At the weekend, I visited a local forge, which offers demonstrations of blacksmith work from a proper-job blacksmith, various blacksmith-related tools and ephemera on display and also things for sale. I wanted to visit the Forge because it would serve as research for my series of novels/novellas/short stories, Dragons of Fire and Ice. One of my main characters, Quinn, is a blacksmith and since I have started writing about him and his dragon-mate Jay, I have become fascinated by the work of a blacksmith.
The Forge itself was relatively easy to find in my local town. It’s called Chain Bridge Forge and features a cartwheel, a bending machine and a giant sawblade outside! The building itself was relatively small. There were about eight people inside, including the blacksmith and it felt crowded. It also was quite warm, which I suppose was quite understandable, given that the forge features a hearth to heat up the metal. That was even with two doors open and it wasn’t even an overly hot day! The hearth was controlled by an electric fan and not bellows, which was surprisingly quiet.
The blacksmith was a biker type, like a Hell’s Angel, with a great big beard and some pretty cool flame tattoos. (I do love tattoos – so much so, I have half a dozen of my own with the plan to get more.) He made the whole process of hammering out metal look quite easy and was even ‘teaching’ a young boy how to do it. (this young boy, I would have said, was probably about eight or nine or so.) Obviously this was a controlled environment, with the blacksmith doing all the more dangerous stuff, like handling the hot metal and dipping the metal rods into the hearth. The boy managed, with the help of the blacksmith, to make a small coat-hook. When the boy’s hook was finished, he had to quench it in oil to seal the metal so that it wouldn’t rust. There were quite sizable flames licking out of the oil and …. well, it stank quite a bit. 😀 The finished hook looked quite good, to be honest. Once the boy had finished, his sister had a go but I didn’t stay to see how she did.
Whilst there, I bought a small heart shaped pendant thing, which had been forged and forge-welded together. I did want to particularly buy something that was hand-made and not something that had just rolled off a generic factory line. I chose the heart just because I thought it looked nice! I’m going to hang it up on the wall as a decoration. I don’t want to risk wearing it, just in case I either ruin it somehow, or worse, lose it. Plus it’s quite heavy for its size.
All in all, I enjoyed the experience, and was something I wouldn’t mind experiencing again. This was a free attraction although the things for sale …. were obviously on sale!
I managed to take quite a few photos of both the exterior and interior. I also managed to make a couple of videos, which I have integrated into one video for ease of watching. While I was recording one of the videos, the blacksmith actually looked over at me and kind of smiled at me. (although you can’t actually see that moment clearly for some reason?) I think he was amused that I was recording him. Of course, I grinned back at him. I ain’t rude! 😀
And this is the forged metal heart pendant that I bought.
And this is a booklet thing that was in the Forge. Obviously there are more pages in the booklet than I’ve actually photographed. I was just too lazy to capture them all.
And this is the video I recorded.
So there we have it! My visit to the forge!