Blacksmith Club

Alexander Vo

At Oregon State University, there are a multitude of organizations that range from Greek Life and religion to politics and engineering. These different clubs can help meet various student interests that they can explore, whether that’s out of curiosity or passion. One of those organizations is the Blacksmith club.

The Blacksmith club was founded in the Fall of 2014. Their initial focus was on participating in a competition called “The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society” (TMS) competition. However, as more members joined the club, the focus of the club shifted, from the competition to teaching students metalworking. With metalworking, the possibilities are endless, virtually limited by the time and effort that each individual member puts into their own projects.

Thomas Wood, the president of the Blacksmith club, elaborated on what the club does and what it stands for.

“The reason the club was initially founded was to compete in the TMS bladesmithing competition. It grew into a little bit more than that, because it used to be a small group of people. When I joined, I was the third member, but now we have a lot of people that contacted us out of interest and are curious about what’s going on.  Most of those people don’t have any experience doing any kind of smithing work, so we’ve set ourselves up now as a kind of teaching club. You could say our second goal is to spread that knowledge around a little bit and help people make things for themselves.”

Blacksmithing is not an easy task. It takes time and energy to complete and the skills necessary may not be understood right away. Some members enter the club with little to no experience, but others may have vast experience in different areas of the blacksmith process. However, the results of the work becomes that much more satisfying when you’re rewarded with a physical representation of the time you spent working on the piece of metalwork.

“It’s going to take a long time to make something that’s beautiful or functional. But the amount of satisfaction you get out of making something like that is proportional to how much work you put into it. It’s an incredibly satisfying thing to pour a bunch of time and energy into something like that, and have it come out as a finished functional piece,” Wood said.

From a competition to a teaching club, the blacksmith club aims to help students meet their metalworking interests and enhance the skills necessary to pursue larger projects that they can work on, while also participating in the bi-annual TMS competition. If a student spends enough time at the forge and their skills grow, they can eventually plan and design their own metalwork piece that they’d like to make, or even join one of two blacksmith competition teams that are set up.

Lucas Teeter, one of the founding members of the Blacksmith club, also helped summarize what the club does and what the expectation is for joining.

“We exist to provide a safe and instructive place, or an opportunity for people who are interested in working with metal. Anyone who’s interested, they’re more than welcome to give it a try. However, if you wanna get good at it, you gotta put in more time.”

Forging and metalworking takes time and students will need to put in the time and effort to create the pieces they want to make. With more practice, students can expect their skills to grow and that means they can branch out in terms of what they make and what they can do with the tools as hand. Members will still want to plan and design what they want to do, one they gain the skills necessary to work the forge and make their own things.

“I’d say, if you’re interested, the best thing you can do is to look at videos of those people [Blacksmiths] doing amazing things, watching for what kinds of techniques they’re using, doing your research on what kind of products you’d be interested in making,” Teeter said.

Blacksmith club is an opportunity to hone your skills and potentially craft bigger and better products, depending on what you want to make. The club is also a space for students that have a general interest in what it is and how it works. There’s no restrictions on member entry, so any student, whether they have little to no experience or years of it, can join at any time.

The Blacksmith club meets on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.. The meeting spot is located in the basement of Rogers Hall.

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