Blacksmithing, or Quality Time With a Teenager

For the past few months, I’ve been taking blacksmithing lessons with my 16 year old son.

Diagram of a coal forge. In the book:

Diagram of a coal forge. In the book:”Practical Projects for the Blacksmith”, it was noted that a forge like this can be made based on a barbeque-pan. This, by adding a hole and inserting a T-junction with a hairdryer (the whole costing about 60 € new, or $5 for both items when obtained secondhand/from the junkyard) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while, but my schedule never lined up with the places that teach near me.

Then I forgot about it.

Last year, the History Channel started a new series called Forged In Fire, that made me think about it again. Better, the boy was interested, too.

If you don’t have a teenager, here’s some interesting information that’s almost universal:  teenagers suck.   You spend a dozen years of your life essentially doing everything for them.  Then one day, they have their own interests and want nothing to do with their parents.  I get it, it’s good for them to be independent and all, but it sucks for the parent who wants to spend time with the kid.

Enter blacksmithing.   I’m interested, the boy’s interested, and I’ve dropped most of my side projects to have more time for my family and myself.   Let’s do this.

Class number 1:  5 miles away, teaches Tuesday evenings at the height of rush hour.  That’s a 45 minute 5 mile drive.  It costs $350 each for an 8 session class, that I’d have to leave work early for and would cut into the kid’s homework.

Class number 2:  15 miles away, teaches full-day classes over eight consecutive Saturdays…for $120 each.  That’s awesome.   Except they book their entire year’s calendar of classes within 3 days of posting the schedule for the year.   When they got my paper registration in the mail(seriously, paper?  In 2015?), they called to tell me we were 6th on the waiting list.

Class number 3: 2 hours away.  Full day classes on Saturdays.  Held every Saturday, so we could come on our schedules.   Cost $100, but $200 total for a class as we want them is way more affordable than the $700 up front for class #1.   I’m sold.

Four classes into it, I find out that that’s the most classes I can pay for.   I’m still welcome to use the facility, but now I have to supply my own charcoal.   From here on out, it’s $50 for gas and $20 for charcoal to forge all day…and still get taught.    If we pass some tests, we can officially join and sell our creations in the gift shop.

Totally sold.

So now, the boy and I are making the drive once a month.   We talk during the drive, we work together on the forge.   I love my kid, and I love spending time with him.  I love making things, and I love sharing that love with my kids.   In a few years, he’ll move out, but he’ll remember this for the rest of his life.  It’s worth every cent.

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    1. Zendelle says:

      Great post. Anything that gets the little buggers off the electronics and actually doing something is awesome.

    2. Some of the best money you’ll ever spend. Every time a memory with either of my parents comes to mind, I wonder what my kids will remember about our time together when they get older.

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