mind.
Anyway, two weeks ago, I got talking to a guy at The Archives, and he was telling me about this apprenticeship he did as a blacksmith one year between high school and college. He said he ended up with lots of things he had wrought at the end of it, and that he wanted to start having his own shop when he got his first house. That got me thinking.
I’ve always loved fantasy, whether it’s the swords, the goblets, the armor or the crowns. I love going to old castles or seeing cast iron, or wrought stuff. There really couldn’t be a more ideal creative outlet than blacksmithing. I know it’s going to take quite a while to get to the point where I can visualize something and then make it happen, but if I can get good, I’ll be able to make all sorts of cool stuff. I would really love to have a shield to hang up at home (assuming that’s gonna be easier than a sword, right?).
So, long story short, I started an evening class at City Arts, so I could learn the basics and try it out. I’m super new to this, I’ve never been around welding or blacksmiths or anything, but I was super excited.
Last week was my first class. The instructor, Jeff, is a super cool guy who runs a blacksmithy shop a few towns outside Saratoga. He said he started out doing restoration work for some of the war memorial sites, and then did custom furniture pieces and artisan knives. Now he freelances and says he could make just about anything (I asked about a shield, because I’m that guy, and he actually said he made a coat of arms for some rich bachelor once. Score! Looks like that might work out after all.
I’m super psyched for next week, when we’re gonna get to play with metal for the first time. This first time we just did a tour, intro, and watched Jeff heat up and hammer some basic iron. We have 4 weeks of smithing, then a couple sessions or working with a torch and doing fancier stuff and decorative pieces. I mean, this is probably the coolest thing you can still do in the 21st century. Like, this is exactly how they did things in the Middle Ages! So freaking cool. Anyway, if you’re at all interested, you should totally check it out. Can’t recommend it enough. You have to buy a bit of equipment but not too much. I got a cheap welding mask that I can upgrade later if I stick with it, and some heavy-duty gloves. Probably $60 altogether. I didn’t know anything about welding helmets, so I did some reading to find out what to look for here, http://weldingdesign.com/equipment-amp-automation/welding-helmets-what-you-need-know-you-buy, and then used some weldinghelmets.reviews at http://weldinghelmets.reviews/ to find something decent but cheap.
All in, all probably the best use of money I’ve made in the past year! Hopefully I’ll have some photos to share soon of my work!