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Latest update October 19, 2020.
Preparing more updates. New computer and software
. Lots of new stuff to add soon. So much new material to add but no time to do it. I will be starting with one of the pages that hasn't been updated here for many years - the vise page. This was project I wanted to expand on but didn't have a good enough camera or time to for photos. This was, and will be a look at buying blacksmith leg vises. Everything from identifying salvagable tools to repairing and putting them back in service again. And links to vendors selling new tools and equipment.
I started this website 22 years ago using MS Frontpage 98. Frontpage has a huge amount of obsolete html code that was thought to be, at that time, the future of internet browsing. It wasn't. And some of that coding causes errors on some servers. All of that obsolete code must be stripped out of every page on this website before I can begin adding updates. These changes are extremely urgent. That 22-year old program won't run on my new computer - I'm using an old laptop to make these changes, and I don't expect this old laptop to last much longer - it's 12 years old. It is easiest to use FrontPage to strip out excessive FrontPage coding. Gotta get it done before I no longer have an old computer capable of running that old program. I am almost finished and should be ready to start adding new material after this coming weekend.
Some links are being changed! This is going to cause some navigation errors for a while until all links can be updated and corrected. Also added some photos lower down on this page in the Updates section for September 2, 2019.
Currently working on a blacksmith's newsletter. First issue focuses on getting the new smith started. Some of the material from the newsletter will be added to this website soon. Planning to add a second newsletter with more how-to stuff for blacksmiths later. Best new material will be added here also.
Fire & Roses is an amateur video documentary showing our team of blacksmiths forging a rose from a solid bar of iron. Using only the traditional techniques taught to German blacksmiths for hundreds of years. This is not a sheet metal rose, nor is it a bar that was smashed flat and rolled up as seen on other blacksmith websites. This is the real thing! Performed live for a small audience from Calontir in October of 2002. The Fire & Roses video DVD is now available for purchase by both internet and mail order. Click on the picture at left or follow this link: http://www.beautifuliron.com/events_zarchive_demonstration_iron_rose_video_forging.htm for more details on the video and ordering instructions.
Beautiful Iron (formerly known as Horsefeathers & Hammermen) is dedicated to the display of tools, work methods, and products of the blacksmith, and to the use of horses as the main source of power on a farm. This is a private website that is open to viewing by the public. There are no professional writers here. Many of the pages and photos on this website were created during the era of slow dial-up connections that most people had at the time. Most of the photos on this site have been replaced multiple times with higher and higher resolution photos as internet connection speeds increased. All remaining low resolution photos will be replaced with higher resolution photos as time permits.
With the first Coal Forge pages being written during the spring of 1998 and first published to the web in May of 1999. Nowhere else can one find so many shops and equipment showcased as they are on this site. With literally hundreds of photos of coal forges and blacksmith shops, a foundation of knowledge was created to be shared and to support the forge designs and theories described in the treatise on Forge Design for blacksmiths that can be accessed by following the links in the Forge & Fire section. This site has grown to include other aspects of work which I, or friends of mine, are involved in. There is something for everyone from beginner to highly advanced ornamental ironworkers. Updates are made as materials are gathered and time permits. This is a work in progress and will continue growing as more photos and material is added, so visitors are invited to check back often. Building on the history of the blacksmith's trade, this website offers a tremendous amount of information and documentation to help other smiths to build their own forges and to see forges other smiths have built.
Created by a blacksmith to help other blacksmiths, this website is unlike any other. The photos of forges and design theories cannot be found anywhere else on the internet. The photos show blacksmith's forges (hearths) from around the world. Many professional shops and a few museum shops that tried to recreate period blacksmith shops. Often people who have seen my work will ask specific details of how I make my tools, built a coal forge, and learned the trade. More often still they ask me how they can learn the art and where, how, and what to get to set up a little shop of their own. The result was that I often needed to carry about 60 pounds of books and photos and videos everywhere I went. Many of these photos and other references are now posted here on this website so friends can find them at their own leisure and I no longer must carry so much stuff around with me.
My background. My name in the SCA is Hans Schlosser. I'm an ornamental blacksmith or gatesmith working on all sizes of wrought iron ornamental gates and railings and other items. I am also a mechanic and for those of you who just have to ask, yes I shoe horses- with a preference for heavy draft horses. Gates and decorative work are my main focus along with draft horse shoeing and manufacturing heavy duty hardware and repairing machinery used with draft horses.
Future plans for this site include: We have a huge number of things planned now that the Fire & Roses video is done, but before any more work can be done I must first complete the archiving of a large amount of photos and video from video tape onto DVD, some of these videos will be added here for free viewing later. After that we can begin planning more blacksmithing and class related projects as well as new material for this website. What's next for this website? Rewrites and new material for the Forge Design series, new higher resolution photos to replace many of the older low resolution photos on many of the Coal Forge pages, a new page addition for the Drills pages and new photos for the current lineup of Drills pages, a page or two on forging blacksmiths' tongs, and finally a full re-organization of the Links pages into a format that makes them easier to read and locate specific subjects. I have literally hundreds of new photos to be added on this website - around half of them replacing the low resolution photos that have been on this site for more than a decade - and the other half of the photos are of entirely new materials and subjects. And finally, I will begin showing some of my own ironworks here and offering some of the smaller pieces for sale on this website - this being the original intent of the name of this website - "Beautiful Iron."
Updates: More new material plus upgrades of older items on this website are added frequently.
April 23, 2020. NOTE: Any items I offer for sale are posted here on my website (Beautiful Iron) and will be found at this page: http://www.beautifuliron.com/gs_blacksmith_tools_for_sale.htm Although this website has been dormant for some years while I was busy doing major remodeling and repairs of a house and other buildings. I will return to updating this website on a regular basis sometime this coming summer.
About Pinterest postings. Recently a visitor wrote me to inquire about a blacksmith leg vise for sale. He found a photo of one of my blacksmith vises on the Pinterest website along with the comment "Blacksmith leg vise. I have one For Sale, for the price of $100.00". The problem is - I am not offering any vises for sale. And I don't post any offers to sell things at Pinterest. So what happened? I did some research on this, go here for the rest of the story: http://www.beautifuliron.com/gs_News-Latest.html
April 5th, 2020. Latest news. House remodeling is finally nearing the end. I expect a couple more months of house construction and then focus on the shop. Photos below (update for September, 2019) show the current condition of the shop. We shoved everything to the middle of the building to make way for insulating the building. Spray foam insulation is very nice - covers everything, blocks air leaks, great insulation value. It has already reduced our heating and cooling costs by more than 50%. Next phase after finishing the house will be to move equipment to sides of the shop, making way for a machine to tear out the old rotten floor and replace it. The old floor is dirt with concrete smeared over it. Rotten smeared concrete allows dirt and water to seep up through the floor to create a muddy dirty surface that had previously looked like concrete. Two new stone/concrete/masonry forges will be built. One will be side draft and one will be the old medieveal style enclosed forge. After this I plan to take a break from construction work and start blacksmith work again for a while. Winter will switch to wood work and building blacksmith's bellows. And then building bob sleds for farm work. After the bellows design is proven and tested, I will begin hosting seminars for building bellows, fabricating basic shop equipment for new blacksmiths, forging multiple types and sizes of blacksmith tongs, and forging elements of ornamental ironwork including animals and flowers and artistic elements in architectural work.
April 5th, 2020. Good news. Email problems finally fixed!!! We now have email again. My local internet service provider began blocking email client software several years ago. I have been trying to get my ISP to fix their email problems for several years. We are stuck with this provider (GRM.net) because they are the only service provider in the area, and their interent service department is probably the most incompetent in the entire country. Webmail at GRM is absolute garbage, one of the biggest problems being their junk spam filter - webmail service at GRM is buried in massive spams and impossible to use. And while I also have webmail at my webhost, it is difficult and ineffecient to use. Having the ability to use normal email client software is an absolute must. But with a local ISP that blocks client software, this has been impossible for the past several years. This has resulted in chronic problems including losing emails, inability to keep track of emails because of the huge clutter, and simply not being able to reply or send new mail. Looking back at this, I can' thelp but wonder if these GRM clowns weren't trying to force everyone into using their junk webmail. By blocking each customer's client email software, there was no other option but to use webmail.
Website updates can begin again. During the past few months, each time I started updates for this website, I would get sidetracked by attempts to get the email problem fixed. Now I can focus on website updates.
November 6th, 2019. So much new material to add but no time to do it. I will be starting with one of the pages that hasn't been updated here for many years - the vise page. This was project I wanted to expand on but didn't have a good enough camera or time to for photos. This was, and will be a look at buying blacksmith leg vises. Everything from identifying salvagable tools to repairing and putting them back in service again. And links to vendors selling new tools and equipment.
September 16th, 2019. Huge amount of work to clean up website files in preparation for new website software. I originally started the website with MS Frontpage 98. Frontpage has a huge amount of obsolete html code, and now I must strip this code out to allow page files to display properly in the new program. What a mess. All themes and templates will be removed. New links and headers are being created to replace the deleted material. I am also finding and replacing defective page links.
September 2, 2019. I am testing out new website software. It's going to take time to get used to working with the new program, and I need to re-learn how to build and maintain my website again. Photos here offer an idea of how much construction work is going on at my house and shop. Roof and insulation work in both the house and shop were handled at the same time. The house gets higher priorty to complete before finishing construction in the shop. In preparation for construction work, everything in the shop had to be shoved into the middle of the building to make room for spraying insulation on the walls and roof. The old roof covering was then torn off and replaced with new sheeting and roof materials. The huge amount of dust and debris covering everything - came from tearing out the old roof! The old roof was around 100 years old, and had 4 layers of shingles plus the original wood shingles. Weight of the old roof was damaging the frame and roof structure and caused it to sag. After tearing the old roof off and laying new sheeting on the frame, the roof frame literally lifted and straightened back up. A hundred years of dust and dirt and dried roofing material filtered through the slatted roof frame and covered everything in the shop. Big mess to clean.
The old forges will be replaced. The steel forges and hoods seen in all photos of the Leon shop up until 2018, were meant as temporary forges - they were never meant to be permanent. A good brick and stone side draft forge will be built first, much like my original brick forge that appears in the Coal Forge pages on this website. Forges will be built later this year. The house construction and remodeling have higher priority before rebuilding the shop. When finished, the shop will have make more efficient use of space and be more comfortable to work in. I plan to build a much larger shop soon after - large enough to build another 6 forges and space and seating for a few dozen visitors for future seminars and training events.
August 6th, 2019. Get ready for new stuff on this website. After a terribly long abscence. I am finally back. Old computer was tossed. New computer operating system is a piece of garbage. Microsoft is turning into a bunch of incompentent third-world idiots.
After being plagued with serious computer issues (and not having time to migrate files to a new system) I finally decided to replace all my old computer hardware and start over. But then I discovered that my old (and very reliable) software was so old, it was no longer worth fighting with. But new software is difficult to find. Seems so few people actually build their own websites anymore, it is apparently no longer profitable for some software manufacturers to offer new website software - and NO the free junk isn't useful for building websites. Free junk is exactly that - junk.
So here's a quick run down on what is going on. I am remodeling a house. Very time consuming. Tearing it down to the frame and rebuilding the everything inside and out. While doing this, I also tear apart the blacksmith shop to fix the frame, insulate the entire structure, and put a new roof on it. Shop is a mess, everything shoved the middle of the building to make room for construction work. So no work in the shop for a few months yet. Planning two new permanent forges. Some of the photo-updates that were planned literally years ago now, will have to wait until the shop is put back together again. I am also planning a second website to promote a series of events for teaching new smiths to forge animals, flowers, tools, and fancy architectural ironwork. The capel garmon style firedog project will be one of the goals for the teaching events.
November 18, 2018. Currently working on a blacksmith's newsletter. First issue focuses on getting the new smith started. Some of the material from the newsletter will be added to this website soon. Planning to add a second newsletter with more how-to stuff for blacksmiths later. Best new material will be added here also.
November 18, 2018. Website will be rebuild will be delayed for some time yet. I was planning to switch to new website software but currently have no time to learn to work with it. The new software is much more complex than the 20-year old software that I originally built this website with years ago. For now I will continue with the old software. Best DPI screen resolution to view this site is currently 1920 x 1080. If the photos and text appear scattered in odd places on your screen, it might be because your screen resolution was set differently than the one I used to create the website. I am hoping that new website software can help fix this problem automatically so that everyone's screen will display photos and text correctly no matter what screen resolution they use.
February 9th, 2014. Working on much-needed updates and re-writes for multiple webpages. Anvils page is first in line to get most of the re-writes. New photos will be added soon.
December 18th, 2013. And finally, I can once again access my own website. What a wild year. Multiple computer problems culminating in purchasing a complete new system and upgrading to more modern programs. But for over a year this site was crippled by the lack of a single piece of software that was compatible with the new security upgrades put in place by my host. Now finally I can begin making some updates.
January 13th. 2013. Workload is still too heavy to allow updates to this website. Still waiting to find time for adding dimensions of post drill stands. Have 3-D drawing program and AutoCAD ready to go, but no time to get accustomed to the newer version of AutoCAD.
September 26th, 2012. Workload does not permit time for website updates. Lots of new material to add but no time to do it. All computer problems repaired. Next on the list will be the finished dimensions of the post drill stands. Expect time to add new material some time around November.
March 3rd, 2012. Unable to update website due to chronic computer problems and heavy work load. I hope to begin updating website during the next couple of months. The free-standing post drill stands are nearly finished and plans for these will be likely be posted here before other updates. Spring comes early this year. Machine repair comes before website updates. I am sorry for the delay.
October 23rd, 2011. Updated sale page here: Blacksmith's Tools For Sale with two new (old) drill presses for sale. Look for more blacksmith's tools and machines for sale here later.
September 17th, 2011. New photos added to the Post Drill page. These photos include a Canedy-Otto Number 19 post drill and a Buffalo Forge Number 61 post drill - both from a recent visit to the Prairie Trails Museum in Corydon, IA, USA. Contact information is also included in the articles. Work is nearly complete on building free-standing posts for installing and working with the post drill. The free standing posts allow the drills to be used anywhere as though it were a modern drill press. Dimensions and drawings will be added soon. Downloadable PDF files of two Canedy-Otto catalogs have also been added.
September 10th, 2011. New photos added to the Post Drill page. The page was also improved with details on setting up a post drill at the proper height for easiest and most efficient work.
September 9th, 2011. Updates and new photos coming soon.
July 13th, 2011. All updates are on hold due to heavy workload. Two new post drill stands have been built and are complete. These will be photographed and construction drawings and dimensions added later. A new page section will also added later with details describing how to determine proper mounting height for a post drill.
March 21, 2011. Large updates and new additions in progress for the Ye Old Drill section. The Post Drills page will be updated with new photos and drawings after construction work in the shop has been completed.
February 25th, 2011. Large re-write to make troubleshooting section easier to read on the STC-88 Air Hammer page. Tools For Air Hammers section also re-written and improved with new sources of tooling for air hammers added. This has been a very busy winter season, and I have had to postpone many of the upgrades for the shop and delayed some of the post drill page updates. I hope to finish construction soon on the new post drills installation seen in the photo below, and later add these updates to the Post Drills page. This will include video of operation of these drills to help introduce the neophyte to how these drills work and how to bring a neglected drill back into service and install a post drill in the home shop.
February 4th, 2011. Construction of free-standing posts for mounting and using post drills - is nearly complete. These new posts have already turned out to be much better than expected. New photos, dimensions, and other information will be added to the Post Drills page soon.
January 24th, 2011. Working on construction of a pair of free-standing posts for mounting and using post drills. These will be added to the Post Drills page soon. These posts will allow a post drill to be easily moved anywhere in the shop, and used like a modern upright drill press.
November 25th, 2010. Latest NEWS: Contacted Striker Hammer factory rep - putting together a new parts order. We will stock new parts for these hammers very soon. Anyone that has a special parts request - contact me quickly by email, so that we can be sure to include all parts you might need in the first parts shipment.
November 11th, 2010. NEWS UPDATE: Recommended oil for the STC-88 Air Hammer now has a new name. See the new Oil Specifications section of the STC-88 Air Hammer page (at top of the Drip Oiler section) for more details.
November 8th, 2010. Repaired missing pictures on Chimneys page, Styles of Forges page, and Tools & Storage page. These pages are not finished. This was a picture replacement and link update only. More changes coming to these pages.