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Thread: Becoming an apprentice?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Key West, Florida
    Posts
    21

    Becoming an apprentice?

    Edit: I seem to have accidentally posted this thread in the wrong section of the forum, if anyone would be kind enough to move it to the proper place, that would be very nice.

    Hello everyone of Sword Forum International,

    I have had a very strong desire for the past 5 years to become a Swordsmith, during that time I've talked to many blacksmiths and have come to understand that pursuing such a passion will require a lot of time, effort, and won't be very financially rewarding at all. Despite this, I feel compelled to become a blacksmith, and would some day eventually like to craft swords when I have accumulated enough skill. I do not know why I love them so much, but a finely crafted blade seems like the most beautiful thing in the world to me, I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels this way.

    In conversation with some blacksmiths, I talked to them about what would be expected of me if I wanted to become an apprentice, and I have concluded that it mostly comes down to dedication and loyalty. I feel very ready exercise these qualities and would like to know if anyone here would be able to help point me in the direction of a smith that I could apprentice under?

    Thank you for your time.
    Last edited by Bart Bartley; 11-03-2011 at 04:56 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Western WA
    Posts
    6,621
    Bart,
    Your best bet would be to find a local within your area.
    It will depend on how much travel time you want to put in.
    Or if you would be willing to move to another location.
    Look at these listings and check them out.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=blad...rlz=1I7ADRA_en
    "Do not suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any pretences of politeness, delicacy or decency.
    These, as they are often used, are but three names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice.” John Adams, 1789

    "Everything the enemy least expects will succeed the best."

    Frederick the Great 1747

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Key West, Florida
    Posts
    21
    Thank you Arik,

    Where I live in Florida is rather out of the way of anywhere else, as I do not live on the mainland. So moving would be necessary for me. However, I have barely anything to my name and would basically just be homeless.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Western WA
    Posts
    6,621
    Hi Bart,
    There are many books that have lots of info.
    There are places online that have tutorials.
    Check out Youtube for bladesmithing videos.
    Granted, you may learn more from a actual Smith
    then from a book or video, but, its doable.
    "Do not suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any pretences of politeness, delicacy or decency.
    These, as they are often used, are but three names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice.” John Adams, 1789

    "Everything the enemy least expects will succeed the best."

    Frederick the Great 1747

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    central New Mexico
    Posts
    3,250
    Bart; you will be costing the "master" thousands of dollars in lost productivity. What are you offering to offset that? I strongly suggest you gain a bunch of skills before asking to apprentice: welding, machining, jewelry making, drawing (Fine Art and Drafting!)---all things often taught at local community colleges that have direct application to working in a shop. If you have to move to find such a college; perhaps you could move near the American Bladesmiths Society school in Texarkana AR. Finding a job and then taking classes at both places will get you well started on your road.

    Also what are you doing for health insurance? Shops have inherent dangers and most small shops will not have an employee insurance package. Over at anvilfire there is a section on apprenticeship that I would suggest you read (navigate anvilfire, 21st Century, apprenticeships).

    If you talk to bladesmiths many if not most have had a quite convoluted path to get where they are today. I advise my students who want to go that route to become skilled in some other job that will provide insurance and enough extra money that they can start acquiring their capital tools (powerhammers, computerized Heat Treat furnaces, top of the line belt grinders...etc) Your start up will be much easier if lack of equipment doesn't hold you back.

    Finally, all this I write is from experience. I was an apprentice to a swordmaker, 6 days a week in the shop, no pay but 2 meals a day with the "family", anything I made on spec was priced by the "master" and the shop's cut taken off the top when it sold. It was a grand experience and used up all my savings from working in the oilpatch and after a year I had to quit as I was holding my Master back and I was getting married and needed to support a family.
    Thomas Powers
    CoFounder of the Intergalactic Union of Bladesmiths
    "when you forge upon a star"---you better have your union card handy!

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