I live in Virginia, just a few miles west of Washington, DC. I'm a native of North Dakota and spent six plus years in the Air Force during the Vietnam war.
When I left the service in 1972, I worked for major computer companies providing customer support and project management for large scale systems, moving around the country (Nebraska, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina), then Virginia, where I finally settled my family in 1984.
Although I was a town kid in North Dakota, I spent most of my summers as a youth on relative’s farms during the 1950’s. It was there I had my first experiences seeing blacksmiths repair farm equipment. Although my direct involvement with blacksmithing was limited during my youth, I became interested in forging as I neared the end of my career in Information Technology. I retired from IBM in 2003 and from early 2004 forward my focus has been on grandkids and blacksmithing.
I had become aware of a local blacksmith guild (BGOP) in the late 1990’s (attending a couple of their meetings) through a friend of mine that had set up an anvil and rivet forge for his son. I built a brake drum coal forge and played a little, but my career demands didn't allow for much time for the hobby. I didn’t discover weekend conferences until 2004. After that, I started attending classes and numerous conferences each year up and down the Eastern Seaboard and well into the Midwest. Through those conferences, I found “The best community in the world”, making friends from many states and other countries as well.
I attended several beginner’s classes at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster, MD and was off and running, expanding my skills by practicing what I learned at the classes, conference demonstrations and studying books.
I am an avid amateur blacksmith and give back to the community primarily by making YouTube videos demonstrating many of my various projects. My efforts at the anvil, as with most of us, have been varied in style and scope, ranging from hooks and leaves (where we all start) to candle holders, cowboy hats, small sculptures, garden art and musical instruments.
I have given numerous short demonstrations over the years, some in conjunction with my son, Richard, whom also is a blacksmith enthusiast. Many of my projects in recent years have been chronicled on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/dave.hammer.12
The two air hammers I have built have Facebook group pages.... Cricket Air Hammer and Thumper Air Hammer
1917 and 1918 were mostly been dedicated to designing and building small air hammers, then documenting them to share with other metalworkers so they can build them.