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Blacksmith Side Hustle For Preppers

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Prepper side hustles provide an excellent opportunity not just to thicken your wallet but also a chance to increase your self-reliance skills. Blacksmithing was a vital pioneer skill that is still essential in our modern world.

blacksmith collage

A blacksmith prepper side hustle could quite easily be turned into a full-time work from home career – which is always the best option for a prepping family.

Blacksmiths not only still exist in the 21st Century world, but the highly skilled men and women working in the industry are also thriving.

Not only are blacksmithing skills still used by farriers in rural areas and knife makers (aka bladesmiths) they are also used to create both interior and exterior decor items for homes and businesses – as well as cookware.

old-fashioned dinner triangle
An old-fashioned dinner triangle made by a blacksmith during a hands-on workshop at the Old School Survival Boot Camp was such a popular item dozens of them sold out in only a few hours.

Although there are not as many blacksmiths engaging in this traditional form of metalworking in 2020 as there were in 1820, men and women with this particular skill set are eagerly courted by a myriad of different modern-day industries.

For example, blacksmiths routinely create the hinges and other hardware necessary for cabinet and furniture making.

The tools of the trade used by modern blacksmiths are identical or nearly so to the ones used by our ancestors.

Whether you are considering the launching of a blacksmith prepper side hustle to make unique home decor and outside decor or you want to focus upon more traditional projects like the making of horseshoes, tools, cookware, and hardware there is a market for your products and services.

rustic western hook
This rustic western hook makes a simple beginner blacksmith project that can sell for between $20 to $30 at local artisan shops or sold online and shipped via “maker” websites like ETSY.

What Does A Blacksmith Do?

Blacksmiths shape metal to create a product for a specific use. He or she joins pieces of metal together to make larger items, forging purchased metal rods or scrap metal into a weapon, tool, decorative item, architectural piece or hardware.

The type of activities you do as a blacksmith can vary depending upon the type of objects you decided to focus your skills upon. But, all blacksmiths will regularly be engaging in the skills and tactics below.

  1. Choosing the right type of metals and the proper techniques for working with those metals for each and every project.
  2. Sketch designs for projects by hand or using a computer – or tracing designs.
  3. Use a forge powered by their chosen means and maintain it safely.
  4. Forge and heat metals during the shaping process.

All blacksmiths become well acquainted with a vast array of tools and equipment over time.

The staples of a blacksmith’s tool include an anvil, a forge, and long-handled tongs, snips, chisels, and hammers.

Blacksmiths who employ modern equipment in their business also tend to use hydraulic presses, welders, and circular saws, as well.

blacksmith forging red hot iron

Skilled tradesmen and women who use only traditional muscle-powered tools often use their traditional manner of blacksmithing as part of their branding and marketing plan.

A blacksmith may focus their attention on purely ornamental or functional items – or dip their tongs into both kinds of projects.

Architectural pieces that are also often sold or directly commissioned include grates and benches.

The making of architectural or furniture projects by a blacksmith most often combines both forge skills and artistry.

A blacksmith with a penchant for both form and design are typically the most versatile when it comes to the making of functional, artistic decor, or architectural designs.

Thinking outside of the proverbial box can help a blacksmith obtain a greater degree of success when it comes to designing projects that are as visually appealing as they are functional.

A blacksmith who is physically strong, has good hand-eye coordination, and possesses a significant degree of cognitive skills.

Both the shaping and the finishing of hot metal will require a strong level of each of those three attributes.

Some folks might be surprised to realize just how much math is involved with blacksmithing. The precise measuring, angling, and cutting of metal demands not only precision but also mathematical accuracy.

blacksmith working with open fire

Even blacksmiths who focus on the traditional ways and focus on farrier skills and bushcrafting weapons will still likely need to use modern technology to get their prepper side hustle business going … and growing.

Creating at least a basic website and launching the business on social media platforms to advertise the blacksmiths goods and services is a must.

In our modern world, a grasp on business, marketing, and social media is necessary for self-employed blacksmiths.

A basic website, Facebook page and Instagram profile are extremely helpful in advertising your skills and showing potential clients the work you have already done.

The old-fashioned word of mouth can also help a blacksmith’s reputation soar – or sink, especially when this prepper side hustle is a cottage business in a small community.

Developing a signature style is another great way for a prepper blacksmith to distinguish and differentiate themselves from other skilled tradesmen and women in the same area.

Creating a specific line of products with a unique mark on it to immediately alert those viewing it to its maker is one simple way to project a finite persona for your brand of work.

Blacksmith History

One of the first known blacksmith examples stretches all the way back to 3000 BC. Smiths in China, Egypt, and Greenland are thought to have created the first tools made from iron.

These early blacksmiths are thought to have used fragments from meteors that fall out of the sky. This is likely how stories from ancient cultures have linked blacksmithing to supernatural beliefs and mythical elements.

It was during the Iron Age that began around 500 BC that blacksmithing as a skilled trade really took hold.

The “village smithy” became prized throughout Europe not only for the tools and hardware they made but also for their fine understanding about how steel was used to make an entire manner of goods both small and large.

When folks from Europe began their pilgrimages to America, blacksmiths and their forges came along to help create the supplies those early pioneers would need to build homes and create villages.

During the middle of the 19th Century, blacksmiths were met with career obstacles for the very first time.

As the Industrial Revolution garnered steam, new inventions like the Bessemer Process that allowed the mass production of high-quality steel, gave factories the ability to rapidly make goods in large quantities.

It was during this same time that firearms were quickly modernized and factory owners found that using machines with precise measuring tools and interchangeable parts was more efficient than relying on individual blacksmiths.

As the century inched towards closing, the majority of blacksmiths in America found that in order to continue making a living in their chosen field they would have to diversify their array of goods and services.

Horseshoeing provided a solid form of revenue for the smiths …. Until cars started taking over the roadways across the country by the 1930s.

It was during the 1970s that blacksmithing started to see a resurgence. Now being viewed as more of an artisanal and survival skill, folks began learning the same skills in the same way that our ancestors did, effectively keeping the blacksmithing tradition alive in America.

Blacksmith Training – Educational Paths For Beginners

The path that you choose to learn how to become a blacksmith is entirely up to you and what manner of training will best suit your schedule. In classroom style workshop training is one educational avenue.

You could also choose something far less formal and simply train alongside a mentor in his workshop or your own backyard.

Academic Training

While it is doubtful that a bachelor’s degree is offered anywhere in blacksmithing, but short term programs are often available at vocational schools.

Community colleges may also offer some blacksmith training or an associate’s degree program in horse science or farrier degree that includes blacksmithing skills.

No type of degree is required to become a blacksmith or to open your own shop

Academic blacksmith training typically includes a history of the skilled trade and use of traditional tools as well as modern methods used to build or use a forge.

There can be pros and cons to learning how to become a blacksmith in a school setting.

The in-depth training with a professional certificate or a degree to showcase might be important to some future blacksmiths. But, a piece of paper does not necessarily equate to skill level.

It will be the quality of work that either sparks a prepper side hustle success or failure.

Also, when learning in a classroom or workshop setting, you will have to learn at the pace deemed appropriate for the whole class, regardless of whether you are ready to move forward or have been sitting twiddling your thumbs for hours.

Blacksmith Apprentice

Since the founding days of our country blacksmiths have been learning their trade in formal or informal apprenticeships.

Working alongside a skilled blacksmith not only allows you to learn at your own pace but also to get far more individualized attention.

Another advantage of engaging in a blacksmith apprenticeship is the real-world in the shop experience that can help guide you when setting up your own side hustle business.

In addition to becoming a skilled smith, you will also learn how to manage the accounting, taxes, supply selection and ordering side of such a business firsthand.

The one real con to using a blacksmith apprenticeship is the possibility that you would not learn a vast array of smithing styles and methods as compared to a classroom setting taught by perhaps multiple instructors.

During either a formal classroom setting or an apprenticeship, a burgeoning blacksmith will be taught safety protocols and techniques used by blacksmiths in a variety of circumstances, as well as extensive time spent perfecting drawing, cutting, and brazing skills.

Self-Learning

It is not unheard of for a blacksmith to simply teach himself. A disciplined individual could use videos to learn the basics of blacksmithing, especially if he or she was already mechanically inclined and had experience with similar tools.

This is perhaps the most difficult way to learn how to become a blacksmith due to the lack of guided instruction, but a desire, will, and solid ability to work with your hands still make it a feasible way to get started in this type of prepper side hustle.

My husband was mostly a self-taught blacksmith. He had the basic knowledge of the process and was helped along with forge building by a buddy.

Several other friends had some blacksmithing skills and helped him along the way.

Fortunately for us, we have a master blacksmithing cousin in the family he could bounce ideas off of and ask questions from, as well.

Anyone who chooses to go the self-learning route because of convenience, time, or cost, consider connecting with some other amateur or professional blacksmiths virtually or in person to develop a relationship for those times when you have questions or setbacks.

Odds are, just about any blacksmith you connect with will be happy to help a beginner with a shared passion along … providing her or she would not be a direct competitor for customers.

In addition to taking blacksmith education it can be highly advantageous to also take advanced metalworking training, as well.

Courses such as these can help elevate a blacksmith’s skills and allow him or her to enhance the variety of items offered and level of customization available.

Metal working classes or an apprenticeship can also get you better acquainted with the types of materials often used by blacksmiths and aid in the choosing of the right metal for a job.

A Blacksmith’s Workplace

The type of space needed for blacksmithing will vary depending upon not only how much you can afford but also on the type of materials you plan on creating.

If you are going to be engaging in traditional blacksmithing, you could opt for an open space in or just outside of a barn or shed like our frontier ancestors did during the 1800s.

Where you live could possibly play a significant role in how and where you set up a blacksmith shop. Where we live, there are no zoning laws or permit offices of any type.

So, we could set up a blacksmith shop wherever and whenever we wanted – at any size we desired. But, not everyone is lucky enough to live in such a rural and free country.

Always check local laws and ordinances regarding construction, adaptation of an existing structure, and home business restrictions before investing a single dime in materials.

Regardless of wether you prefer to work in a garage, workshop, studio, or entirely outdoor space, blacksmiths should be prepared to get dirty and hot – all the time.

Blacksmithing is not an inherently dangerous job, but as with many types of skilled crafts, hazards can be present.

If the smith is well trained and follows safety protocols when working around the forge and with both projects and the tools used to create them, that greatly reduces the chances of getting burned and scarred.

Blacksmith Earnings

The thousands of blacksmiths working in America today either part-time or full-time earn sometimes drastically varying amounts.

The typical market prices and demand for goods where you live will determine how much you can charge for completed projects and successfully sell items.

By comparison, the average salary of a welder or metal fabricator in the United States is around $38,500 per year.

How much time you can devote to this type of prepper side hustle will also substantially impact earning potential.

Also, how quickly you can make a quality item, will also have bearing on earning potential.

If you do superb work but at a slower rate because of abilities or free time to devote to blacksmithing, the earning potential you could expect will be slightly smaller than a smith working on the same project in the same region who happens to crank out quality goods at a faster rate.

Many of the 5,000 to 10,000 blacksmiths working in America at this time do so as a side job and not their full-time employment.

Blacksmith Trends In America

The upswing in a desire by consumers to purchase handmade items by individuals or small businesses instead of mass produced goods by big box stores helps a blacksmith command top dollar for his or her creations.

People eager to ditch the rat race and work from home, being their own boss has also prompted more folks to return to the handicrafts and traditions of the past – which can mean big orders for a blacksmith who does quality work and markets their skills diligently.

Are You Ready to Be A Blacksmith?

If you are willing to exert both the time and the effort, it is entirely possible to become a professional-level blacksmith and create a lucrative prepper side hustle.

Choosing one or more of the common ways to learn blacksmithing requires a time commitment that cannot be skimped upon without risking either future success or potential accidents in the shop – or both.

During and after an SHTF event, blacksmiths will once again be in high demand.

Horses will return to a place of superiority in the transportation realm in many post-disaster scenarios … and they will need shoes.

Simple yet durable tools, hinges, and cookware will be needed and folks will no longer be able to hop online and order them from Amazon or drive to a big box store and purchase them.

blacksmith for preppers pinterest

Source link: https://www.survivalsullivan.com/blacksmithing-for-preppers/ by Tara Dodrill at www.survivalsullivan.com

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Featured

Wilderness Survival Skills That Can Save Your Kids’ Lives 

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Teaching children wilderness survival skills can be an enriching and empowering experience, fostering their confidence and independence while instilling a deeper connection with nature. However, it’s essential to prioritize safety and age-appropriate learning experiences when introducing children to outdoor skills. 

It’s important for a prepared parent to find age-appropriate wilderness survival skills for children. These skills should emphasize hands-on learning and the importance of supervision.

Shelter Building For Kids

Building a shelter is a fundamental survival skill that children can learn and practice under adult supervision. Start with simple shelter designs using natural materials such as branches, leaves, and tarps. Teach children how to assess their surroundings for suitable shelter locations and how to construct sturdy structures to protect against the elements.

Identifying Edible Plants For Kids

Teaching children to identify edible plants can enhance their foraging skills and knowledge of the natural environment. Begin by introducing them to a few common edible plants in your area, emphasizing safety and the importance of proper identification. Supervise children closely and guide them in harvesting and tasting edible plants responsibly.

Fire Safety and Fire Starting For Kids

While starting a fire may seem like an advanced skill, children can learn basic fire safety principles and techniques under adult supervision. Teach them about fire safety rules, including selecting a safe location, clearing the area of debris, and using proper fire-starting tools such as matches or fire starters. Demonstrate how to build a small fire and maintain it responsibly, emphasizing the importance of fire management and extinguishing techniques.

How Kids Can Signal for Help

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In emergency situations, knowing how to signal for help can be a life-saving skill. Teach children basic signaling methods such as using a whistle, mirror, or brightly colored clothing to attract attention. Practice signaling techniques in a safe outdoor environment, and discuss the importance of staying calm and alert while waiting for rescuers to arrive.

Hands-On Learning Experiences

Encourage hands-on learning experiences to reinforce wilderness survival skills and build confidence in children. Plan outdoor activities such as nature hikes, camping trips, or wilderness outings where children can practice shelter building, plant identification, fire starting, and signaling for help under adult supervision. Provide opportunities for children to apply their skills in real-life scenarios, fostering a sense of self-reliance and problem-solving abilities.

Teaching children wilderness survival skills can be a rewarding and educational experience, fostering their appreciation for nature and their ability to thrive in outdoor environments. By introducing age-appropriate skills such as shelter building, plant identification, fire safety, and signaling for help, children can develop valuable life skills and a deeper connection with the natural world. Remember to prioritize safety and supervision, and encourage hands-on learning experiences to empower children to become confident and capable outdoor adventurers.

How do you teach your children survival and preparedness skills? Share your thoughts on how to teach children in the comments below. 

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Featured

Knife Skills for Preppers: Mastering Essential Techniques

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In the realm of survival preparedness, few tools are as fundamental as the trusty survival knife. However, owning a high-quality knife is only half the battle; mastering essential knife skills is equally crucial for any prepper. This tutorial is designed to guide preppers through fundamental knife skills that will enhance their ability to navigate and thrive in diverse survival scenarios. 

From safe-cutting techniques to carving methods and practical tips for shelter building and food preparation, these skills will prove invaluable in the face of the unknown.

Safety First: The Foundation of Knife Skills

Before delving into specific techniques, understanding and prioritizing safety is paramount. Follow these foundational safety tips:

  • Proper Grip: Hold the knife with a firm yet comfortable grip. The index finger should wrap around the handle, ensuring control and preventing accidental slips.
  • Knife Inspection: Regularly inspect your knife for any damage, including chips or rust. A well-maintained blade ensures safer use.
  • Clear Workspace: Create a clean and organized workspace. Clear away debris and ensure good lighting to avoid accidents.
  • Body Positioning: Pay attention to your body positioning. Keep your non-dominant hand and fingers away from the cutting path to prevent injuries.

Basic Cutting Techniques: Building a Foundation

Next, it’s important to learn basic cutting techniques. Without knowing these cutting techniques, you have no chance of performing more advanced techniques with your knife. 

  • The Rocking Motion: Ideal for chopping and slicing, the rocking motion involves moving the knife’s blade back and forth while keeping the tip in contact with the cutting surface.
  • Draw Cutting: Drawing the knife towards you in a controlled manner is effective for precision cutting, especially when creating fine slices or making detailed cuts.
  • Tip Control: Mastering control over the tip of the knife is essential for intricate tasks. Practice guiding the tip with precision for accurate cuts.

Carving Methods: Precision in Action

A man is cutting mushroom with a knife.

Carving is one of the most important skill sets you can have with a knife. The basic carving methods are as follows:

  • Whittling: Whittling involves carving small, controlled cuts to shape wood or other materials. It’s a useful skill for crafting tools or creating tinder for fire starting.
  • Feathering: Feathering is a technique for creating fine curls of wood, often used in fire starting. It requires controlled slicing with the grain of the wood.
  • Notching: Notching involves carving small grooves or notches into materials, a skill useful for creating traps, shelters, or tools in a survival setting.

Practical Tips for Survival Scenarios: Beyond Cutting

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Once you go beyond cutting, there are a number of things that you can use a knife for that will keep you alive in survival scenarios. 

  • Shelter Building: Use your knife to process materials for building shelters. Master techniques such as notching, carving stakes, and shaping branches for a secure and weather-resistant shelter.
  • Food Preparation: From gutting and filleting fish to processing game, a well-honed knife is essential for procuring and preparing food in a survival situation. Practice efficient and safe cutting techniques for various food sources.
  • Fire Starting: In addition to knives with built-in fire starters, use your knife to prepare firewood by splitting or feathering. Mastering these techniques ensures a reliable fire, a crucial element for survival.
  • Tool Crafting: A versatile knife can be used to craft essential tools in the wild. From fashioning cordage to carving simple implements, having a repertoire of tool-making skills broadens your capabilities in the field.

Continuous Improvement: Sharpening and Maintenance

Even the most skilled preppers need to maintain their knives for optimal performance. Regularly sharpen your knife using your preferred technique, whether it’s a whetstone, rod, or sharpening system. Keep the blade clean, dry, and well-oiled to prevent rust and maintain its longevity.

Knife skills are the unsung heroes of the prepper’s toolkit. By mastering essential techniques, preppers enhance their ability to navigate and conquer diverse survival scenarios. From safe-cutting practices to carving methods and practical tips for real-world applications, continuous improvement in knife skills is an investment in preparedness. 

As you embark on your journey to master the edge of survival, remember that the knife is not just a tool; it’s an extension of your capabilities, a versatile ally in the face of the unpredictable challenges that may lie ahead.

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Family

Prepping with Kids: Teaching Your Children Survival Skills

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In the world of prepping, involving the entire family is not just a practical decision—it’s an essential one. Teaching children survival skills not only imparts valuable knowledge but also fosters a sense of resilience and preparedness. Balancing age-appropriate information with practical skills is the key to making prepping a family affair. 

Getting Started Teaching Your Children About Survival Skills

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Start with age-appropriate discussions about preparedness. Tailor the information to the child’s understanding, focusing on the importance of being ready for unexpected situations. Avoid instilling fear but rather emphasize the empowerment that comes with knowledge and preparation.

Conduct family emergency drills to make the learning experience tangible. Practice fire drills, evacuation procedures, and basic first aid. Make it a game by timing each drill and celebrating successful completion, turning what could be a stressful experience into a positive and empowering one.

Teach basic navigation skills through fun activities like treasure hunts or geocaching. Introduce the concept of using a compass or map, turning it into a game that enhances both navigation skills and the ability to communicate effectively in the wild.

Making Survival Skills an Adventure for Children

Plan family camping trips to teach children essential outdoor survival skills in a controlled environment. Teach them how to set up a tent, build a fire safely, and cook simple meals. Use this time to introduce concepts like Leave No Trace ethics and respecting nature.

Involve children in gardening and foraging activities to impart sustainable survival skills. Teach them about edible plants, gardening techniques, and the importance of self-sufficiency. This not only provides practical knowledge but also instills a sense of responsibility toward the environment.

Cooking can be an excellent way to teach children practical survival skills. Demonstrate how to prepare meals using non-perishable or long-lasting ingredients. Discuss food preservation methods like canning or dehydrating and involve them in the process.

Engage in do-it-yourself (DIY) projects that build preparedness tools. Create emergency kits together, incorporating age-appropriate items like a flashlight, whistle, or small first aid supplies. This not only imparts practical knowledge but also instills a sense of ownership over their preparedness.

Use Your Words to Teach Survival Skills to Children

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Incorporate storytelling into the prepping process. Share survival stories, both fictional and real-life, to emphasize the importance of quick thinking, resourcefulness, and preparedness. Discuss the characters’ actions and decisions, encouraging critical thinking in different scenarios.

Create an open environment where children feel comfortable asking questions and expressing curiosity. Encourage them to share their thoughts on preparedness and discuss any concerns they might have. This fosters a preparedness mindset and reinforces the importance of ongoing learning.

Prepping with kids is not just about imparting survival skills; it’s about building resilient families. By balancing age-appropriate discussions with practical activities, families can turn the prepping journey into an engaging and empowering experience for children. 

From outdoor adventures to DIY projects, every activity becomes an opportunity to instill a sense of preparedness, responsibility, and the importance of working together as a family. As you embark on this journey, remember that teaching survival skills to children is not just about preparing for the unknown; it’s about shaping resilient, capable, and confident individuals who can navigate life’s challenges with strength and resourcefulness.

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