Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blacksmithing....

A Blacksmith....what exactly is it??

BLACK: The color of objects that do not emit or reflect light in any part of the visible spectrum
huh??    Translation: the bottom of my son's socks.

SMITH: A worker in metal. Or an alias assumed by someone on the lam. No translation necessary.

So a blacksmith would be someone working on my son's socks....that would be me.

There are coppersmiths, goldsmiths, silversmiths and probably other smiths, too.
Pretty cool, no?

Years ago, I took a couple of courses in blacksmithing. The real thing. Not Junior's socks.
(I'm still working on those...)

I LOVED IT !! It was right up my alley. One thing, I'm always cold, so standing by a fire was so perfect for me.  Secondly, holy smokes, you could actually change the shape of a big honking piece of metal!
And you could do this without backing into anything in the parking lot !!!!!

Of course, I was just about the only female in both of these classes. I don't really know why, but I didn't care. I was happy warming my fingers and thinking about how I should have brought marshmallows . Maybe some chocolate bars and graham crackers. A little glass of Merlot to sip by a crackling fire........

First we watched the demo....looked as easy as working with Playdo. 
Make the metal soft by sticking it into a 4 million degree fire until it turns red hot, and then smash it to smithereens with a hammer on an ANVIL until you get the shape you want. 

On an  A N V I L !!!!!!!

An Anvil: The thing that the Roadrunner continually dropped onto Wile E. Coyote's head from a 100 foot cliff.




The weird shape of the anvil is actually that way on purpose. It allows you to bend the metal into different shapes. For some reason, putting something that is red hot 1,000 degrees on it's surface and then pounding on it has no effect on that darn anvil. It seems to be impervious to all that abuse.
But the iron stick you work with, well, THAT can be twisted, curved, flattened and bent like a pipe cleaner. No prob.

So I made things. I made a poker for our woodstove, some hooks and a swivel plant hanger, that I designed.
It was like magic......

Here is the poker.....

We've been using it for over 15 years and it hasn't changed shape or bent at all.



Here's a close up of the end of the handle part. I flattened it and made it into a leaf shape, then twisted and bent it.


Close up of a few of the twists...


The working end of the poker...


I couldn't find any of the hooks I made, but here is the plant hanger. 
The hook can turn in it's holder so that I could turn the plant to face the sun.
Hmmm, that sure looks like a sharp tip, doesn't it ?


11 comments:

OhioMom said...

I thought I could not be more amazed by your talent ... I was wrong! All I can saw is WOW! I used to do scroll work (scroll saw) and sold most of my pieces, but I am glad I hung on to a few .. makes me remember when I was able to do it (before the eyes got too bad :)

Pink Feather Paradise said...

My great grandfather was a blacksmith... My grandpa use to shoe horses too... he also built leaded light (windows) and mended roofs and anything else that needed mending... he was an old fashioned craftsman... I think it is from him and his mother that I get my crafty artiness! there is so much that I would like to try but I just haven't gotten around to it yet... Woodcarving is a really big dream!

love the poker and the hook looks ... well to be honest.... frightening...! lol

take care
Alex x

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Elenka..I think it's great that you took this class! I love to watch the Blacksmiths at work when I'm up in the mountains !

jeannette stgermain said...

Came over from another blog and glad I did! Good for you to take that course in blacksmithing - don't you have to be strong for that? - love the things you made. I'm a lover of black iron things.
And the paintings! My favorite is the rowboats - well done in color an design! (I'm a painter too, so visit me sometime:) )

Kris said...

I use to be a Smith, but I try my damndest to forget him and that time in my life. :)

I'm always amazed at your level of talent and why was I not surprised to hear that you took a blacksmith course?

Kris

i cant sew said...

ok once i stop laughing let me say..wow you are one talented and brave lady. that sort of thing would have been furtherest from my mind. we have a local blacksmith here in our local market and he does make some amazing stuff.
well done
%*_*%

Sandy B said...

Wow and wow again! What a variety of *stuff* here on this blog!!! I'm glad I stopped by. I'll have to come back and stay a little longer. Thanks for visiting my blog; do come back...and check out our next journey:-)

jojo said...

very interesting...looks like fun! Have a great weekend...;-)

Debbie said...

How fun! I would love to have a hobby like that.

Mary Ellen said...

I love that you did this - traditionally a man thing - and that you totally rocked it. You go, girl!

Rachel said...

Cor, that's impressive! A proper poker.