Iron in the Blood

I am a blacksmith. I earn my living through the strength of my arm and the sweat of my brow, hammering out tools and works of art as our ancestors did for two-thousand generations until the steam-engine sealed our fate and liberated humanity from a life of constant toil. Make that “The rest of humanity”. The hours for a modern blacksmith are as long as ever.

There is iron in our blood, for blacksmiths doubly so. Some, like me, know that it is the greater part of their being, the source of an all-consuming quest to be followed wherever it leads. I keep telling my friends to ditch that silly Ph.D. and come pound steel, but have no takers as of yet. To call yourself a Blacksmith and mean it – to be an honest artist of any kind – takes a kind of dedication that is almost a lost quality in this age of distraction and self-doubt. A dedication that chooses steel to work with over food to eat. A dedication that works through meals and into the early morning hours, and is found by the apprentice next day, asleep on the layout table.

Ours is an ancient and noble craft. One with much to be proud of and much to answer for: The noble Knight’s sword and the axe of the tyrant’s executioner; The surgeon’s scalpel and the Inquisitors thumb-screws; Shackles for the guilty rapist and the innocent slave, all were forged by my forefather-smiths.

Don’t ask why I do it, I’m not sure I even know. I can give you a list of the steps I took in pursuit of knowledge, masters studied with and schools attended after being thrown out of a third and final college; but what drives me on in my quest is hidden even from me.

The blacksmith’s is not an easy path. The hours are ridiculous, the labour often grueling, the pay is low or lacking entirely and the only retirement plan involves a deep hole and a long, narrow box. Still, I have not seen any life that I would trade it for. The black creases in my leather apron, the dozens of burn-scars on my arms and hands, the smell of a coal fire through the damp morning air and the searing heat of a half-finished, yellow-hot forging – Any of these mean more to me than all of the precious stones I’ve set into gold rings or silver sword-hilts.

It is a deep, indescribable, atavistic satisfaction to forge hot iron. Some call it a fulfillment of purpose, or a connection to the lost ages of the ancient past. Myself, in the midst of a swinging hammer and a roaring forge, gritty and dripping sweat, I have known moments of peace and contentment without compare, equaled only by the release of coitus, or a long stalk in the evening woods.

Metal-working pre-dates the written word, so there’s tremendous depth. As a blacksmith, your creativity will never be limited by material, style or even technique.

Ours is the King of Crafts, bearing the ancient motto: “By hammer and hand, all art doth stand”.

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My Work

Diamond Anniversary Rings

Matching pair of diamond-anniversary rings. Rings are 18k yellow- and white-gold, respectively, with celtic-knot accents in the corresponding metal – yellow on white, white on yellow.

Walnut Chest

Small dovetailed walnut chest, with forged
iron hardware from extant 18thc New
England examples.

Viking Axe

A mid-size axe based on examples from the early middle-ages. Mild steel with a 5”, 1060 bit. 48”
Ash haft. Weight 1.5#.

Surt’s Horn

An elaborate drinking horn, leaning toward Jelling motifs.

Silver Filligree Cuff

For a lady's upper arm.

Birch-leaf Fireplace Doors

Hand-forged in their entirety,
from leaves to rivets.

Katana

Entirely hand-forged and polished – an exercise in patience. 11,000 layers of 1090/1040 steel kobuse-welded around a soft-iron core. Dimensions taken from a Kamakura-period Bizen. Fitted with a quilted-maple saya to reflect my western sensibilites.

Mjolnir Mk II

Second in my series of Sterling silver Thor's Hammer pendants. Fenris the wolf leers from the face.

Rococo Pipe Tomahawk

Pipe tomahawk with light engraving
and pewter accents.

Colonial Fire Tongs

From a set of 18th c fireplace tools.
Wrought with precision.

Fenris Ring & earrings

Pieces commissioned to match the Mjolnir MkIII. More than 6 carats of black diamonds in matching finger- and ear-rings.

Oak Leaf Fireplace Doors

Copper and steel fireplace doors, to match and complete a 1920s marble fireplace. Some very simple repousse, modern and traditional forms.