Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mannie Gentile: miniature blacksmith

About fifteen years ago I took a course on blacksmithing. The museum I worked at back then had a nature center with a working forge and I wanted to learn my way around it.  Once I got signed off on the basics I'd spend a Saturday a month moving hot iron around, making simple stuff like draw hooks (my favorite), ladles, and fireplace pokers. I never fancied myself an actual blacksmith, simply a hobbyist.

But I sure did enjoy it. I even made a movie about it...

which you can view by clicking here.  (its worth it just for the intro - I was 30 pounds heavier then)

For years I thought it would be really cool to have my own forge and when we bought our little house on South Mountain I thought the day had come, I even set aside a small outbuilding to use for it.

Just imagine it with a smokestack and a pile of coal.

However, time marches on, and after talking with a valley blacksmith at this past Sharpsburg Heritage Festival, I came to realize that maybe my muscles and lungs might be slightly past the optimum place for swinging a heavy hammer in a cloud of gritty smoke.

And rather than be disappointed with that little epiphany, I actually felt quite relieved; one less thing I have to get around too. 

I simultaneously decided to look in to volunteering at the forge at Fort Frederick, only half an hour away. That should take care of my quarterly need to work at an anvil, without the wear and tear on my respiratory system.

And as far as building that forge?

I just finished it, and its even cooler than I ever thought it could be.

Although its in 54mm scale.

Now that's a light hammer!

Keeping hope alive, just north of Boonsboro.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That out buidling would be perfect for chickens.