Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Two…




Fenn Bronze

When I retired from the Air Force in Lubbock, on September 6th, 1970, my routine had been to arise about 0430 and go teach students how to fly airplanes. So when I got out of bed on the morning of the 7th, my wife asked, “Where are you going?” The question was a shock and I suddenly realized that I didn’t have any place to go. So I got back under the covers and started pondering the future of my family.

My retirement pay was 800 bucks a month, and I had a wife and two young daughters to support. Necessity wets the wits of the inexperienced and that meant I had to move quickly.


The Babysitter was cast in 6 pieces and put together with a heliarc

My hobby was casting art bronze. I did it by running a natural gas line from the fireplace in our living room, through the kitchen and pantry, and into our garage. That’s where I melted and poured the metal. I was a one-person operation. Could I turn it into a living, I wondered?

My foundry equipment was homemade. I powered the melting furnace with a vacuum cleaner motor, and, by welding in my front yard, I created the lifting tongs and the pouring shanks.

My wife and I decided to go for it and see what would happen. She would tend the house and the kids, and I would finance the operation.

So I hired two guys and rented an old, abandoned grain elevator in town. My idea had little to offer but some promise … and a whole lot of exertion.


The pyrometer measured the bronze temperature. We wanted 1850 degrees Fahrenheit


Lifting molten bronze from the furnace


Pouring bronze into the molds

Pouring bronze into the molds





Soon, I was casting work for artists who couldn’t pay. They wanted to settle up when they sold their bronzes that they couldn’t sell. That twist started me thinking. I could make the castings at very little cost if I didn’t count my labor. So I started buying the artists’ original wax models and casting editions for myself.


Original wax model by George Dabich


Applying liquid patina to a bronze

That should have solved the problem, but I quickly realized that I couldn’t sell the bronzes either. So I learned to trade. It was easy to make deals with traders who had antique guns and Indian things that they couldn’t sell. After months of working all day long and most of the night, I still didn’t have any money. But I had a nice inventory of Indian baskets, rugs, Winchester rifles, and Colt pistols. I was like the rich man who had all of his money in a safe and couldn’t find the key.

My wife and I lived that life for two years until we moved to Santa Fe where we slept on the floor and built a foundry – and an art gallery. Peggy was my rock and mortar.

Lots of doubts and insecurities were felt during those building years. We learned early on to stop looking for reasons why something couldn’t be done, and to just go do it! And I have never been sorry.


155 thoughts on “Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Two…

    • I wanted to pipe in here and say that I LOVE THIS!! I am fascinated by the HOW successful people got successful, as opposed to what they did when they were there.

      I asked this question to Forrest years ago, and I’m so glad he has decided to tell us the secrets to his success. Thanks Forrest! Keep ’em coming, and don’t think you’re boring us for a second.

      I would buy the heck out of a book that was “How I Saved My First $1,000 and Turned It Into My First $1 Million”. I love these stories.

  1. The Baby sitter is beautiful Forrest……It doesn’t surprise me that you were a success. Just do it … I love that motto….. Nike wasn’t the first one to say that. They probably heard you say that and used it for their shoes.

  2. Forrest you must have a crystal ball. Recently I started buying broken laptops.
    Some of their problems are easy fixes, others require a little more work. So I have invested in a rework station. All I lack now is that one person that is supportive and willing to give it a go. Like you and Peggy I am rich man that lost the key to the safe. I refuse to allow that to stop me though.

    And you say you have no talent? Not in my book. It takes talent to get it right even in the face of adversity. In a way I admire you. Not because you have money, not because you hide a chest. I admire you because you stood your ground and became successful.

    From my heart I say thank you for showing me that a person can be successful with some elbow grease and creative thinking.

  3. Sounds like we are getting a good lesson here on hard work and persistence and being ‘moldable’? 🙂 Never give up!! Adapt and overcome. Hmmm……..?? Also resonates with this chase……….

    “I was like the rich man who had all of his money in a safe and couldn’t find the key.” — I like that. 🙂 I too am searching for a key.

  4. Thanks Mr. Fenn, I needed your story about now. Kind of in the same boat of leaving the service and now looking to starting a new chapter. The bronze pieces are sweet. I’ve got a bell I’ve recently cast. It’s in the shape of a pear. I Haven’t cut the gating system of off it yet or cleaned it up but it looks pretty good. Since starting this quest I actually became intrigued with your bronze casting and have taken classes and it is a new hobby. You have done more of just get me out into nature and the why of life again, but have sparked the creative and curious aspects of an artist once again with your riddle. Thank you.

    • This story is very inspiring, and gives you some insight on why Mr. Fenn has been so successful. “Stop looking for reasons why something couldn’t be done, and to just go do it!”

    • I agree, Amy. Forrest never quits does he! I found something that we both have in common. We both like playing with fire! When I was younger all the scouts in the troop called me “j.c. arson”. Now I know where the name Forrest FIRE comes from. 🙂
      This is where I would post a YouTube link to the Polar Express movie Hot Chocolate scene, but it’s taking to long to load. My kids were watching that just before Christmas. I’m thinking of that because it’s really cold outside and some hot chocolate sounds really good right now.

  5. Working with hot metals would be a hot job in Texas. Could that be part of why Forrest moved to Santa Fe. Could write a country song about rags to riches or being rich but no money in the bank… 🙂

  6. Humble beginnings. Great Story. Make your dreams a reality. This brings to mind the song The Impossible Dream from Man of La Macha. I love how much you love Peggy and give her credit where credit is due…

  7. Aviator, artist, scientist, inventor, trader, entrepreneur, collector, author, and apparently quite talented at all. Wow Forrest! You have been successful at everything you put your mind to, and more so because Peggy believed in you.

    Great story about overcoming the odds with a positive attitude, adaptability, fortitude, and a supportive wife. The Fenn Foundry photos are terrific and your story inspirational. Thank you for sharing it at this time.

    • Hi 42
      You have captured Mr. Fenn’s talents nicely. He reminds me of a sturdy old oak tree with branches in all directions and a mind like an iron trap. I continue to be amazed and I still wonder just how much talent Mr. Fenn contains. Sometimes I think he has amassed the talent that would take upwards of eight or ten people to match. It is also great to see that Mr. Fenn recognizes and appreciates the support of friends and family in All that he has accomplished. Just do it for sure, but you can’t always do it alone and if you have enough support, I suppose the talent will rise more easily to the surface and unlock the creative juices that flow within. His stories suggest to me that the people in his life are the keys to his safe and these treasures are something be holds dear.

      • Hi Windsurfer, supportive people always make a difference – in outwardly noticeable ways and in meaningful, inspirational ones as well. Thanks for being an encourager yourself.

  8. I’m excited to have my sons read your story Forrest – to understand what it takes to turn creative dreams into a reality and source of income. Well lived!

    • Forrest, I once visited a foundry in Arizona and was surprised that bronze is a shiny brass color before a patina is applied. If memory serves, most bronzes are patinized rather than painted. If you have time will you tell us about that process and the colors resulting from various chemicals?
      Thank you.

      • Lia, foundries today can give an artist almost any color patina they want. I was limited pretty much to brown and green, or both at the same time, which meant liver of sulfur, which reacted into a nice brown color, and cupric nitrate and cupric sulfate, which reproduced green. I had to learn that barometric pressure and temperature made a huge difference when applying chemicals to a bronze sculpture.

        Once I purchased a dime-size chunk of ferric nitrate, wrapped it in aluminum foil, and placed it on the seat of my car in the sun. The three elements, sun, aluminum, and ferric nitrate reacted together and the fool chunk burst into flame. I had to stop the car and douse it with my Dr. Pepper. In this life one is forced to continue learning whether they like it or not. f

        • Forrest, thanks Sir. It’s such an interesting process, and so is your life! We appreciate all that you and Mrs. Fenn represent and share publically. You are both an inspiration!!!

        • Your last sentence made me laugh very hard! 🙂

          I was thinking how sometimes that learning must come very fast.

          Just curious Forrest, when did you switch from Grapette to Dr. Pepper?

  9. Forrest Fenn’s life, to me, is just another great example of The American Dream and how with a little bit of hard work and determination and of course imagination, one can overcome the odds and achieve success.

    And I can’t think of a better person to have put something out there for all of us to look for that represents not only this, but also the reality and idea of living a life of adventure and exploration and enjoying everything that is around us as full as possible. It’s a small compact and wonderful story in history and in a glimpse of one families life that is inspiring and is just such a great story!!

    This land we call home may have its flaws at times and there will always be moments in it that we will be ashamed of or don’t agree with, but I can’t think of a better place to live here on planet earth in which we do have the degree of freedom and possibilities that exist for each of us. Not always a beautifully painted past, but a lot of it does have a rich history. We are a work in progress. So much to learn……. and learn from, but still no place I’d rather be. 🙂 And regardless if anyone ever finds the chest full of gold, it will always represent more than that and is bigger than that. And I think many of us have come to appreciate that. I know I have. …..But it would be nice to find it …..wouldn’t it!! For that could also be a great story added to one of our lives. Either way, it’s a win win I believe. And I think Mr. Fenn knew this when he hid it. The treasure is great, and could change ones life, but the idea behind it, the philosophy, is even better……….

    Thank you sir.

    “My retirement pay was 800 bucks a month, and I had a wife and two young daughters to support. Necessity wets the wits of the inexperienced and that meant I had to move quickly.” — Dang I like that!! What a great thought. 🙂

  10. Forrest, some ideas may be a long shot, but what if….just what if, it payed off? I think that is some of the message you are trying to convey to the people in this world, and if no one else on Earth understands your hopes, know as you are laying down to sleep at night, that I do.

    • Iron will, my steely determination understands your me(n)tal position. Thank you. Here on the chase we all dream at a shot, albeit remote, of finding Mr. Fenn’s treasure. This network of friends is a wealth of support because of our commonality of purpose, especially as family support wanes.

      • That is a great thought 42. If only we knew reality from fiction which gets more and more difficult every day for me. Any thoughts on that?

        • Wind, hmm…
          Not sure where your thoughts are. Heres reality definition so we are on the same page.

          The quality or state of being actual or true.
          One, such as a person, an entity, or an event, that is actual.

          Relating to or being a genre of television or film in which a storyline is created by editing footage of people interacting or competing with one another in unscripted, unrehearsed situations.

          in reality
          In fact; actually.

          reality principle
          In psychoanalysis the satisfaction of instinctual needs through awareness of and adjustment to environmental demands.

          virtual reality
          A computer simulation of a real or imaginary system that enables a user to perform operations on the simulated system and shows the effects in real time.

          reality check
          An assessment to determine if one’s circumstances or expectations conform to reality.

          😉 By the way, in my life fiction is usually more dreams are such a blast – that I can walk in reality daily while enjoying my reveries!! Although I don’t understand, Im not hearing voices yet! Lol. yes, I would rather hold the treasure in my actual hands and talk with Forrest face to face to ask what his hopes and plans are for the treasure. Right now that’s a reality check 🙂

          • 42, Thank yo. I like the noun so IF you are a noun, you interested in taking on a search together? I think I will be in need of some big hearts and small ladylike hands.

  11. Forrest, I think you just might inspire a few folks to take the leap to pursue their dreams and start their own business. That’s a wonderful gift. As the old adage goes “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Having run several businesses myself, I know that it must have been very challenging for you at times, but that is what makes the success even sweeter. So much is learned from the times that are less than successful that even those moments are incredibly valuable. I’ve always tried to encourage folks to strike out on their own–why wait for a job to come along when you can make your own? The most difficult step usually is the first one– making the simple decision to “go for it”. Forrest, thanks for being such a positive role model for so many.

  12. spallies,

    I also found a couple of things that are different. In TTOTC he was making 12,000 a year in retirement pay, the 800 a month does not work out to be the same. I also do not remember him starting up both a gallery and a foundry in Santa Fe. Probably nothing, but you never know.
    Fred Y.

  13. Wow, Forrest, another delightful and inspirational story…IMO, you need to get your life story out there to a wider audience. Dal, aren’t you writing his biography? which then can be turned into a screen play and movie. You implied in your books that you struggled in school and grew up believing you weren’t book-smart…but look what you were able to accomplish in your adult life! I currently know a boy who also struggles in school, and I think of you, and I try to encourage him to hang in there because there are all sorts of possibilities after high school. You proved that with lots of imagination and hard work, anything is possible…thanks again for this wonderful story.

    • Channing Tatum and Brad Pitt will have to arm wrestle for the leading man position in a movie about the Fenns. I’m not sure Hollywood has a saint beautiful enough to represent Peggy. A well matched couple in both dreams and support are an endearing, unstoppable team!

  14. I love the George Dabich wax. I would love to have it. It is so strong and uplifting. I have no Native American figures but would love to start a late collection. I have a few Martha and George Washington figurines I collect. I have gotten them from flea markets and such places. You have taught us all to never give up and strive for what we want … We can achieve anything with smarts, determination and hard work and to never give up just believe and think it through….. You are a masterful witty CHARACTER Mr. Fenn we all salute you!! You make us want to go out and try anything , even maybe Search for a treasure chest!!! Who would have thunk it. Happy New Year this is the year one of us will find that bronze lock box and take it home to see what is inside. The race, I mean chase, IS ON!!!

  15. Thank you for sharing your start up story. Everything great starts small and remains flexible but determined. I’m inspired to keep working hard to make things happen for my business each day, even if people don’t yet understand the value of the service I’m offering. I can always barter for lunch and dinner until they do and pay the rent with my other technology skills. Everybody needs their rock and mortar person, so cheers to Peggy for being that one for you.

  16. I turned 18 in 1970 not far from where you were. In 1970 eight hundred bucks a month was pretty good money. It would be stretching things to start a business and hire employees on that amount. I admire that you decided to pursue something completely different than what you knew how to do……I would think most guys that were highly decorated aviators and experienced instructors would go into aviation where you would be a big dog and could start at the top of the ladder not on the bottom rung sleeping on the floor.

    I always liked the Santa Fe area but never cared much for Santa Fe itself. Nothing but bums, over priced food, and hippy artist there. It’s hard to imagine a hard nose aviator and foundry worker getting along with all the hippies. Saying you ruffled a few feathers is probably an understatement.

    I wonder if you could have pulled it off today with all the regulations, taxes, and fees that burden entrepreneurs these days without ending up in jail or court being sued by every environmentalist and fat head bureaucrat on the planet.

    Folks like you and Peggy are what made this country great. I doubt there are many wives and mothers willing to sleep on the floor and work 25 hours a day to help achieve a dream……..I salute both of you.

  17. Most highly experienced aviators upon retirement, could have started working 7 days a week for any major airlines.
    Combine that salary with 800$ a month and I don’t think anyone would be sleeping on the floor.
    Except Forrest would be working to make the airline successful and not seeing his family.

  18. The scrapbooks of Mr. Fenn? Fascinating to say the least. For many of us, the ones with open eyes and caring hearts, shouldn’t we also be sharing the same gifts that Mr. Fenn has so adeptly shared with us? It takes one man to open a door so many may enter. This treasure is bigger than anyone can imagine and it’s just through the next door so never be afraid to knock on the door. After all its already been opened once. Thank you Mr. Fenn

  19. I can’t resist a few puns and entendres… Forrest chased Ms. Peggy, but we all know she found Forrest, kept him grounded while he founded his Texas foundry on the grounds of looking quickly down the pipeline for treasures bold while boldly chasing his newfound dreams, casting rods of bronze and melding the seams.

  20. Wind, I’m interested in partnering on a search team with big hearts. My family has all but committed me and lost belief that I have a shot. Proofs in the pudding w/my guys. Would be so fun to say to my naysayers: see, my time was well spent, I found it! Two true friends are still at my side, so to speak. Let me know, my current revised solve has coordinates and a lot of promise, just haven’t had time Yet to completely prove it against the poem. The big rocks are all in place and I plan to spend Jan and Feb in the furnace refining my solution.

    • 42,

      I too am finalizing my latest solve. Third time thru. One – the location, Two – The Extraction, Three – The Lock. I believe I have solved the first two, but 67% from the line doesn’t cut it in the NBA and this Chase demand 100% accuracy. Btw…my wife won a raffle and my daughter and I sat courtside, center court at the Nuggets game last Friday. Sat just a few seats down from Emanuel Sanders of Broncos fame…how cool is that!!

      If I can feel 100% confident, do you think Mindy, of white teeth fame, would join us? I have a small family so adding to it would be nice.

      Also, I am never so proud to think I have it all solved….particularly after so many failures. So, keep refining in your furnace.

      • Okay then Mindy… Wind, me, you and a dog named Boo traveling and a livin off the land!

        I’m more of a wiseacre than wise, but thanks.

  21. Wind, I like you… but you just told me getting the chest out is like having a tooth pulled and not being able to escape the stupid dentist office without knowing his combination lock! Don’t play with dental terminology or I’m extracting myself!! Location, I may just have it. I’ll Bring my six pack son, a 6 knot rope and sand wedge to extract the chest. You better show up,with the combination to the gate or there will be no Peace Out as I give you a toothless tongue lashing.

    • Man …I mean woman…you are tough. I am working on the combo. All I can say at this point is that we will need at least two lady like hands, which I can provide….and even that is all conjecture. My solve so far get’s it to the surface…after that…needs more work. Your six pack son hopefully with guns fully loaded will be useful. We may need more than a six knot rope and a sand wedge….check the book. As far as the gate, I always take the narrow path to avoid crowds which I dislike as much as snakes.

        • Mindy, you are already so cute. Don’t come gussied up or you’ll make me look bad in the victory photo. Of course we can ask Forrest to photo shop it and make me look younger!

          • 42,
            I never gussy up. In our victory photo, I’ll be wearing jeans, a t shirt, and wet mud. My hair will looked as though it’s been licked by a giraffe. Lol

      • Get it to the surface Wind and my young gun six pack son can lift or carry 42lbs of anything. Mindy and my ladylike hands will be glad to model the jewelry

        • Say Ah 42,

          If it were only 42 lbs we wouldn’t need your six pack son beyond a bit of Windmilling. Potentially, think 42 X xxxxxxxx, at least based on my current thinking…which could be wrong…hence my query on the talents of one Mr. Fenn. Oh, and I am not sure your mouth is open wide enough to extract it fully…

          Rest assured, I will take a recon trip to sort some of this out so as not to embark on yet another wild goose chase. Well, I don’t mind, but I do not want to waste other peoples time and resources. If I am correct, it will require all of our efforts in unison.

  22. Now, that’s a Scrapbook I needed to hear. I am facing some of those decisions myself…just wondering about possibilities without ever taking a step forward. I think I have a lot to offer a busy orthopedic office somewhere (say…Albuquerque), especially after working with such a top notch surgeon here.
    I know I’m always bragging about how tough we girls are, but when it comes to uprooting a family without the help of a husband or significant other, I feel the edges of the terror of the unknown come creeping up behind me like a spider on my back.

    Anyway, maybe now is the time to take a step, beef up my resume, and shoot for the stars.

    On another note, I swear Forrest has access to the websites I visit regarding the chase. Yesterday, I learned all about metalsmithing and foundries. I found some interesting things, too. One of them being that the “chase” may not involve running, or finding, or hunting.

  23. Windsurfer, Mindy and 42

    Really, that’s 3 brains against one 🙂
    I hope I have a shot at this.
    Mmmmm just about 5 months away that’s Toooooo long 🙂

    • Amy,

      Can you sneak up and lasso Cody? I think you can so C’mon. Hope you have a long lariat with some teeth. Oh, I only have half a brain, but it will require at least 3 resolves…and I only have two so far so don’t count your chickens….

      For those who think this ends whey you find the chest, I believe that is where the real fun starts. Think ancient lock box. Unlocked, key inside, unable to open without the correct ….Just my humble opinion.

      • Wind, ya know that we both share the same chase philosophy which is: always search a beautiful area so that you are never disappointed in not finding the treasure. So, Who is picking the search area? And has our philosophy changed to not giving a rip about the view since we expect to haul the 42xx lb. treasure? Of course we can consult Mindy if we are at an impass of colo vs mont.

        • 42,

          My philosophy has not changed. My latest spot is intriguing to me, I find it worthy of exploration and it has some sentimental value as well. As I indicated, I will do a recon visit if and when I ever see temps above zero again. LOL! I truly believe Mr. Fenn, when he states that the poem leads “precisely” to the treasures location and I am aiming to mean with the precision of a Swiss Watch. Hopefully, your furnace is developing such precision as well.

          • Windsurfer, sounds like you are more exacting in solving clues ing than I am. Although my precision in reading thru online bull
            c?#p has sharpened a bit after being taken for a sucker (see Tamara’s remark) in past searches. I know you have expressed something similar about being wrong many times. I won’t be easily swayed without working out exact details by phone or face to face. Fair enough?

          • 42,

            I think everyone likes to drive home their own solutions and I am no different in this regard. I have learned over time to strive for precision to a specific location and spot within that location by grinding through the poem over and over and over again. The grinding is the part that I really do best within the confines of my own mind. The activities in the field can be enjoyed by many and I am inclined to believe that retrieving the chest will require many…I just cannot determine exactly how many at this point. I have done all my searches up until this recent revelation on my own thinking if Mr. Fenn hid the treasure alone, then it should be able to be retrieved alone. I think this may be flawed thinking on both counts. I currently believe that a significant amount of logistics and planning are involved and plenty of field work to boot. Unless the final pieces can be solved, it makes little sense to try even if the location is correct in my view. As I indicated, I believe the extraction process is a bear.

            This all my latest thinking of course which is likely flawed, but this hopefully gives you some idea as to the way I am wired. I agree with you that convincing each other of viable solves is extremely difficult particularly when my batting average is zero and going lower every day.LOL! You shouldn’t feel like a sucker though. I do it all with a smile on even though it does feel at times that I am being played. This time may be no different, but feels different.

            I will be grinding away during these winter months striving for that Swiss watch precision and suggest you and Mindy do the same. Then we can see what our confidence levels measure up to be when the snow begins to thaw.

    • I believe I was framing my comment in the identical frame you were 42. You were referring to the “Bass” as was I. The Bass would probably consider it preferrable to be called a “cold fish ” rather than a “sucker”. But then—perhaps neither of us should be projecting as to how the Bass should feel about any label that ff attaches to her. Perhaps ff, as a gentleman, should ask her whether she minds being thought of and referred to as a fish on hook?

      • Tamara, thanks for clarifying the butter before dipping and eating the fish. I’ve no idea what I just said – but after being laughed at once too often by family and on one occasion called sucker on the blog it makes me want to bail out of this poker game and forget spending more time or exposure on a public blog for a treasure Fenn would ideally like to remain hidden for a thousand years. Hope that makes some sense.

        • Are you the Bass? In that case, the sucker comment was meant for you. And you have reason to take umbrage. If you have reasonable doubt whether you are said Bass. The sucker comment was not meant for you. Stay or go as you will, but don’t hang it on a comment meant for someone else.

    • Wind, fair enough. I’ll work hard to solve the poem as precisely as my brain allows. My location won’t change but I’ve work to do in determining exact spot and extraction. Can you send me whatever dental thingy tool pulls teeth? Maybe it will help with clue extractions. We can decide how to best compare notes in the spring. Until then I’m looking forward to sunshine and powder snow.

      • Wind and 42–sounds good to me. I’m trying to get everything I’ve learned organized in a way we can most easily compare notes and hone in on a location. I think between the three of us, we will be able to go with confidence when the stars align for our trip.

        My intuition tells me that the 3 of us hold a lot of the same outlook on life and living. So although we our still strangers in the broad sense, I think we also share a kind of kinship.

        I’ve made my Facebook page public in an attempt to open my book for all to read.

        I also have a blog out there in Internet land that I haven’t updated in quite a while but from 2011 or 2012, it was updated nearly every day. Only a few people know about it–my closest friends–but I’m pretty sure anyone can find it if they look hard enough. A lot of that blog in the recent years is painful for me to read.

        I want to start a new blog, and I will probably start it tomorrow.

        I feel the old blog represents an old chapter of my life and sometimes it’s best to slam the screen door and start anew–

      • 42,

        I sometimes do my best thinking when getting my hair cut or walking the dog when no one else is around to bother me. Sometimes the barber can be a bit verbose, but when he asks how I want my hair cut and I say….FAST…he gets the message. Or you can just wear a hat like Mr. Fenn…I think he is hiding something.

  24. 42

    Lol right,

    I think my brain is overloaded due to research. I think I may have a clue. In fact I feel like I know the whole poem and what it means.

    Y’all go ahead without me it’s probably in Wyoming or Montana
    I have Colorado covered 😉 !!!!!

    Oh and Good Luck 🙂

  25. Windsurfer, 42, Mindy, oh how I envy you 3 :). Sounds like you guys are planning on having fun, and getting the job done! To see something beautiful with a friend makes it even more so…

    • NearIndiana, for the record, Windsurfer and Mindy are in reality strangers, but I sure like their online friendship and am game to work together on reeling in the treasure and meeting Mr. Fenn! Now, who knows if our search areas will align with the stars.

  26. “On another note, I swear Forrest has access to the websites I visit regarding the chase. Yesterday, I learned all about metalsmithing and foundries. I found some interesting things, too. One of them being that the “chase” may not involve running, or finding, or hunting.”

    ForrestFire, is this true? Do you do this?

    • Never is my guess SweetTea. My guess is that is that he is such a gentleman, he would only do that with private, personal information that he requested from you first. He loves to give “feedback” me thinks.

    • Chasing is a huge part of bronze work. The chaser grinds off the seams and touches up the texture, and corrects any missed spots from air bubbles during the pour.

  27. Many years ago I was given a gift of a bronze Mercury. Right after the Mercury was broken right below his foot. I had forgotten all about it until reading your latest story. It has taken me all day but finally I found it. It is still broken but I would love to get it fixed. Would you possibly refer me to someone who could fix it for me. As far as I can tell it wouldn’t take much to adhere him back onto his pedestal. I have held onto him for over 30 years. You have triggered memories and brought things to my attention from my past and I appreciate that so much.Sometimes memories are all some of us have left and being reminded of one is like a treasure! I was invited to dinner by someone I hadn’t seen in a long time. I had given them a painting that I had painted. While walking through their hallway I saw the painting hanging on a wall in one of the rooms. I did not even recognize it but did comment on how I liked it. Then I was told who the artist was. It was a pleasant surprise but made me worry about my memory. Its wonderful to be reminded sometimes.

  28. Jack of all trades!!! If it wasn’t art I’m sure you would have found some other thing to make a living with. A determined man who lets nothing get in his way.I wish I had your stamina..Up and at it!!!
    I love the babysitter would look great next to my Bear and her cub.

  29. OMG Something just clicked. As soon as I get well I must take a road trip. A place that I have gone to for the past 3 years to walk has given me an idea. I must check it out!!!

    • No fair Dewey..
      You can’t just say something…”has given me an idea. I must check it out!!!” without telling us more…
      What place?
      What idea?
      Let us know because maybe we are closer than you are and can check it out for you…ha!!

  30. I remember a metal working class I took back when I was in middle school in Aurora Colorado. We were each given a choice of several different pre-made wax forms which we mounted on another stub of wax and put them in a tube. We then slowly filled the mold with a hard plaster, lightly tapping the side of the mold to make sure all the tiny air bubbles would be released from next to the wax mold. After it set up it was put into a kiln to melt out and burn off every trace of the wax (hence the lost wax technique). I chose a ring. I remember it had raised markings on the side. If I rember right we cast it in silver. Casting was done by setting a centrifuge and then melting a sufficient amount of metal till it was liquid and then firing the centrifuge to force the liquid into every crevice of the mold. After it was cast I was hoping to have a contrast to make the markings stick out and my instructor suggested adding a patina. I am sure Forrest would know off the top of his head which one but it escapes me now. I do remember that to apply it I needed to heat the ring up fairly hot before I could apply it. Unfortunately I got it ever so slightly too hot and warped the ring a bit. Overall it came out nice, though I could always tell where that little dent was melted into it.

  31. Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought. – Matsuo Basho

    My present and future reads like your past. We are kindred spirits, Forrest and I believe someday our paths will cross.

  32. Did anyone else notice how the original word was Celsius in the picture caption and now it is Fahrenheit… I print all Forrest’s scrapbooks and other stories and keep them in a binder. I went back and looked and this word has been changed.

    “The pyrometer measured the bronze temperature. We wanted 1850 degrees Fahrenheit”

    Does anyone else think this is a clue or hint? Like maybe a place or location name having to do with something temperature related? or number related? 0 or 32 for freezing temps or 100 or 212 for boiling temps?

    • I noticed. I think if you look at the whole post, it relates to military time. 1850 is 6:50. The only metal that has an optimal heating temperature of 650 degrees Celsius is Magnesium. Which is interesting.

      • Hmmm…that is interesting. Another thing regarding the possible clues related to Celsius versus Fahrenheit is taking the altitude/elevation of Santa Fe into consideration. The boiling point of water decreases as the elevation from sea level increases, so with Santa Fe being around 7000 ft in elevation, water would boil there around 199 degrees, I think. But I can’t make that number work for any of my solves…will continue to ponder this…until March or longer considering this extreme cold streak and snowfall amount in the mountains north of Santa Fe.

      • I had not noticed that but I did ask my husband last night what the melting temp of bronze was as he knows a bit about this… he said I would have to Google it… I didn’t until now and I got ” 950 °C (1,742 °F)”. So I guess shooting for 1850 degrees Fahrenheit would be where you need to be to make sure the bronze melts… Allowing for any cool down once you put the piece in? Maybe it was an innocent typo???

      • Mindy,

        I like the way you think. I believe to extract hints from Mr. Fenn sometimes requires using 8 degrees of Kevin Bacon techniques. Not sure if it’s 6,8 or 12 or something in between but you get the gist.

        How about this. Fahren = Driving or Carry
        Heit = health

        So driving-health = safe travels
        carry health = safe pregnancy
        driving hite = drive high = drive for show, putt for doe
        carry hite = carry high = not ready for birth yet.

        Check all the angles. Where’s that German Guy when you need him. Sometimes these techniques actually make sense but not very often I must admit.

  33. Peggy let you run a gas line through her kitchen and pantry???? She is truly a Saint! 🙂 Great pictures of your early foundry. I enjoyed reading how you turned your hobby into a business but am wondering how you started your hobby in the first place. Did you apprentice to someone or did you take a class?

    The foundry business is very interesting and it was fascinating visiting the foundry of our friend, Doug Van Howd, who casts his own art work, even the monumental ones like “The Way of the Grizzly” which is located in front of the Yellowstone Historic Center in West Yellowstone.

  34. “My wife and I lived that life for two years until we moved to Santa Fe where we slept on the floor and built a foundry – and an art gallery. Peggy was my rock and mortar.

    Lots of doubts and insecurities were felt during those building years. We learned early on to stop looking for reasons why something couldn’t be done, and to just go do it! And I have never been sorry.”

    Before the $100 bets were made…a good reminder as I build my own business.

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