I’m Tony (AKA: Thor) and I have no pedigree in blacksmithing, no formal training or apprenticeships under master blacksmiths, just a desire to learn and a love of the trade.
I began blacksmithing in 2021 during the pandemic. A friend of mine got me into it as he had taken a blacksmithing course at Open Bench Project in Portland, Maine.
It began as it does for most beginner blacksmiths by learning how to make hooks and those early hooks of mine were terrible, though I do still have them. For the next year I forged off and on as my friend and I had free time over at his house where he had a small setup with a propane forge.
The summer of 2021 my wife and I bought our house in New Gloucester. I started getting a shop setup slowly as I found tools and money permitted. In February 2022 my friend and I took a beginner blacksmithing course at the New England School of Metalwork. It was a 4 day course at 8 hours a day learning everything from the fundamentals up to forge welding.
It was an incredible course where I learned a lot and something I highly recommend any budding blacksmith attend.
Education and Learning to Blacksmith
A lot of my education comes from watching YouTube videos and putting what I see into practice.
If anyone is interested in starting up blacksmithing, then I highly recommend watching John with Black Bear Forge and Roy at Christ Centered Ironworks. Those two smiths are where I learn most of what I put into practice.
Between the videos, reading articles and books, it’s a process best learned through experience and so I spend a great deal of time forging for the sake of learning.
As mentioned above, I took a beginner class as New England School of Metalwork. I have also taken a week long course with Master Blacksmith Mark Aspery. It was during that class that I completed my Level 1 Course for ABANA (Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America).
At Watkins I show how blacksmiths did their craft all those years ago with a coal forge and an anvil well over 100 years old.
It’s a great time to bring the family, check out the blacksmith shop, and also all the other amazing things the historical society has.
I have also volunteered at Pettengill Farm in 2023. I brought my stuff along to their amazing property and did demonstrations throughout the day.
Other than volunteer work you can also find me doing demonstrations at various events and fairs that we attend. You can always find where I’ll be and if I’ll be doing demonstrations on my events page. This includes when I’ll be at Watkins or Pettengill Farm.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, the moniker Thor is one I’ve used since my earlier days of being on the internet back around 1994. Yes, I was in high school when the internet as we know it came to be – that’s how old I am.
Anyway, I’ve always enjoyed mythology and I’ve always loved thunderstorms, which made Thor a natural fit for an online handle.