2009 will be my tenth year of work at Persimmon Forge. My blacksmithing hobby was initiated several years earlier and when I started getting requests for commission ironwork I committed to building a dedicated workspace.
I consider my work as artisan blacksmithing and my workspace is my metal art studio. There may be an important distinction between and art studio and a shop as the latter may be appropriately considered for light industrial zoning restriction.
Over the past couple of years the organization of the studio and the methods of my work have become mostly settled issues and a comfortable routine has been established. Now I feel I can look back and see a lot of mistakes and blind alleys that wasted time and energy. Establishing a successful business was a lot harder than I had imagined and in the event that it may benefit others I am making an addition to my web site which will publish some of my experience.
The section is titled “FAB - For Artisan Blacksmiths.” I will post short articles, as time permits, beginning with a tour of my workspace layout and how individual workstations are organized. A businesslike approach from the beginning will be my method of presentation as few can afford just an expensive hobby.
After the establishing a business series will come articles on using the major tools; hammer and anvil, coal and gas forges, oxyacetylene torch, power hammers, tumbler, flypress, plasma cutter, benders, dies, etc.
After those I will post a series of short shop tips and later on a series on the design and layout process.
This information is offered simply as a report of my experience not as recommendations. The information may be useful to beginners and those with intermediate skills that may be trying to start an art blacksmithing business. There are many other artisans with more years of experience and more formal training who may be able to recommend a better way.
I make no claim to originality. Some years ago I heard Francis Whitaker say, “If you think you have thought up something new in blacksmithing, you probably haven’t. There is nothing new under the sun.”
The one recommendation I will make is, whatever you’re doing, think safety first.
Wear Safety Glasses! Wear Hearing Protection!