The beauty of designing and making products with human hands has remained a treasure to most people regardless of their tribe or race. It requires inventiveness, skill, and creativity that is in only found in a few people.
This explains why you should not waste that great ability in you. As a matter of fact, this is a skill that you can achieve with just a few guided steps. All we require from you is interest.
Blacksmithing is an innovative skill that started in earlier centuries. As earlier mentioned, this demanding skill is not specifically attributed to any specific community, tribe or race.
In the earlier days, pros in this demanding profession were much respected in their communities. They could make tools and weapons which made them very important people in the community.
With the advancing technology, nothing much has changed about it. Some of the traditions in this decent profession have been preserved and that is the beauty in it.
These traditions are passed from generation to generation through training by professionals in this field, just like the one you are purposing to go through.
Unlike most of the professions, becoming a blacksmith is really demanding. Even before we go to the tools that you need, check to see that you have the following before considering working towards being a professional blacksmith; without which chances of quitting are very high.
• Physical strength
• Be passionate about it
• Hand-Eye coordination
What exactly does a professional blacksmith do?
Some of the work done by professional blacksmith comprise of;
• Creating objects from metals
• Repairing metal objects
• Applying finishes on metal products
Steps in becoming a professional blacksmith
• Read to get details about it
• Join beginner classes
• Of course, later on, it would be good to join advanced classes
• Get basic tools for a starter
• Work with experienced blacksmith – in other words, become an apprentice
• Get a job or start your own shop
• Create specialty
• Commit to teaching others
• Practice, a lot of it!
1. Read to get details about it
With ever-advancing technology, the internet is literally flooded with so much information. While this has made getting information a clinch, it has also raised up the challenge of false information and baseless facts all over.
Acquiring the right information about blacksmith is as important as learning the skills and purchasing the tools. This implies that you have to be very aggressive about getting accurate facts and reading them for you to be well-versed.
Search for information from reliable sources and readers. Some of the books about blacksmithing include;
• The Art of Blacksmithing by Alex W. Bealer
• A Blacksmithing Primer by Randy McDaniel
• The Complete Modern Blacksmith by Alexander Weygers
Additionally, watch TV shows and documentaries about blacksmithing like ones in the History Channel. Also, commit to watching YouTube videos like those of Alec Steele e.g.
You can also follow such people on Instagram and Facebook to get more knowledge. After getting this information, go physical.
2. Join beginner classes
Start off slow. Join a beginner class. This will allow you to learn the basics which you may not be well conversant with. The basic skills include;
• Lighting a torch
• Handling hot metals
• Controlling heat
• Learning the tools and familiarizing with them
• Putting on finishing’s on products
The beginner classes will also give you an overview of what you will be dealing with in the future in line with this decent profession.
3. Join advanced classes
In joining advanced classes, you get to learn advanced skills which prepare you adequately to join the profession. The classes are meant to develop the skills that were acquired in the beginner classes.
This implies that you cannot join the advanced classes before going through the beginner classes. These advanced skills include but are not limited to heat handling skills for people who are familiar with handling heat and designing different objects.
At the end of these classes, more learning and practice is still needed in order to perfect the skill. Remember this is a process that will actually take time. This calls for patience.
4. Get tools
After finishing the beginner and the advanced classes, purchasing the basic tools is a good idea. Though the tools are a bit expensive and rare in the market, they are an ideal investment for every aspiring professional and undoubtedly worth your money. Some of the basic equipment to begin with include
• Anvil- this is a hard surface where the other metals are placed when they are being struck.
• Forge- this is where heating is done.
• Tongs- this are used to hold the hot pieces of metal thus protecting your hands from burns from fire or excessive heat.
• Hammers-look for durable ones, and keep in mind they handle should be comfortable.
• Leather gloves- heavy duty gloves that protect your hands from injuries.
There are a variety of supplies of these and more tools online. However, when making an order, it is important that you compare the prices from different suppliers and ensure that it can be shipped or delivered to where you are.
5. Work with experienced blacksmith- apprentice
Every expert in this field began somewhere. Beginning at making unique, quality products in your shop is not only impractical but also impossible. As a matter of fact, they all have a story to tell, about their journey to becoming a professional.
Working with a skilled blacksmith will allow you to learn so much from them. Here, money is just an additional benefit, not the focus.
Actually, be ready to do anything in a workshop even if it means sorting out metals or even sweeping without getting paid. This is just a stepping stone and will give you the much-needed experience.
6. Create specialty
From the foregoing discussion, it is very clear that becoming a professional blacksmith is idyllic for those who are arty, creative and inventive. With the increasing number of professionals today, you must aim at producing quality products for you to stand the stiff competition.
Trying to do so much in this field might actually land you into becoming ‘Jack of all trades, master of none.’ You are uniquely gifted. At this particular stage, aim at realizing what you are gifted in and focus on it.
Your advanced unique skills will set you apart from the rest. Additionally, doing what you do best also gives you more confidence in your work which is actually a plus.
7. Get a job or start your own shop
Just like any other business, starting your own shop requires patience. It will take time for the customers to learn about your business and even more time to win them.
It will also take time for you to perfect this skill just like any other which implies that at this point you are prone to mistakes. This, however, should serve to motivate you to become a professional.
Market your business. This can be done by advertising your products on social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also create a website to market your products.
Aim at meeting and exceeding your customers’ expectations so that they always leave satisfied. This will ensure that you will not keep getting new customers and losing them after a while.
8. Commit to teaching others
Before you started your own shop, you were actually working as an intern with an experienced blacksmith. Now that you are experienced, start taking interns and training them. This will not only allow you to pass your skill but also will give you a whole learning experience. At the end of the day, you’ll benefit from it.
There is always room for improvement. In actual sense, the moment you will get convinced that there nothing more to learn is the eventual time you will stop learning. The more you practice, you continue perfecting your skill and learning so much in the profession.
The internet today is flooded with information about blacksmithing. Read such articles to gain more knowledge and keep trying out new techniques. You can always be better.
10. Start making money!
At this point, you are a professional blacksmith! Start making money from the skills that you have acquired. Make a lot of money and plan to expand your business to increase income.
Q: How much time will I take to fully acquire the skill?
A: Approximately 2 years. However, this time greatly varies from one person to the other as it is dependent on so many things. This includes how many hours you are training per day, availability of tools, consistency, your abilities, and gifts among others. Take your time, don’t be too hard on yourself as learning this is a process.
Q: How much will I make as a professional blacksmith?
A: Again, this is dependent on so many factors such as your skill and your location. However, on average, blacksmith earns around $35000 per year.
If you are a professional in any field, you agree with me that becoming an expert in anything has never been easy. It requires patience, motivation, determination, interest, and the strong willpower to achieve against all odds.
Blacksmithing is no exception either. As a matter of fact, it can be very challenging. However, from the foregoing discussion, it is clear that this is not something that is out of reach. With proper preparations and enough skills, you will definitely succeed in this field.