Last night was my first blacksmithing class and it was AWESOME! The class is being taught by Jonathan Nedbor of Canal Forge who has 35 + years as a blacksmith. There are only six people in the class, including me, so the student to teacher ratio is perfect. The students range from 14 to 70 in age. Its a nice mix of personalities. Jonathan has a great shop, albeit dusty. It ends up that as you heat the metal and then it cools, it can shed a scale that turns to dust when you strike it with a hammer. Everywhere you look within the shop, there is an interesting tool or project. I'm really looking forward to figuring out what some of the odd shaped tools and machines do.
By the end of the first night, Jonathan had us squishing metal. Yes, squishing is a technical term. I made him repeat it twice. Our first project is to take two horse shoes and straighten them out. My two shoes are above. I got through 1 and 1/4 of the second. In the next class, I will continue to straighten the second shoe. Then, I will weld the two shoes together and work on making it a bar of steel. Although it feels awkward right now to handle the metal with tongs, it is incredibly satisfying to see the metal glowing red and shaping it with a hammer on an anvil. It really got my creative juices flowing. 24hrs later and I'm still high off the experience! I will continue to post on my progression and I hope, by the end of the class, to have some finished projects to share.