Saturday, April 25, 2009

Smoke & Coal & Heavy Metal

Smoke & Coal & Heavy Metal.

No, not some special effects at a rock concert... ha ha! :D No, actually I spent the day with my hubby at our friend Pawnee's annual Hammer-In. A fun, all day event for those interested in the old-time craft of blacksmithing. Three men have forges going - one in a shop & two under open-sided tents. Each man has their own style, their own niche in the world of blacksmithing. Each has a unique way of demonstrating their craft and of engaging the observers. The observers range from those simply wanting to see old-time craftsmanship in action, to novice smiths anxious to learn techniques, to experienced smiths there to swap favorite techniques and share their knowledge with the group. Amazing stories were swapped on many, many topics - blacksmithing, of course, but also stories of hunting, military service, motorcycles, and much more. There was a real nice potluck lunch, too. It was, as always, a fun, interesting, and educational day.

The three demonstrators today were:

Francis "Pawnee" Buckley - Metal Artist Gallery

Ray Rantanen -

Bob Alderman - Tracker's Forge

(Ray Rantanen with sparks flying!)

One of the best highlights of today was when one of the demonstrators, Ray, decided I'd been so "quiet and watchful" that I should receive one of the wonderful creations he was working on!  While we watched, he created a very beautiful, decorative (yet fully usable) fire poker. He even customized the handle for this left-hander! :D Ray followed this up by giving Jim (my hubby) a few items, as well, including a nice coal rake for use in Jim's own forge. And then he made a beautiful letter opener which also was given to me!

(My poker! Ray told us how to finish it up with a bit of sanding & polishing wax, which we'll be doing right away.)

It was such a treat! I must say, though, the real treat was the warm and wonderful conversation Ray carried on with those of us gathered around. We truly enjoyed our visits with each of the demonstrators, each of who has impressive abilities with anvil and hammer. Be sure to check out their sites and galleries - you will be amazed!



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