Keeping the Forge Fires Burning

Keeping the Forge Fires Burning - Brown County Forge COVID-19

Updated June 13, 2020

Two and a half months later and things are approaching a new normal at the shop.

During the lock-down I was able to offer multiple sales on handmade hardware through my Etsy store. The results of those sales were a nice surprise in an uncertain time.

When the stay-at-home order was lifted in mid-May, I restarted classes with added safety measures.

Classes will continue through November 15, 2020 by appointment. After November 15 I will no longer be teaching in-person blacksmithing classes.

After 5 years and nearly 800 students projects, it’s time to forge a new path for the shop.

What follows below is the original post from March 27, 2020.


How Brown County Forge is Dealing with COVID-19

The economic and health impacts of COVID-19 have affected countless businesses in Indiana, across the country, and around the world.

Brown County Forge is no different.

Much of my business centers on inviting people into my shop to learn how to blacksmith.

In a time when close personal interaction has become a health risk, the blacksmith classes that sustain my business are not possible.

The other half of my business is creating handmade hardware for people around the country.

This has also taken a hit recently as people shift their focus to spending money on necessities and holding on to savings.

Accepting Reality

While this is tough for a small business, I’ve accepted the realities of the situation.

It may be a while before people are financially secure enough to support handmade goods.

I’m also preparing for a long wait when it comes to welcoming folks into the shop again.

However, with both of these realities in mind I’ve been working on ways to Keep the Forge Fires Burning in the meantime.

I’m humbly suggesting the following two options as ways to support blacksmithing as a craft and Brown County Forge in particular.

These are only if you feel comfortable spending the money. The first goal is to keep yourself and your family secure. The second is to help your community. Anything after that should feel extremely optional.

Two Ways to Support Blacksmithing and BCF

When the news started coming in that the COVID-19 pandemic would be very serious, I started creating ways to offer what I do at a much lower cost.

To keep Brown County Forge running in uncertain times I’m offering:

The Sale on hardware so far has encouraged 8 new customers to make purchases in the past week.

Even at a reduced price, this is extremely helpful for keeping the shop going.

So far, 1 new student has signed up for the Online Blacksmithing Course since the $5 deal was put in place.

Even one new student in our community of 95+ online students is very encouraging.

In the coming weeks I will continue to find ways to bring blacksmithing to people. It remains a great trade and a great way to relieve stress.

Thanks for Being a Friend of the Forge!

If either of the two options above appeal to you, I’m very grateful for your support. You can click on either blue link above to get the deals.

If you can’t manage it at the moment, I completely understand. It also helps considerably if you share posts like this, Share the Books I’ve written, or just talk about blacksmithing with friends and family while you’re hunkered down.

What I’m Personally Doing These Days

My days have been boiled down to:

  • Checking on family members: Through phone calls, texts, and social media.
  • Staying healthy: Getting outside for solo hikes, riding my bike to run errands, and cooking at home.
  • Helping my community where I can: Through local food banks and aid organizations.
  • Finding ways to bring free information to people interested in blacksmithing (Like this blog and my other blog).
  • Relaxing as much as possible: It may be one of the most difficult parts of this whole situation, but it’s one of the most important. Focusing on doing things that relax rather than excite keeps me calm. Watching comedies rather than dramas, for example. Reading books rather than the news (some is necessary, but there’s a limit).

With those 5 main things, I’m managing OK through all of this. I hope you are, too.

Thanks for Reading and Stay Safe!

Terran Marks the Blacksmith - Brown County Forge - Blacksmithing Classes

 

Busy Morning in the Blacksmith Shop

Blacksmith Shop - Brown County Forge - Terran Marks

Brown County Forge is a full-service blacksmith shop. When weekend classes aren’t in session, we’re making home hardware for folks around the world.

Today was a busy one with a few projects:

  • Door handles for a tiny mobile bakery.
  • Personalized bottle openers and hooks for Etsy.
  • Oar hooks for a customer in Pennsylvania.

Blacksmith Shop Methods

To make each item, Terran heats up pieces of steel that have been cut to specific lengths.

When they’re glowing hot and yellow-orange in color, he starts to bend and shape them with his hammer and anvil.

Depending on the piece, it might take a few heats to make a piece.

A typical hook like you see in the photo above can take as few as 4 heats from start to finish.

  • One heat to flare the ends.
  • A second heat to bend the decorative hook tip.
  • The third heat to quench that tip and make the bend of the hook.
  • And the final fourth heat to undo the quenching and loosen any scale so it can be brushed off.

Simple, Rustic Hardware

Blacksmith Shop - Unbreakable Bottle Opener Close Up - Brown County Forge - Terran Marks

Terran likes to keep things simple. To his artistic eye, simple rustic curves and bends are the most beautiful.

A long-time perfectionist, Terran used blacksmithing to train himself to “let things go.” Blacksmithing is good therapy!

The rest of the week at Brown County Forge will be spent cleaning and organizing to get ready for the next set of projects and classes.

Want to see more pictures and videos?

Take a look a the Brown County Forge Facebook page for hundreds of photos and videos.