I filled the two empty tanks on Friday at a cost of 30$. I am very happy to have found a place to blacksmith, especially during the cold winter months and at night. However, paying $80 a month was a little bit hard to swallow. If that turns into $95 dollars a month, or $110 a month, or however many tanks I end up having to replace, that becomes a serious drain on our budget. One of the things my wife liked about the idea behind this place was that it was a nice regular number, which helps with budgeting.
Maybe we should open up a discussion about possible solutions for this problem. Here are a few of my ideas.
I understand the policy in the rest of the shop is to pay for your own materials. The wood shop does not provide wood, or screws, or paint. Therefor it makes sense that we provide our own stock steel and would follow that we do the same for the propane that the forges consume. But the wood shop does -not- make you replace dulled saw blades, or router bits, or even charge you to replace a sawstop. That’s why the wood room is exclusive to the $80 a month membership. The equipment replacement is budgeted in. But where is the wear and tear when it comes to the Blacksmithing area? I don’t think we break hammers, or crack anvils. Once a tool is in that section, it’s unlikely to need replacement.
On the other hand, one other thing the wood shop does not ask that you pay for is the electricity needed to run the power equipment. Given the size of that automated router thing, (not sure what it’s called) I would imagine this is fairly comparable in cost to the propane to run a forge.
I understand it’s probably not feasible to separate the Blacksmithing area from the rest of the metal shop, or my recommendation would be to make that part of the $50 dollar package and make us pay for our own propane. There are probably other problems with that idea, as well.
At $80, maybe the propane could be part of that price, as long as people were properly educated in how much they should be using. I was running the taller of the two furnaces at around 1.25 psi and still getting my work to a good heat in very little time.
Or, we could track propane the same way that the people who sell it do, through weight. A scale under the active propane tanks would let us know how much we have used, as long as we were diligent in keeping an account of our usage. This might run into the tip jar problem though…
When it comes down to it though, I wish this wasn’t an issue. I would love to keep the friendly community feel of the forge area intact, and a lot of weights and measures and personal accounting could certainly put a dent in that.
Sorry, I don’t want to come in and rock the boat inside of my first week of membership, but I was a little worried when this problem presented itself on my first day of forging. I am loving the space though, and proud to be a member here.