Throughout history, being a blacksmith was a pretty important job in the local town. From weapons and armor to regular farm equipment, blacksmiths were pretty much the cornerstone of any community, with there always being steady demand for their services.
While things have definitely changed in the 21st century, blacksmithing still an incredibly lucrative, as well as fulfilling, hobby or career choice.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that now’s the best time in history to consider taking up blacksmithing. Lots of people have plenty of time on their hands right now and just aren’t sure what to do. At the same time, everything that you need to get started can be delivered to your door within days via Amazon and other online retailers. You don’t need to have specialized equipment, either. An anvil, a forge, and a hammer are all you really need to get started at first.
Couple that with the fact that there’s more information than ever available on the internet, its super easy to get started as a blacksmith in 2021.
But exactly why should you start blacksmithing? What about this hobby is so fascinating, fulfilling, and lucrative? Why have I dedicated this entire blog just to help beginners get started with this ancient pastime?
Let me tell you exactly why. Here are 5 reasons why you should seriously consider becoming a blacksmith.
1. The Satisfaction of Making Something Yourself
Any craftsman understands just how satisfying it is to build or make something yourself, rather than going out and buying it in a store. Whether that’s building your own cabin or forging yourself a simple hunting knife, there’s just something so rewarding about building something yourself, from scratch.
That’s exactly what you get when you become a blacksmith. You take a simple metal, iron or steel, and work away at it until it becomes something that you always wanted to make. Whether that’s some exciting, like a sword or a knife, or something more simple, like a basic hook or a piece of cutlery.
In fact, the sheer variety of things you can make as a blacksmith is pretty astounding when you think about it. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out this post I did on the best blacksmithing projects for beginners.
Imagine being able to show off to your family member, spouse, or even to your kids something you’ve just made yourself. Imagine what it would feel like when they react in astonishment at something you’ve made before. Call it pride, satisfaction, approval, whatever emotional label you want to put on it, it’s an incredibly fulfilling thing.
2. You Can Make Money
Most people think that you need to become an apprentice under a professional blacksmith, working in-house for years before you can start making serious money.
The reality couldn’t be farther from the truth. With the advent of the internet, its easier than ever for a beginner blacksmith to make a healthy side-income selling his projects online.
You don’t even need to leave your home! No tradeshows! No live events! Certain online marketplaces, like Etsy, have proven to be incredibly lucrative for blacksmiths willing to spend some time building up a reputation.
In fact, I’ve seen blacksmiths go on Etsy and, within a couple of years, make six-figure net incomes from making specialized products that people are willing to pay a premium on.
For example, minimalistic, hand-crafted jewelry sells remarkably well, despite how simply some of the designs might look. Imagine someone paying you $300 for a steel ring that takes maybe 3 or 4 hours of effort on your part.
You can do this at home, in your spare time, without having to leave you home. There aren’t many hobbies out there that allow you to make a great living on the side while you learn your craft.
It’s a topic I’m incredibly passionate about, especially since I’ve seen so many beginner blacksmiths go from nothing to making a solid side income in months. Check out my recent blog post, 8 Beginner Blacksmithing Projects That Sell Like Crazy, for more details.
3. It’s a Workout
While not the same as lifting weights at the gym, blacksmithing still is a very physically oriented hobby. More specifically, it requires a lot of upper body strength, as well as a strong arm, forearm, and wrists.
In some instances, if you’re from isn’t perfect, you could end up developing something like tennis elbow, except, in this case, maybe we should call it blacksmiths’ elbow. Most of the time, however, if you’ve got the form down right, you should get a pretty good workout from a long blacksmithing session.
Back in the old days, a blacksmith needed to be a really strong person. Now, however, with modern technology and techniques, you don’t need to be this burly, strong-armed fellow who looks like he powerlifts in his spare time. But blacksmithing is still an intensive enough activity that all people, men or women, can appreciate the physical benefits of blacksmithing.
Perhaps one of the best benefits of becoming a serious blacksmith is the discipline that it instills in you. While there are tons of other hobbies that require persistent effort and consistency in order to see results, blacksmithing is a little special.
Every time you want to make something, you’re going to need to make hundreds of hammer strikes in order to mold your metal into the shape you want it to be. Sometimes, it doesn’t work out the way you thought it would, and you have to start over again.
You can easily spend hours just hammering away at something. In a way, there’s a lot of discipline that goes into something like that, watching as you hammer away for the 500th time on a piece of metal to shape it how you want.
It encourages an active type of discipline, where you’re both paying attention to all the little things that you’re doing while remaining focused on the big picture. Compared to doing something like, say, jogging, where you can zone out and lose focus while you’re jogging away, blacksmithing requires you to pay attention to each one of your hammer strikes.
Almost all the people I know who started blacksmithing ended up telling me that their ability to focus on a single task improved dramatically. It’s definitely one of the most important, if not an underreported, benefits that taking up blacksmithing will provide to you.
5. The Spiritual Connection
For someone who writes so much about how blacksmiths can make money, it might seem a little odd to hear that the spiritual aspect of being a blacksmith is so prevalent.
However, the truth is that the very act of blacksmithing is an incredibly spiritual experience, in more ways than one.
In one sense, you are little taking something and transmuting it into a higher form. Your base metal, iron or steel, becomes transformed into a work of art, whether it’s a knife, a sword, or something more basic. It’s the same sense of spirituality and connection that an artist feels when they are in a state of “flow,” if you will. Or a musician is making some music, or a writer, etc.
But on another level, blacksmithing is even deeper than this. Depending on where you lived and who were your ancestors, blacksmithing was likely part of your ancient ancestors’ lives. It’s a link to relive how people used to do things thousands of years ago, back before the advent of modern civilization. Just like camping can connect you with nature by going back to your roots, so to can blacksmithing feel like a way to reconnect with your ancestors and the way we used to live.
I hope you see just how diverse and multi-faceted blacksmithing can be. Whether you’re just looking to pick it up as a hobby or make a serious career out of it, there’s a lot that you can take out of this trade.
From personal satisfaction to making a serious income to more spiritual insights, blacksmithing definitely something you should check out. Often times, people who just started off end up finding that blacksmithing fills a hole in their souls that they never even knew they had before. It might sound a little weird, but its true. Give it a try yourself sometime and maybe you’ll know what I mean.
If you are interested in giving blacksmithing a try sometime, there are several articles I’ve written that I highly recommend you check out. This blog, Begin to Blacksmith, is dedicated specifically for beginners looking to get started quickly, cheaply, and simply. There’s a serious lack of content dedicated specifically for beginners out there, so I hope you’ll find it insightful and useful.
Check out some of my recommended articles below for more info about how you can get started as a new blacksmithing this week.
How to Start Blacksmithing at Home for Less Than $200
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