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 2020 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 (somewhere).
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.
At the time my interest in blacksmithing was minimal honestly. For some reason it just wasn’t clicking with me.
In 2021 my wife and I bought a house in New Gloucester, Maine and moved from our condo in Westbrook. I now had 4 acres of land and a barn. The barn was a selling point for me 😉
Over that summer I setup the barn as my wood workshop, a hobby I’ve always enjoyed.
Forging in Earnest and Learning
My friend decided to move his blacksmithing stuff over to my place. He lives in Portland and the noise was a bit much. He asked to bring his stuff here where nobody would be bothered by it.
It was then that blacksmithing really took hold. Having the free space to setup something like that, nobody to bother, and the ability to just go outside and create something was perfect.
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.
With the forge setup under the overhang of my barn I work on learning how to be a better blacksmith. A lot of my education, apart from the blacksmithing course, 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.
Most of my projects are small items such as bottle openers, J hooks (coat hooks), S hooks, fire pokers, keychain decorations, pendants, and whatever creation I feel like testing myself with.
Love of the Craft
I have always enjoyed doing things with my hands. I have been a carpenter, I’m currently a programer, and I spent 14 year painting miniatures for wargames. I haven’t painted in a few years but I still have my blog Creative Twilight which is dedicated to miniature painting.
I enjoy fixing anything and learning how to do it. Learning new things is something I find great enjoyment in.
In my time blacksmithing I have found a passion I didn’t know I had. It’s a trade combines raw power and art. I’m shaping steel with a hammer and creating a functional item that’s often indistinguishable from it’s original form. There’s a magic in that which I’ve found addictive.
While I’ve enjoyed the previously mentioned hobbies, and even met a measure of success with miniature painting, they were just things I enjoyed doing. Blacksmithing though just feels like something I should be doing.
Once I began selling my work my passion for blacksmithing grew. To have other people enjoy what I make so much as to spend their own hard earned money on is a reward I never truly experience before.
That’s why I enjoy creating useful every day items. Whether it’s a coat hook, fire poker, or plant hanger I’m creating something that’s functional. I forge pieces that anyone can use in their home. For me, knowing what I make has a purpose and will be used every day gives me a sense of pride.
I also really love creating custom pieces for people as well. Being able to forge something for someone that they had drawn up in their mind is an amazing feeling.
There’s such a deep and rich history with blacksmithing. I feel if I spent 40 years doing it that I would still barely scratch the surface on what I could create and what I could learn. All these things fuel my passion to continue learning and push myself to become a better blacksmith.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, the moniker Thor is one I’ve used since my earlier days of being online 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.
Blacksmithing is a love of mine but it is not my full-time job. Some day it may be but at the moment it’s not.
Oh, if blacksmithing is something you’re interested in, then check out my blog DIY Homestead where I write articles about forging, wood working, and various other homesteading related topics.