Hank Rearden
Ok. Here goes a thought experiment. Full disclosure: This is a little research I'm doing and thank you in advance.

Why do you blacksmith?

The question seems simple at face value. But I'm not looking for the simple answer. So if you are inclined to answer the question it should require deeper thought. Subconsciously is the level that the answer is I'm looking for.  What need is fulfilled? What conditions exist when you're driven to the forge to work? etc

I think I know what the common answer is. You can also PM me if you prefer to keep it private. 
code[Maglio.gif]  Keep the fires burning hot!
2020 ABANA Conference in Sarasota New York. June 3rd. through June 6th. Plan now!
Quote 0 0


Scrambler82
I did it before, liked it, wanted to do it again, so I am !
Do It Right The First Time !
GrevB
Location: SoCal, USA
Quote 0 0
anvil
Pretty deep.  At the very least, there are far easier ways to make far more.  😉  So that eliminates money.
Quote 0 0
jmccustomknives
I've been in the welding industry since 1994.  I welded my first bead in the 7th grade.  Steel, it seems, is in my blood.  But until about 12 years ago I had no interest in smithing.  Then one day while working with some steel angle iron I discovered it was in fact heat treated steel.  Well, let's make this stuff into a knife.  That lead to grinding knives which lead to the need to build a forge.  That lead to needing an anvil.  And like a seed planted in the garden, fueled by fire and a passion to see how far I could get, the hammering continues today.  

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

Quote 0 0
Mike Westbrook
Because the wife hates sulfer and loud noises ! But in all seriousness iron work goes back generations in my family either the railroad mining scraping or an actual shop one grandfather had a small blacksmith shop and we went to rendezvous the other a heavy equipment / weld shop my dad had a heavy truck / welding shop me and all my brothers do some level of weld and repair from a service truck I guess it's upholding tradition to work with metal at this point we all learned real early but the main reason is I can drown out the world and worries when I'm forging out a shape the hammer and anvil satisfy a need to slow down collect my thoughts and just let the peice come to life it's a much simpler pace than life these days it's my therapy I catch myself getting irritable if I haven't gone down to the shop and weld or forge something for myself in a few days just like an alcoholic gets it's that bad !
Facebook (South mountain metal works)
Quote 1 0
Art's Anvil
I like to be creative, but I like to make thi gas that are useful. I need to be active even in my creativity. Blacksmithing allows me to be active while I can be creative at the same time. 
Quote 0 0
Hank Rearden
I'm not sure if I'll get it done. I want to make a storyline video to promote blacksmithing. It will take while to complete. I think you'll like it if I can create the ideas and messaging. I'll post it here first to get everyone's feedback on it. Thanks again and ask your fellow smiths to reply.
code[Maglio.gif]  Keep the fires burning hot!
2020 ABANA Conference in Sarasota New York. June 3rd. through June 6th. Plan now!
Quote 0 0
Vince N
Blacksmithing allows me to tune out everything that is going on, get in a zone, be in the moment and create. It is when I am happiest (other than being with the grandbabies).  
Quote 0 0
Marc
May be not the deep existencial reply you expect but I started blacksmithing at age 15 because it was a job and i needed some pocket money. There was no "Forged in fire" back then, blacksmithing was just metalwork, nothing else.
i worked in the workshop that supplied my father's antique shop with bed heads, lamps grills and anything else decorative ironwork. I remember we used to go to the local cinema when they screened a movie we knew had something of interest ... I think "La Dolce Vita" had a few nice wrought iron beds ... and we asked the projectionist for a picture he would cut off the reel. 
Working with iron grew on me and now I just do some work for myself for fun. It has been a long run. I remember we would buy wrought iron from the steel supply, good anvils, hammers and tongs were sold at the local hardware and coal or coke was as common as nails. 
Yes, sure ... there is the artistic factor, the satisfaction of making something with your hands, I get that in many other ways too. To me blacksmithing is just metalwork only done the caveman way. i sort of like it, but can not claim inspiration by the gods or having the muse whispering in my ear ... i just enjoy bashing the hot iron and see what comes of it. If I don't like it I can always jump in the boat and go out for a quiet time. 😁 
Much that passes as idealism, is disguised hatred or disguised love of power. Bertrand Russell
 
Quote 0 0
Hank Rearden
I want to thank all of you for responding to this post. I posted this question else where and have got very similar answers.  
code[Maglio.gif]  Keep the fires burning hot!
2020 ABANA Conference in Sarasota New York. June 3rd. through June 6th. Plan now!
Quote 0 0
CaptCorpMURICA
I am a data engineer by trade, so my entire career is focused around being on a computer. In order to reset my batteries, I escape to non-technological activities. This has included camping, hunting, and fishing, but I can't do that year round. I originally started by learning woodworking; however, I became fascinated with blacksmithing while researching ancient civilizations. Last year, I pulled the trigger and found a local blacksmith that ran beginner classes. Through years of woodworking practice, I quickly picked up the hammer control required for this craft. Shortly after finishing the class, I purchased an anvil an built a forge. While it's still just a hobby for me, I'm continuing to push my limits and learn new techniques to eventually turn it into a profitable business. I don't expect to make enough to quit my current job, but I want to make enough to cover the costs of all of the steel I keep buying.
Quote 0 0
pnut
I was in a slump. I was having physical problems with my back, suffering from depression due to among other things a traumatic brain injury I received while being robbed. Between that the PTSD from the robbery the medication the doctors had me on and my mother suddenly passing away I withdrew from the world,and turned into a hermit only leaving the house when absolutely necessary. Blacksmithing has been a way to re-engage with the world and recover some of who I used to be. Blacksmithing was only one facet in my path back to the world but it is the most enjoyable. Between working and smithing my back has recovered substantially, I no longer use a cane and it has done wonders for my mental state. My physical therapist is amazed by how far I've come and much of it is due to the physicality of blacksmithing , but the greatest benefits have been in my state of mind. I think it would benefit many people with PTSD.  It truly is good therapy.
Thanks for listening to me ramble. 

Pnut (Mike)

Quote 0 0
Metalmelt
I've read about it for 20 years or more and finally got close enough to a forge where I could get some good training and met some great guys and gals. Anyone near Chattanooga TN, look up Choo Choo Forge. Now I'm back in Ohio and there doesn't seem to be any groups near me but I'm finding some friends and maybe we can get together and set something up. 
I guess the real reason I like it is because I seem to like anything hot. Welding, Metal Casting, forging, glass work, and all general pyromania. A lot of my jobs have been in Heat. Plastic Injection Molding, Glass factory, Welding, and then 17 years in a Steel Mill.
Quote 0 0
Hank Rearden
I've asked the question "why do you blacksmith" on several different platforms. The most common response was, (To paraphrase.)

It's good for my mind.

 All of the answers varied. Everything from people struggling with addiction to personal loss to PTSD to stress anxiety and depression. They blacksmith for relief.

Recently I started back into blacksmithing again with a desire to make something for a street rod. I blacksmithed in high school. For me it was easy and satisfying.  About 4 months after picking it back up my wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor. 

  So after the diagnosis I noticed when I picked up the hammer and lit the forge, all the stresses and worries went away. I ask myself why was this so.  After much contemplation I concluded the answer was best explained as self preservation. Because of hot iron and fire and sharp objects the task at hand requires requires us to focus. Another words we have to live in the moment while we're doing the blacksmithing.
  
In today's busy world where you are worried about something in the past or in the future.  It is easy to be out of the present moment continuously. We can not change the past and the future this yet to be determined. 

They say the past brings depression. Worrying about the future brings about anxiety. I suppose that is true.

So at this point in my life when I have an opportunity to go to the forge it really is good medicine. It s a healthy way to set straight your troubles. 
code[Maglio.gif]  Keep the fires burning hot!
2020 ABANA Conference in Sarasota New York. June 3rd. through June 6th. Plan now!
Quote 0 0
pnut
At the forge you have to be in the"now" woolgathering could cost you an eye,or a nasty burn so the past and future disappear and now is all there is.
Pnut (Mike)
Quote 1 0
Marc
The many years I worked in different forges, with different smith, I found that they all had a common treat. They were all approachable, friendly and eager to show me how they did it. Must say that none of the blacksmith I worked with had any interest in making knifes. We made decorative and architectural stuff. 

In the last decade or so, I started again to work at the forge, this time just to make stuff for myself. It is a bit lonely at times, since I am used to work in a busy shop. But it is a nice trade that allows me to make stuff most people are unable to make. A neighbour drops in as soon as he hears the anvil and asks questions and entertains me to a point.  His questions range between "Why don't you just weld it" when I am riveting something, or "How long did it take you to dream that one up", trying to figure out a decorative gate lock. 

So I thought a blacksmith forum would compensate for the lonely work and get to talk about what we do and how we do it. 
But it does not work like that. Tried a once popular forum and found arrogance and pretenses coming down from marble towers, from people who never post one picture of anything they have ever done. 
This forum is much better in the selection of members and their attitudes. Just wish there where more people posting. I guess you can't have everything.

I consider blacksmithing a very satisfying trade, just a version of metalwork the old fashion way. To me it is the challenge that makes me do it, not different from when I take up impossible jobs like building a ramp over water or extending a veranda over a cliff. Pushes me out of my comfort zone, and as long as I can do it and body agrees, the fire will be on. 
Marc

Much that passes as idealism, is disguised hatred or disguised love of power. Bertrand Russell
 
Quote 0 0
anvil
Its hard to keep a good man down, Marc.  ;  We have much in common.  

I thought I had responded to this with more than my one liner above. So here goes.

This is a deep question, and one Ive thought about forever. I started shoeing horses when I was 17.  I had the full intent of "becoming a Blacksmith". I had no idea what that meant. The idea of a blacksmith had been apart of me for a long time before, but with no idea what it meant. All i ever saw then, as now, was someone standing between a hammer and an anvil, beating hot iron,,, a traditional smith. I had 2-1/2 years in engineering and then made my first conscious act to follow this nebulous idea. The first step was in the military and NAM. Then 2 or so years welding. First as a welders helper building a dairy, then building and installing railings "in the trades". I then went full time shoeing. I did this to someday become a traditional smith. Little did I know this was the beginning of my self-imposed apprenticeship into our craft. Self employed and working iron between a hammer and an anvil. A little hot, mostly cold iron. About '80, I began my self-imposed journeyman ship. I quit taking new customers as a farrier, and refused any type of fab work. I went to a fine school, and went to as many workshops and demo's as possible. Here I selected smiths that I wanted to learn from and let them know i was available on a single job basis. My pay? Room and board, Feed me and give me a place to stay, and work me to the bone. This was focused around the Aspen, Vail, Santa Fe and Taos area and took me across the pond to work European style. I worked with some fine smiths! And worked on projects to die for. Around '88, encouraged by these same folks, I focused on my own work. 

So what does all this mean, behind all the smoke and flame? These folks saw something within me and took a chance. They passed onto me far more than the techniques of the Traditional Smith. They developed within me a sense of morality, integrity, aesthetics, philosophy, concepts of design, and, most important fed well my passion for hot iron. One and all, they showed me that to be a Traditional Smith at the millennium, carrying forth all that makes up a Traditional Smith was a true mark of the continuity of Blacksmithing. And a moment to be proud of. This learning has carried me into the absolutely best of times, created a peer group to die for, traditions worth carrying forth, and carried me thru the worst of times. Im 72 and building my next shop, anxiously awaiting its "First Fire", and all that beating hot iron will bring me next!

Hank, I dont know how better to say it.  
Quote 0 0