Episode #44 – Jerry Frost – “Frosty the Lucky and his T burner”

Jerry Frost is a hobby blacksmith who goes by the handle “Frosty the Lucky” on the I Forge Iron Forum online. He currently lives in Wasilla, Alaska where he’s the president of the Association of Alaskan Blacksmiths. Frost has been a hobby smith since he was a child. His main interests in life are metalwork, people, puns and bad jokes.

repairing log tong Jer_shindig3 Doxie face01

What We Talked About

  • Jerry got into blacksmithing because his father was a metal spinner and a machinist. Some of his earliest memories are of his dad doing work at home on a metal spinning lathe in Southern California.
  • His dad actively discouraged him from blacksmithing by telling him to “learn a paying trade.” But Frost continued as a hobbyist for fun and as a fallback skill.
  • He was also influenced by 1960s show “Have Gun Will Travel” where the main character is stranded and takes iron from a wagon wheel to make weapons and clothes. Frost loved that kind of ingenuity.
  • Another early memory is he would go out in the back yard to make very rudimentary knives without parental supervision.
  • Now he has 30’ x 40 red iron steel shop building. His tools include a cutoff saw, a horizontal/vertical bandsaw, hand grinders, two anvils and a power hammer.
  • Jerry became disabled in 2009 while cutting firewood in his backyard. He was hit by a falling tree and received multiple injuries including a broken neck and traumatic brain injury. He survived, hence his nickname “Frosty the Lucky”.
  • He mainly works with a propane forge and he has created the “Frosty T-Burner” that he says is simple to build. Here is a written and illustrated instruction manual to help people build these burners T Burner Directions finished (1). He enjoys mentoring and helping others through the I Forge Iron forum online, where he is a beloved and prolific community member.
  • Jerry belongs to the Association of Alaskan Blacksmiths. He helped organized it as a new chapter almost 10 years ago and was elected president for what he thought was a 2 year term. However, he has now been elected president for life. He jokingly calls it “a life sentence with no chance of parole.”
  • The club is currently going through a growth spurt with many new, young professional blacksmiths joining. Some people travel 300-400 miles to attend meetings.
  • Frost came to Alaska because his older brother lived there. He always wanted to live in a cabin in the woods after growing up in LA. He got a job at a service station and did some construction work. Then worked for the state inspecting asphalt trucks.
  • Frost always enjoys getting together with other blacksmiths to work together, chat, eat pizza and invent tools. He and some friends recently invented a new kind of scrolling wrench, which he describes.
  • Victoria: What blacksmith would you like to learn from, dead or alive?
    • Jerry says he’s learned something from every blacksmith he’s ever watched. But he would like to work with Thomas Powers, another member of I Forge Iron. “So many people out there know so much that I don’t. I like to learn new stuff, I love the learning curve”.

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2 thoughts on “Episode #44 – Jerry Frost – “Frosty the Lucky and his T burner”

  1. What a FUN pod-cast! I’ve heard most (but not all!) of these stories before – it seems Frosty didn’t mention having a wife … sorry, ladies, he’s spoken for . Has been for the past 19 years. Like, I am sure, most metal worker’s wives; I have some of the nicest wrought-iron hanging plant and bird-feeder holders (shaped like branches and vines – too cool), hand-forged barn hinges and door handles, coat hooks galore, of course … and even a couple of really nice copper/enameled pendant necklaces. What more could a woman want, eh? 😉

    My favorite hand-forged pieces, though, have got to be the lovely and highly USEFUL custom drum carder “doffers” Jer created for me the year before his TBI accident (the little metal Dachshund in the photo you have is the handle for one of those doffers). I really treasure the two I kept. He made about a dozen of these spinning/carding tools for me to sell (along with my home-spun yarns and custom-carded wool batts) at local spinning retreats/workshops. They were a big hit and sold like hotcakes. Did I mention that Jer likes to refer to us as a “Steel/Wool” couple? Another of his puns. 😉

    I’m pretty sure it was fun for him to be able to share all these great memories and stories with his friends, and you can sure tell how proud he is of that propane burner he spent so many years developing. I’ve seen him help other smiths and metal workers set these burners up – they really do work as well as he claims. BTW; Victoria, you did a good job at keeping the rambling to a minimum!

    I could add several great photos to your collection here – photos of his old “lean-to” forge shop back before he built his shop, working at his propane forge, one of Frosty with his first apprentice (Richard Pitts … I think he is still an IForge member – and a wonderful young man, husband and father more than 10 years later). Jer took Richard under his blacksmithing “wing” when he was 15 years old and taught him metal working up until Richard went off to the Navy after High School graduation. He was like a second son to us. Jer has had several talented apprentices since then, but I remember Richard the best (and most fondly).

    Thanks again for doing this pod-cast! It was fun to listen to. 🙂

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