Photo Essay: Inside a Blacksmith’s Shop

My guess is that most of us don’t give much thought to blacksmiths. If and when we do, we probably think of blacksmith shops as something that belong in heritage parks, where visitors sit on hard wooden benches and watch the park blacksmith forge a nail, a coat hook or a candlestick holder. If we’re lucky (or feeling especially adventurous), we end up behind the unobtrusive safety barrier, don a leather apron and safety goggles, and swing a hammer down on a piece of red-hot iron, causing sparks to fly!


We started thinking about current day blacksmithing when we renovated our home in 2010/11. Paul Reimer’s blacksmith shop in Cranbrook crafted light fixtures, appliance handles, door hardware and exterior finishing details. Looking into it a little, we learned that current day blacksmiths create objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal (i.e. they use tools to hammer, bend, and cut). In addition to the types of items we incorporated into our reno project, blacksmiths produce gates, grilles, furniture, sculpture, tools, agricultural implements, cooking utensils, and more.

Then (in summer of 2012), K had the opportunity to forge a tree sculpture with Paul. He really enjoyed the experience. So when one of Mr. GeoKs’ friends extended an offer for K to spend some time in another blacksmith shop, we arranged to visit over spring break.

The blacksmith’s specialized equipment and tools offered plenty of scope for photography…

NOTE: click on any image to enlarge and view as slideshow

NOTE: I have one more blacksmithing post in the works – all about the making of K’s hatchet head. We’ve ordered a hardwood handle and are waiting for it to ship. I’d like to include a photo of the finished product, so it’ll probably be a couple of weeks before the post hits the feeds.

3 thoughts on “Photo Essay: Inside a Blacksmith’s Shop

  1. Pingback: Photo Essay: Forging a Hatchet Head | Out and About with the GeoKs

  2. I wonder how much this sort of work has changed since the middle ages? It still has that “historic” feel to it. I’m delighted to connect with someone from the Canadian Rockies – I’m from the Colorado Rockies.

    1. I think one of the biggest changes is that some of the work is done by big machines, especially some of the extensive hammering on larger stock. Paul’s website has a link to a great video about the making of a huge gate, that shows how he uses both modern machinery and traditional skills.

      Great to hear from someone in the Colorado Rockies. We were down your way several years ago – I think before I started blogging. Have you been to the Canadian Rockies yet?

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