This weekend I had three guys in the class, Dave and Mike from New Jersey, and Chris from Philadelphia. What a fun group! Everyone did well, we all got along great, had lots of laughs and even an end of the day beer or two. Next class is December 5 and there might be an opening if you’d like to attend!
Here’s some pictures from the latest bladesmithing class at Underhill Forge. This class was a little different than the normal classes, both students had previous knife making experience, Mike’s a former student and Larry is a stock removal knife maker, so we did an advanced project. Here’s some pictures of from the class!
Starting out on your own with a new venture often means having to do things on a limited budget. It’s not easy, there’s always a lot of work to be done in making face to face contacts, social media marketing, actually making product, general maintenance and adding infrastructure necessary for day to day operations. Granted, I’ve been doing this a while, but for the past several years I’ve been under someone else’s roof. Now I’m standing here, out on my own, and while it’s not a bleak horizon I’m gazing at, it can be a little daunting and more than a little draining. Let me tell ya, a blacksmiths shop takes more than just a nibble from your wallet with equipment costs and set up, even when you have 95% of what you need. Anyway, it really makes you get clever when you think about things like marketing. Sure, I could put an add in every towns newspaper between here and NYC, but how many thousands would that cost? Facebook is great, so is Google+, I’ve been featured on Instructables, I’ve put up Craigslist ads – where do I go next? Well, I think I figured it out. I turn to you. Yes, that’s right, I’d like your help in getting the word out. One of my primary focuses is teaching – I absolutely love it, and I’ve even been told I do a good job at it, lol. I’ve got my classes listed up on Eventzilla, but let’s face it, as a booking application it’s wonderful – for marketing, it sucks. Where marketing really works for me is right where my demographic is, (that’s marketing 001 for ya), but I can’t be everywhere and there’s far too many places where my ad would work, but I’ve never visited or even heard of. So that’s where I want your help. I made a simple poster, it’d in PDF format, it can be printed out on your inkjet or laser printer in color or b&w – it doesn’t matter. All I’d like you to do is print it out, perhaps pre-cut the little tabs at the bottom, and the next time you’re at a place with a community bulletin board, hang it up. Don’t make a special trip, just print it, put it in your car and the next time you’re somewhere where you think would be a good place, drop it off. Where? Any place with a community bulletin board is good – like Home Depot, the gym, Lowes, Tractor Supply, your local gun shop, a community center, the grocery store, the laundromat, a shooting range, a fabric store, a booth at a Renaissance Faire (wink wink nudge nudge to some of my friends at PaRF and elsewhere), your table at an event, the recycling center, Kmart, Walmart.. the possibilities are endless! Just don’t put it up where it’s going to get ripped down for not being allowed! We’re in a new digital age, and while all this online stuff is great, there’s still something to be said for good old fashioned street team work. Whether you’re in the same town as me, or out in New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio or even halfway across the country, it doesn’t matter – there’s always someplace I haven’t thought of. I’ve had students from as far away as Washington state, it just proves that people are willing to travel to what they’re looking for. So please, if you can help, I’d truly appreciate it. Thanks for the support!
Sam and I had our last day of class yesterday. It was primarily a heat treating and wood working sort of day. We started out with pulling his forged blade from the vermiculite, drilled holes, cleaned, normalized, hardened and tempered. I know, sounds quick.. that whole thing took about 6.5hrs of our day, but during that time Sam did a nice set of redwood handles for his first knife from the day before. Once the tempering cycles had finished, we fitted some birdseye maple to the second blade. I think Sam did a great job on his first two knives he ever made and it was fun having him in class! I updated the gallery from yesterday with some new shots, here’s a look:
Today I ran a solo class for a new student, Sam. Great day as always and I’m proud of how everything is progressing. I’ve said many times in the past of how impressed I am by some of the students I get and Sam is no exception. I’m really looking forward to sharing his finished knives with you on Friday, but first, here’s some pictures from today: