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Forged a Guide to Becoming a Blacksmith


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In the summer of 2008 I was 13 years old, anxiously waiting to become an eighth grader and bored out of my mind one evening in the mountains of Appalachia. Without permission from my dad (I quickly learned that acting first and asking for forgiveness later has it's benefits) I found a piece of aluminum suitable for smashing. A small stick fire was built and the aluminum started taking shape with the help of an old framing hammer. I soon discovered the wonder in flattening and shaping metal that would forever change the direction of my future. A few hours later, this time with the help of my father, we dug out a massive pit in the ground to build a larger wood fire in which I used to heat up my first piece of glowing red steel. I learned quickly how to use tongs.... I had already caught the bug, so we gathered and scrounged for the essential tools from around the house to start forging immediately. When I get a new idea or itch to do something, I have a tendency to do it right away, even if it means I don't have the optimum set up. These keystone tools that went to build my future career would be the anvil, tongs, and hammer. The anvil used was an old ball hitch, hardly your best case scenario, but this weighed around 10 pounds and had a solid enough surface to hammer steel on. The tongs were vise grips reluctantly surrendered from my father's tool box, and the hammer was an old claw framing hammer. Doesn't sound too luxurious does it? Well I thought it was! All of this was expeditiously gathered and underway in one evening, without leaving the house. In the same day I went from becoming a bored 13 year-old to a fascinated up and coming blacksmith. All of this evolved into the current business and passion I have today. At the age of 19 I was fortunate enough to purchase a beautiful 10 acre plot of land outside of Boone, NC for the future site of Hoffman Blacksmithing to be constructed in spring of 2018. I've been able to teach private lessons to students from as far away as Australia, and create a career I wouldn't have dreamed of when I started. Today, in the year 2017, I specialize in hand forged axes with the help of my team. Currently I'm 21 years old and excited to have bigger and better plans for the years to come, growing and transforming my craft and business.

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