Hi all, I was just wondering what others are doing with their blacksmithing
skills....do you make knives mostly, or do you make other forged items? Do
you sell these items? If so where do you get your best response? I live in
a small town in the hill country north of San Antonio, Texas. They're are
several antique stores, flea markets, and the usual chili cook offs that are
Right now, I'm fabbing a softtail for the old Rice Rocket. With gas at $2 a
gallon, that 50 mpg that the 650 got is too good to let corrode in the shop
corner. I've got tooling for edged weapons, knives and swords, but the market is
pretty compressed right now. Edged weapons are considered a luxury item in
today's world, and the economy needs to be screaming for me to make a buck at
it. So... I'm stretching the frame by about six inches and 'rearanging' the
seating position, so I won't look like a grasshopper perched on top of a frog
going down the street. Bhob but I never realized just how crappy stock frames
were! If I'd known just how flimsy they were 'way back when', I never would have
beat the crap out of it like I did. I'm lucky to still be alive.
Up here in Minnesota and Wisconsin, several of our (Guild of
Metalsmiths) blacksmiths design and produce ornate gates and railings.
Many do make knives, too. Some do reproductions of ironware from the
the past. A few make complex locks. Folks like me do simple things when
demonstrating for the public. Things like S hooks, candleholders, miners
lamps, etc. Others are into complex flowers. Many folks produce goods
for the reenacters and the rondevous crowd.
I, like many others often produce tooling for myself and others in
addition to doing repair work and parts making where forging abilitiy is
The list goes on and on.
I'm a full time artist-blacksmith-fabricator-farrier. I try to do niche
stuff so I don't have to compete with the truck loads of Mexican and
Pacific Rim junkforgings that infest the flea markets and discount
houses. Most of my output is custom firescreens, gates, signage and the
odd wall hanging, not much traditional stuff.
If you're ever over this way, you're welcome to visit my shop. We're on
the Katy Prairie, 30 miles west of Houston and three miles north of
I-10. Call first and make sure I'm going to be there - I still shoe a
Well, I'm just starting out, but I've been doing some S-hooks and the
like. But, today I made a rod for hanging a tapestry thing my wife
got while we were in Europe at the beginning of the year.
I've posted pictures of some of my work on my web site:
The current projects folder contains the stuff I did today.
Incidentally, I'm in Houston and not far from Tom Stovall's shop. I
work in my driveway though. I'm sure my neighbors love me. :)
Wow Charly, I've thought about doing something like your project, but I
wouldn't know where to start, and I know what you mean with the gas prices,
I could use something like that, I've been looking around the junk
yards....etc, for an old frame, that way I'm not out much if I screw it up
badly, keep us posted on how it comes out.
Pete, I've been demoing over at an ag museum, but the crowds are few and far
between, I've got a good finger into the ren faire scene and have had a few
jobs of tweeking armor, new daggers...etc., I usually will make a miniature
horseshoe and give to any kids that show up long enough to watch.
Tom I've got kin over in your neck of the woods so don't be surprised if I
don't take you up on your offer.
Rick, one of the reasons I moved onto the middle of 6.6 acres is so I don't
have any neighbors.....lol, I'm sure they're all wondering what the
hammering is all about.
I've also thought about rigging up a mobile forge and taking it on the
road with me to the various events....but we'll see. Thanks guys for
posting....I've been part of several groups in the past and most die out due
to lack of interest. I'll be posting questions and ideas from time to
We do a wide variety of things. Mostly we focus on historical
reproductions both for homes and for re-enactors. When that includes
blades we handle that too. We also tend to stay away from gates,
fences and large railings; since we just don't have the layout space
in our shop. We also teach classes.
At this point we mostly sell our work to customers one on one or
through a handful of galleries that have decent rates. We learned a
long time ago that "Crap Fairs" were not the way to go. The people
there just don't know the difference (nor care) between what we do and
the cold bent stuff from where ever. Additionally most of what's
there is "assembly" not creation. It's crap they went to the craft
store and bought as a kit. Now, we do have a few *Craft* Fairs that
feature real artisans, are juried, and have a price point that is
compatable with ours; that's a different story.
One last bit of advice. Do not take contracts from antique stores.
Unless they are willing to let you leave your makers mark WITH the
date they're probably going to try to swindle some customer into
believing your hard work is an antique.
Oak & Acorn Ancient Metalcrafts
Maybe so, but I beefed up the transition areas from the stock frame remains to
the new section. I'll be sure to paint "EXPERIMENTAL" on the tubing so any
potential passengers will be duely informed of its status. I'm not afraid of
riding it, hell it could be a new product for the shop. The motor is still
really strong, 145 psi on the compression gage. It was making 87 hp at the rear
wheel when I put it away all those years ago, if it still makes 75% of that
it'll get me around quite nicely.
Well, construction is coming along quite nicely. Only one more complex shape to
make and I can weld it all together. Having a milling machine really helps. With
tongue and groove joints, everything stays in alignment for welding so you can
hold alignment with a few clamps and you don't need a lot of jigs and fixtures.
My initial fitup held the swing arm axle within .010, and there's room to trim
that out for final fit to weld. I've been thinking about this particular
conversion for thirty-odd years. The Yamaha 650 was probably the best vertical
twin powerplant ever designed, but the frame layout always struck me as one of
"designed to fit inside the world's most perfect packing crate". I should end up
with a longer wheelbase and a lower CG which will certainly help the high speed
characteristics. The only real problem is what to name it. It'll be half Yamaha
and half Harley.
I've been schemeing on a 60 degree V-4 using the Yama top ends as well. All I
have to make is a crank and crankcase, the rest of the drivetrain I can mooch
from Harley aftermarket. I can run a dry sump and run all the oil lines
externally, using a belt drive oil pump and a late-model Harley alterantor for
electrical, and Shazam... engine. 80 cubic inches, oversquare, overhead cams,
four carbs, 8500 RPM redline, 150 hp at least. That should keep up with the Big
Boys. Think about a turbo and EFI, 300 hp isn't out of the question. Now we're
talking Pro Stock, which is probably faster than I care to ride on our streets.
Hey Guys.... Sweetie got a digital camera! Now all I have to do is figure out;
it works, how to get the pictures out of the camera and into the Infernal
how to use the alleged 10Meg 'personal webpage' that is supposed to be part of my
ISP, how to shove the pictures into it, and finally how to put links into the
stream here, and you can all watch my project bike.
...and how to shorten your line length? ;)
I use Paint Shop to crop and rotate and "resample to size" my
digital photo and scanner files.
BTW, don't post the .jpg here, if that's what you had in mind,
only post its address where it is.
I'm not the guy to help you tho, I use unix programs like FTP
for file transfers and unix for permission settings etc.
(old wore-out Dos 3.3 guy here;)
Anyway, looking forward to seeing your work! :)
Alvin in AZ
ps- for those of you that don't have space for pictures you can
email them to me and they can be seen from my ISP... I've got
about 40 acres of website space and using only an acre;)
pps- replace the XX with panix for email