Sunday, 2 December 2012

Finally in the workshop

After nearly four months of waiting today we finally got the Power hammer down to Bristol and in to my workshop. It was an early start today as we drove up to Didbrook with a large van to pick it all up. It was quite an experience but luckily we had alot of hands to help out, both friends and family. 

Dan the blacksmith helped us take it apart piece by piece so we'd remember how to but it back together again. Some areas I filmed on my phone as I was bound to forget (To much remember). After spending an hour taking apart and getting to all it to van we drove all the way back to Bristol and to my workshop where we had more hands waiting to help get it all off the van.

Now it's all in workshop I have the next step of trying to put it all back together and getting it to live again but that is for another day, we were all quite tired after hulling it on and off the van. I would like thank Dan for being so patience for waiting for us to pick it up from his workshop. Also thanking Darren and his dad, Chris, Simon and everyone else who lent a hand in moving the hammer. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Good news about my roof

I'm finally gong to get my workshop roof fixed this weekend and its only going to cost me half of what I was quoted. After coming to an agreement with my landlord its all go now and I'm very happy now as we can move forward to setting up the rest of the workshop !..!,

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Guitar Hooks done!!

I've finally cut brushed and lacquered them and now they are fully finished and now sat in a Heron music store. They have agreed to have a poster of my other work and details so that others can contact me and have their own personalized gear. I'm very pleased with the final outcome and they look amazing with a guitar on them, I think they speak for themselves !..!,

Friday, 9 November 2012

An anvil at last!!!

Today is the day My anvil arrived at my workshop, now that I have one I feel more like a blacksmith. As you can see from the photos its a big one too. I'm going to be working even harder over the weekend to try and get as much up and running as possible. I'm now one step closer to being fully set up !..!,

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Well it's been a productive day

It's been a long and productive day for me and I've ticked a lot off my list. After spending the whole morning on the phone to a lot of different people trying to get myself in better position to set up my workshop quicker. After lunch I visited my local reclamation yard to see if they had a materials I could use to make a work bench but instead I found one of the most important pieces of equipment that I was missing an Anvil!!! So now I'm having the anvil delivered to my workshop Friday morning, I'm very happy because its been very rare to come across an anvil in Bristol almost as rare as Blacksmiths in Bristol hahaha!!!

I had asked help from Fred Brodnax A blacksmith who had helped me before when my Microphone stand to give me a hand tweaking my guitar hooks with his gas torch. It only took around half an hour to fully tweak both the hooks so that they both sit nice and flat and now they look a lot better.

The only thing left to do now is clean them up with a cut brush, apply the lacquer finish and heat shrink the rubber on to the hooks which I will start tomorrow. I hope to deliver them to their new owner in the next couple of day and see a beautiful guitar framed on it !..!,   


Problems and solutions

Now that I have most of my equipment in my workshop I've been looking in to having new electrics sorted so I can have news lights installed and power all around the workshop. However I noticed a huge damp at the back of workshop coming from the roof, after speaking with my landlord he said he knew of the problem and said I could have ago at fixing it so I had a roofer over to have a look and the problem is much worse then I could have imagined! I have a swimming pool on my roof with no drainage so the weight of it is slowly taking the roof with it and will need a whole new roof costing £1.500!!!!! So today I'm going to confront my Landlord with this problem and hope we can come to a fair solution that doesn't involve me paying for the whole new roof.

I also have the chance of earning some money straight away on a couple of jobs one of which is a forging related job the other is mainly fabrication but could bring in £3.000 which would pay rent for over two year alone. I've got to start somewhere and doing some fabrication work every now and again will bring in some money and keep my workshop up and running. Fingers crossed I get the job !..!,     

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Move in day and catch up

I know I've not updated my Blog for about a week and I apologize for that but I've had what would be called a bad week to most people but we'll move away from that and focus on the good stuff that's happened this week. First of all the third and final day I was in mid Wales went very well, me and nick managed to complete two and a half out of the three hooks that I had planned, which I was very pleased with. the two which I completed do need some extra tweaking with a gas torch. So when I got back to Bristol I got back in contact with Fred Brodnax a blacksmith who had helped me before when my microphone stand needed an extra rivet and some TLC. I took my portfolio with me to show him as well as one of the hooks I made, Fred really liked my portfolio and thought my forging skills were very good and was willing to offer his help with finishing the last of the two guitar hooks. So I look forward to hopefully getting these hooks ready to be cleaned and have the heat shrink rubber applied to them so they can go to their new owners.     

Now today was my move in day to my new workshop and we had a field day picking up all my equipment  from different locations in to a van which I hired to my workshop. As you can see from the photos it may not look like much at the moment but give me a month and I hope to have a workshop fit for any blacksmith. There's a lot of work to do to get this all up and running and its not going to be easy but I've come this far so lets finish this !..!,  

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Day two of my Mid Wales adventure

Well its been a long day and its all looking very positive which shows we've worked really hard. We got in to the workshop for 9.30 and within minutes had a fire going, I will admit I was hoping to have one of the hooks fully completed by the end of today but it is ready for construction which was a positive end to the day. We focused on getting the rest of the pieces in to kit form, to which we came very close and this means that tomorrow will consist of mainly drilling and riveting. Towards the end of the day it really started to show that we had brunt ourselves out, working all day and with very limited break times, we were very exhausted afterwards. All in all we got alot done and tomorrow being crunch time keep your fingers crossed, we should get this all done by the end of tomorrow.  !..!,    


I've just seen that this blog has reached 1500 views and just wanted to thank everyone for support on this blog over the past eight months. Its been a bumpy couple of months as I've haven't been that active but things are looking up and I hope to have lots to update you all in the future... !..!,

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Day 1 of my second mid Wales adventure

Well its day one of being back in the forge after nearly two months and I'm a little out of touch with my forging but even with this little set back today has been a very productive day. We only managed to get in to the workshop for five hours after travelling around picking up steel, tools and fuel but in those five hours we made some real progress.

This is Nick's new workshop with more space and he has some new toys too! With a much bigger forge it can easily have two people working comfortably from the same fire and thanks to Matthew another fellow Blacksmith graduate Nick has a vast section of tongs and hammers to play. One of his toys hasn't changed and I was very happy to see which of course was his blacker, which will make all the forging so much easier and quicker.

We managed to to forge out and bend 1/3 of the components and should have one fully made by tomorrow lunch time and the rest of all the components forged out and partly bent by the end of the day. Its really great to see the pieces of my design coming to together and by tomorrow to have one finished is going to be great. I hope to have more pictures of what we've been forging for when I update you all tomorrow.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Back in mid Wales for another forging adventure

Its been almost two months in the waiting but I'm finally back in mid Wales to forge these guitar hooks that I designed. I now have three days to complete this task but with the help of Nick I'm sure we can get this done, I've been looking forward to this for ages now and can't believe it finally time. I will be posting all the details and hopefully some pictures of the hooks in progress as each day goes by, so please look out for my future posts.

I also have some great news its taken a month and a half of negotiating I have finally put a deposit down on a workshop space Yay!!!!! So when I get back there's alot of work that needs doing and alot of things that need moving like the power hammer and flypress which will take some extra work but it'll fun to see how it goes.  

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Little finds... so fun

Every Sunday I like to keep an old British tradition and go car booting. It way seem silly to some but I really enjoy travelling out of Bristol to car boot, this Sunday was different as to make a change I found myself at a flea market in Ashton court which I have to say was really fun looking at old antiques and collectables. There was a huge range of jewellery but the one area that really took my fancy was of course the vinyl's where I picked up some amazing one to add to my collection. (Jimi Hendrix, Motorhead and Queen) I was very happy with my purchase there.

But this is what really caught my eye and what I wanted to show everyone, I'm a little upset I didn't buy it but it would have been for a novelty than practicability but this little mini anvil with vice I thought was amazing. I think this would have been used by a jeweller due to the size been very small. I really wanted it but I resisted spending all my money as there were also many other things that could have drained a hole in my pocket.


Sunday, 30 September 2012

A update well needed

First I'd like to say sorry for that lack of posts I've done and I felt its time to update everyone on the past couple of weeks.

First off my new power hammer is awesome!!! I went up to Didbrook to see it working and also to see how I'd get it back to Bristol. It will have to be dismantled in to three pieces so it can be brought back, which brings me to the second update. I'm still in the process of negotiating for a workshop space but I hope to have it all settled in the next week or so. Until I have a workshop space the power hammer will have to remain in Didbrook.

Another bit of news, I had to move all my stuff out of storage as it became to expensive so I found another place to store all my equipment until I had a workshop. The one catch was moving it all which wasn't much of a problem until it came to the fly press, last time I transported it, it took four people to get it in to the back of a car. So transporting it wasn't going to be easy, without the help we couldn't get the fly press could go in the car so I came up with the idea of using a sack truck to transport it around I have to admit it was alot easier said than done (I forgot how heavy it is) but long story short I ended up sack trucking it from the storage to my house which could have been the death of me.

I know its not alot of news but I have been working hard to get myself set up and its been alot slower than expected. I hope to be posting on my blog more often now.

Thanks for your patients  !..!,

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A Jump in to the deep end with a big purchase.

Well I can say that the past week has been very interesting and I have lots to talk about. First I will start by saying that my trip out looking for a future workshop was quite positive after talking to the owner of a large area of unit buildings he was confident that he could find me a space by the end of the week for a good price. So I hope to have that sorted out very soon because I will need it after my latest purchase. I've just spent £1,250 on this helve power hammer which I found on ebay, its somewhere in the middle of Gloucestershire. To me this is a very important purchase and is also the most I've ever spent on ebay haha!

Over the next couple of weeks I will be planing to go up and have a go on my new hammer before it is dismantled and ready to be taken back to Bristol to which I hope to have a workshop for it to be set up in, which is going to be the hard part but I'm so excited at the moment this was a huge step to take as well as a huge investment. This is it, be a Blacksmith or fail trying, do or die time. 

This wasn't my only purchase of the week I like to poke my head around all the local car boot sales as you never know what you'll find and I managed to find a little gem, a bouncy castle fan. I've been looking for a fan to blast air into my forge and I was told that these are a great for starting out with. Yes I will need to adapt a way of connecting the two together as well as adding a way of controlling the power of the blast of air but this can be done very easily. I will be sorting all that out when I have a workshop space.   

Other purchase I made was this amazing looking bench pillar drill, Its a very old vintage drill which has had some modern touches made to it over the years I was told that it was over 70 years. I picked it up from Bargoed, Caerphilly which is west of Newport on top a very tall valley. One of the additions that I really like is the grind stone attachment for sharpening the drill bits, its fantastic and works beautifully!  

There are still a few more pieces of equipment that I need to get hold of and the most important on that list is an anvil once I have this and a workshop to work in I'll have all the basics to get me started.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Fingers Crossed!!!

On Sunday I will be looking at some possible workshop spaces right here in Bristol and not to far form my house which is very lucky but I'm not celebrating just yet as I still don't know what size they are and what the rent will be. All in all though I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one of these could be my future workshop, so I'll hopefully be posting some good news next time so please keep your fingers crossed for me.
Thank !..!,   

Monday, 20 August 2012

Guitar Hook design 1

I spent the day working on a design for a smaller guitar hook which I knew was going to be a challenge from the word go but I already had a few ideas on where to start. After a long day I had not only a maquette but a full scale drawing of the design too. Its feels so good to be getting back into the design element and knowing that soon I'm going to be back in the forge making this into a product for someone. I'm also really pleased with the design, its 13x13 inches and I think it will frame really well on a wall.
Hope you all like it, comments would be great. !..!,

the full scale drawing

additional scale drawing 

third scale maquette

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Hard work paying off

Its been a busy couple of weeks for me, contacting people and getting out there to try to find a workshop space and outlets to sell my work and now its finally starting to pay off. I may have found some places that will exhibit some of my guitar hooks but best of all I have my first order!!!

A music shop I know very well has asked for a small designed guitar hook to have in the store with a few pictures of the my other works to have around it to help boost interest in what I do. It may not be much but its a small step forward, so I'm going to spend the next day or two getting a great design down with a Maquette and full scale drawing, so hopefully I'll be able to get back to mid Wales very soon to get forging again. !..!,  

Monday, 13 August 2012

Society Of Designer Craftsmen

Today I received a letter congratulating me as I have been accepted as a member of the society of craftsmen and my details will be added to the societies website, this will all provide great opportunities for me in the future. !..!, 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Last Day in Buchan's Workshop.

Well I've been here in mid Wales for about a week and now sadly it has come to an end because we finally finished all Five vessels. After and elven hour push yesterday, finishing all the drilling and riveting them all together and seven hours today tweaking everything, its a huge relief now its all done in time. Although tweaking can seem like it will never end, you know its the final step and by the time we finished cut brushing the last vessel both myself and Nick were to tired to celebrate. I feel that I have learnt a lot about using time efficiently and planing a course of action while doing this job plus its been great to team up with Nick. I hope to return to Mid Wales very soon and continue to work with Nick in his workshop creating some of the designs I have for a new guitar hook and guitar stand. Until then I will return to Bristol and continue to look for my own workshop space. !..!,  

Two of the final vessels.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Day Five in Buchan's Workshop.

Today we both felt pretty confident with what we had left to do and reckoned that we could get it all finish today with one last big push. With all the pieces forged we spent the morning forming all components on a jig that Nick had made in collage and by lunch time everything was looking very positive .  

Second half of the day didn't quite go as planned (putting it lightly) we got back to work knowing that all we had to do was drill all the components cut the rivets and put them all together. To drill all the holes we had to use this awesome looking pillar drill, naked as it was it was simple yet effective and I love using old simple technology that could last a life but I spoke to soon as after we drilled two holes we blew out the motor which will now have to be replaced. We were both gutted and down hearted but we weren't going to be beat at this last hurdle so as I cut the rivet to size and Nick marking all the holes, we grabbed two hand drills and got drilling again but by the end of the day we only had ten holes to show. I'll admit I'm still a little down after we got so close to finishing but we still have two days to complete it all which is more than enough time to get it done, so it'll be all about tomorrow, hand drilling and riveting.
Lets do this... !..!,     

the awesome pillar drill but now burnt out.


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Day Four in Buchan's Workshop.

Well its my forth day forging in Nick's workshop and the pressure is easing each day as we come closer to finishing all five vessels. There have been a few hiccups over the past two days but nothing major and therefore we've pushed forward in the last few steps and I'm feeling confident that they'll look amazing.
Its been a great feeling getting back to the forge and working again, its been about two months since the last time I forged so I knew I was going to be abit rusty but over the past four days I noticed it wasn't long before my forging skills cleaned themselves up. Today It even got to a point where we had four pieces of metal in the forge at a time, pushing ourselves to be better each day, working as a team with Nick has been really fun and we still have a few more days left.
I hope to post more on our progress tomorrow. !..!,     


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Day Two at Buchan's Workshop.

Well I've been working with with my friend Nick at his workshop in mid Wales for two days now and we've accomplished alot in this short space of time. Nick has to have five vessels fully finished by a deadline for a gallery, by himself this could be extremely difficult but as a team of two the time to make these is cut in half so that is why I'm here in mid Wales to team up and power through the work ahead.    

As it stands we've done the main bulk of the work now and its going at a steady pace with no problems so far (touch wood). Nick's workshop isn't very big but it has all the essentials any blacksmith needs. The designs Nick has for his vessels are pretty much the same as the ones he made for his final project but with a few small variations. we are hoping to complete all five vessels within the next three days if things all go to plan.  

We left the workshop today very pleased with what we have achieved over the past two days and know that all the vessels are starting to take shape. We're hoping that by the end of tomorrow to have all the components fully forged out and ready to be drilled for Tuesday morning. I guess we'll have to see, I'll post on our progress with some more pictures tomorrow.    

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Break over, back to work.

As it stands I'm down south in Dawlish Warren, Devon where I've had a relaxing week holiday with the family but today instead of going home back to Bristol I will be travelling straight up to mid Wales to go and work with my close friend and fellow graduate Nick Buchan in his workshop, giving him a hand to finish off some work he's been doing. I don't know how long I'm going to be away for but that's what makes it all the more fun!!
So I guess the breaks over and now its time to get back to work. !..!,    

Friday, 27 July 2012

So Pleased!!!

On the Monday I once again made the trip up to Leominster to pick up the microphone stand "the beast". I was told that the open day show went really well and they had a really good turn out of people. Tonight I received an email from Bengry Motors with three great images of the mic-stand with the jazz band who entertained everyone on the open day, I thought that everyone should see these photos. You can really see the fun side to the mic-stand embraced in these photos. !..!, 


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Graduation Day

Yes it was finally Graduation day, and a day to feel very proud of where I take the last step from being a student to becoming a graduate. Seeing all my friends again and being together with them celebrating all we've done over the past three years. I even got a hair cut in time for it too which shocked everyone haha.      

Stood outside Hereford cathedral with a very  proud mum.

I just want to say thank you to all my tutors for all your help and everything I've learnt, oh yes and for putting up with me for three years. and thank you to all my friends for standing by me through the good times and all the bad times, keeping me strong and picking me up when I couldn't stand, I thank you all!!!

After it was all said and done the hardest part is saying good bye to all my friends as you don't know when your going to see them next but I know I will see them all again as the bonds of friendship that strong not even time can take that away. !..!, 

Bengry's Motors show.

Last week I revived an email asking if I'd exhibit one of pieces in an open day at Bengry Motors show room in Leominster. After a phone call it was agreed that my microphone stand would be prefect and be put in to the show and would also be along side other pieces including Lee Pickard's candlestick holders from my course. So on Wednesday I travelled up to Leominster to deliver the mic-stand, portfolio and business cards, once there I learned that they were having a three piece jazz band there too and asked if the mic-stand could be put next to them to add to the musical feel of the piece which they agreed. I hope the Mic-stand stood out well among all the Ford's and Mazda's in the show and gained some interest, so we'll see in time.

I'm to pick up the mic-stand Monday morning, I also asked if they'd take some pictures of the mic-stand next to the jazz band for me which should be intetresting. This microphone stand has travelled to many places since its creation doing its own tour of Britain, who knows where  it'll end up next. !..!,         

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Back in Bristol. Now on to the next project

As I graduate this Thursday I've been thinking about what's next for me. I'm now looking for a place to set up a proper workshop now here in Bristol, while I've been doing this I've also been working on my next products I will be making. At the final show and New Designers I spoke to a lot of people and listened to some of their comments and a lot of them spoke about creating a smaller range of guitar hooks that could be made quicker with a lower cost to put in my portfolio, showing a greater range of products. Therefore I have been designing new guitar hooks and am at the stage of making some small scale marquettes and hoping soon to have some full scale drawing of them very soon. 
I'll keep everyone posted on any progress as it comes. !..!,

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

From new designers to a new future

Its been a full couple of weeks for me and everyone else in the crafts cluster group first we had our final end of year show and then straight afterwards packing up everything into a van and sending it off to New Designers in London which is a huge event in the art and design world where colleges and university's from around the UK come to exhibit there work and people from all over the creative industry's come to view, buy, commission and support up and coming designers.

I spent a week in London talking to a lot of people about my work, repeating myself countless times but I love talking about my work and to the people that understand it makes me very happy. New Designers is huge and when I first walked around it, it was like a maze, there were a lot of impressive stuff but Hereford's stand stood out as being the most diverse...

It was a joy to see everyone's work stand out so well in such a small space, it was a stand you couldn't miss it and in the end we all took something away from New Designers whether it be a commission, interest, or just experience. I got alot of interest in my work, loving the ideas and seeing it as something new and fresh that could take the music scene by storm.

This was my area, I was only limited to one guitar hook but I feel it worked out really well and without the guitar and microphone nobody would have understood either of these products and with them they stood out and drew in all the eyes. I took alot away from New Designers, experience of talking to people about my work but also I have more ideas of where to take my work to the next level and I'm more determined than ever to get back in the forge and start making again... I'll keep everyone posted on my progress. !..!,