The Forge
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. Blacksmithing is often confused with metal fabrication which is the process of working with steel cold, often using electric welders and grinders. Blacksmithing is the age-old process of working with the steel hot, primarily using a hammer and anvil. Once heated, steel becomes malleable and can be formed, punched and twisted. It takes years of training and practice to become fluent in the art.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. The hammer, the anvil and the fire are the primary and most essential tools in the shop.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. Most of the tools in the shop are handmade. Each job has a unique set of tools that are made just for that job, whether it be a punch that makes a specific indentation in the metal, or a hammer with a specially shaped end. A great deal of time and care is put into making each tool as the quality of the finished product depends on them.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. Coal is the traditional fuel of the blacksmith.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. A fire is started in the coal forge with air blown in from below. Fanning the coals creates an intense concentrated heat.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. The forging of a leaf begins with a length of 1/2 inch square steel bar.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. The bar is placed in the forge and heated to 1600 to1800 degrees. In blacksmithing temperature is gauged by the color of the steel. In this case, a good working heat is orange yellow.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. Once heated, the glowing metal bar is brought to the anvil to be shaped between the hammer and the anvil. A point is made on the end of the bar with controlled blows from the hammer.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. In addition to using handheld hammers against the anvil, power hammers are also used for forging. The power hammer replaces the role of the striker. A striker is traditionally someone who works in tandem with the lead blacksmith using a sledge-hammer.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. The leaf begins to take shape.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. After the steel is heated up in the forge, it remains workable for only a short while before it needs to be reheated. This period is referred to as a "heat". The blacksmith endeavors to shape each piece in as few heats as possible.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. After the steel is heated up in the forge, it remains workable for only a short while before it needs to be reheated. This period is referred to as a "heat". The blacksmith endeavors to shape each piece in as few heats as possible.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. The leaf is further detailed with a chisel and a with a specially shaped tool that fits in the square hole of the anvil.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. The leaf is further detailed with a chisel and a with a specially shaped tool that fits in the square hole of the anvil.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. A coarse wire brush is used during the last heat to polish the surface of the leaf and remove loose scale.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. Once the leaf is forged, it is cut off, and the bar is returned to the fire so that the next leaf can begin.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. The square bar has been completely transformed with heat and hammer blows, so that it is impossible to see any part of the original bar in the finished leaf.
  • Beginning stage sketches of an interior railing project including three different style possibilities based on an initial client meeting. These sketches are discussed and refined based on feedback from the client. Each project is made up of many small details like the leaf. For instance, each Tree Bed requires 160 forged leaves.