Skarzs the Cave Troll
  So, I've talked to a couple people about this before, but not on here.
  The point of this is: What is the direction your shop is going? To put it in other words, what do you mainly focus on?

  Now, I know smiths who only do knives, and see no point in architectural or artistic metalworking. On the other side of the coin, I've talked to blacksmiths who say that bladesmithing is the ruination of a metalworker. These are two extremes, of course, but they're still very much real scenarios. 
  JMC's knives are great looking, functional, and he does what he's good at. That's great.
  Yesteryar's pieces of art are inspirational and pretty. That's great too.
  Personally, I would like to take a middle ground on the subject. I see that bladesmithing is a good thing to know because it can help with certain hammer techniques, practicing proper heat treatment (which can be used on more than just knives), and as a young guy, I just like knives. The artistic part is something that I have been trying to get into because it not only brings in more customers, but it helps with my creativity and other skills as well. Most everyone who is starting blacksmithing does knives. There are few who do only artistic things.
  If I do both, I feel that I will benefit the most from it. What were blacksmiths decades ago? Jacks of all corners of the trade. Wagon wheels, repairing farm equipment, tools, knives, etc. Of course there were specialists in certain topics, but the most useful blacksmith, I think, would be one you could go to not only for a good axe or hunting knife, but also for a candle holder or pair of scissors.
Cave of Skarzs
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Anthony San Miguel
I enjoy making tools and knives. I have almost no interest in personally forging artistic type blacksmithing items, although I do recognize and appreciate the talent when I see it.
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jmccustomknives
I get what your saying, believe it or not if a scale was made, art =1 and just knives =10 I'd fall somewhere in the 6.5 on that scale.  Personally I like to do the art just to hone new skills and try new methods.  They might make their way into the knife making, or might not.  It's good to be well rounded.

Rule #10;  "I can make that" translates to; "I'm to cheap to buy it new."

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Hank Rearden
Currently I don't have a preference. I'm still building those skills. That said I'm leaning toward doing more of the utilitarian artistic stuff, something like fire pokers, bottle openers, specialty tools and unique door knockers, things like that with some sort of artistic Flair. I'm a long way off in my ability I an better than a was a year ago. I do want to give my hand at Damascus and knife making. I do really appreciate a good looking knife, I plan on doing everything where I'm going to go with it who knows.
code[Maglio.gif]  Keep the fires burning hot!
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NorrinRadd
Interesting topic.

I like all the different disciplines of blacksmithing. Even the horseshoeing is interesting to me. I don't think I would want to do it, but I respect the folks that know how.

 I started out with the intentions of making weapons, fantasy/medieval type stuff. I realized that I needed a basic foundation and got into the tool making, partly out of necessity too. I really like making small artsy items like the bottle openers and Split Crosses too. I have some small furniture designs that I would like to tackle as well.

As far as my current direction:

 Short term- I think I may focus on getting good at forging these small full tang knives that I have been tinkering with and some other small gift items, novelty and utilitarian, with the intentions of trying to make this a self sustaining hobby.

Long term- I'd still like to make quality medieval weapons and furniture or architectural items.

But this is a marathon so I just have to keep plugging away until I get my skills to where I want to be.
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confederatemule
My thoughts on the subject are : 

1] Someone has to make "good" knives. 

2] I guess some people want artistry type stuff. 

3] Me ... I am only interested in the thangs that are necessary to maintain a family homestead, farm, or household.

I thank every piece of work done by a Blacksmith is "art", whether it be shoeing a horse (with even a store bought shoe) to making a towel hanger/peg to hang over the wash stand. All Blacksmiths are artists regardless of their skill level.

Just my opinion.

Mule
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Yesteryear Forge
The direction of my shop is any direction that I choose.
By hammer and hand all trades stand.
Carpenters / housewives / goldsmiths / tinsmiths / silversmiths / gunsmiths / farmers  / farriers / and the list is almost endless required a blacksmith to make their products / tooling.
A carpenter couldn't make his hammer or saw or nails
a housewife couldn't make her skillet ,pot ,spatula , knife fork and spoons etc.
I enjoy making everyday products with or without some sort of embellishment as an added decorative element.
I can make hooks all day long and the average husband will walk right on by and never notice.
I can figure out how to add a heart shape to it or on it and his wife will not only stop but is more likely to buy it . I get the husbands money anyway.
I have made lots of knives in the past too but I felt limited in the styles and functions that I could offer.
Most smiths are looking for the thing that makes them stand out and be special.
I look for the mundane everyday things than can be and probably will get used.
Sometimes in todays fast paced and exciting world ( ORDINARY ) stands out , with a little artistic embellishment of course.
Give out before you give up - if it was easy anybody could do it
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Skarzs the Cave Troll
Thanks for the replies, guys. It's interesting to see other people's perspectives.
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Metalmelt
Most decent smiths have an amazing skill set. They just seem to know exactly how hot, how hard, and at what angle to make the metal go where they want it to. I still have to argue with the metal some, but I'm winning... Getting better anyway. I've made some plant hangers, fireplace tools, steak turners and a few tools. I did make a functional chuck key for my lathe. I picked it up at an auction and it didn't have a key.
I think I said before, my main hobby is metal casting and I really got into forging to make bases, hangers or whatever for some of my artsy fartsy metal castings. I've had to pack most of my stuff away for now, we are trying to sell our house and move so I can't get into any big projects right now. I haven't tried a forged knife and haven't wanted to get into that side of things. Not until someone on another site said I was too dumb to make a knife.[rolleyes] I have a piece of Wootz that a fellow sent me from Europe somewhere. I sent him some parts for his PPE and he sent me this little bar. I'm supposed to make a Pukko out of it. Spelling??
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Skarzs the Cave Troll
Might want to do a practice knife before making a pukko knife, especially if you've never done a knife before.


That is something I have been interested in: Metal casting. That and metallurgy. I want to make my own bronze from copper and tin, perhaps some aluminum brass too. Well, one area of metalworking seems to open doors to another.
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Norseman C.B.
Metalmelt wrote:
Most decent smiths have an amazing skill set. They just seem to know exactly how hot, how hard, and at what angle to make the metal go where they want it to. I still have to argue with the metal some, but I'm winning... Getting better anyway. I've made some plant hangers, fireplace tools, steak turners and a few tools. I did make a functional chuck key for my lathe. I picked it up at an auction and it didn't have a key.
I think I said before, my main hobby is metal casting and I really got into forging to make bases, hangers or whatever for some of my artsy fartsy metal castings. I've had to pack most of my stuff away for now, we are trying to sell our house and move so I can't get into any big projects right now. I haven't tried a forged knife and haven't wanted to get into that side of things. Not until someone on another site said I was too dumb to make a knife.[rolleyes] I have a piece of Wootz that a fellow sent me from Europe somewhere. I sent him some parts for his PPE and he sent me this little bar. I'm supposed to make a Pukko out of it. Spelling??


Spelling is correct ...[cool]
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Metalmelt
I guess in Finland they spell it Puukko. I looks like a fairly simple knife, kind of like a paring knife with a thicker blade. Being a small blade may make it harder to form. I'm more worried about messing up the Wootz, I guess it has a narrow range for forging.
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