Meet The Blacksmith
My name is Jason, and I am the blacksmith at HoJ Forge. I live just outside of Traverse City, Michigan. I thought I would answer some of the questions that I get asked frequently, as a way to introduce myself to you.
Q: How did you get started?
I began my journey with a simple goal of learning how to forge Damascus Knives. Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a fascination with pattern welded blades, and at the tender age of 45, I decided to give it a shot. So, I got a late start, but I’m doing my best to make up for it.
Q: What kind of Forge Fuel do you use?
I use anthracite coal, because it is what I can get locally at the most affordable price. I also have a small propane forge that I use from time to time. I am not big on the argument that one type of fuel is better than another. As long as it heats the metal to the proper temperature, then I say, use what works for you.
Q: Where do you get your steel?
For my Damascus knives, I buy high carbon quality steels to work with. For everything else, I try to re-purpose as much as I can. I spend a lot of time at my local scrap yards. If I can envision a new life for something, then the old rusty junk comes home with me to start its new life.
Q: Do you take apprentices?
At this point, I do not feel like I have gained enough total knowledge to justify having an apprentice. I am mainly self taught, and by learning this way, I have a long way to go before I know enough to become a "master" to an apprentice. However, I do offer classes for beginner blacksmithing and beginner knife making
Q: Are you a farrier/do horse shoes?
No. Farriers go to school for a long time. There is a whole world of knowledge about keeping horses healthy, that I am clueless about. Without that knowledge and skill, you risk injuring a horse, or yourself, and I would never take that chance with an animal... Or myself.
Q: How can I get started in blacksmithing?
Make the decision to do it, and then DO IT. Find a local smith that give you some pointers. Join a local blacksmithing group, and attend their meetings and hammer ins. If you include the hobby smiths, there have never been more blacksmiths in the world, and most of them are happy to help you get started... or get ahold of me to schedule a beginners class.