I have been working on a commission for a commemorative gate made from oak. I cut the oak and had my friend Andy make the gate up since he does tighter joints than I do, then I carved it to give it nice organic flowing lines.
Today I took it to my blacksmith friend Darren Ainsworth.
He is very much the traditional blacksmith as they were 100 years ago but very few remain today. Most folk that call themselves blacksmiths are what I call metal benders and welders. Darren is a fully trained farrier, which remains one of the few profesions that you are not allowed to practice without full aprenticeship. He also makes wheels, wooden wheels with metal rims but the reason I was visiting is that he makes all sorts of traditional farm ironwork including gate hinges and latches.
I think it is a shame that whilst much attention is rightly given to the regional variation dry stone walls, hedges and architecture gates and fences are now the same patterns from lands end to John O Groats. So it is nice to get a commission to make something a little more interesting.
I couldn't help noticing this spooDarren made a while ago at a blacksmiths "hammer in", I thought it was a real beauty and remarkably similar to the traditional Swedish design spoons we make in wood.
On the way home it started to snow and by the time I came over the hill into Edale it looked like this.
Darren also recommended me a superb youtube video showing smiths making huge chains and anchors, I shall try to make a link to it here.
The first one shows the "small" chains
and the next is big chains and the anchor, I love the huge power hammer but also the bit where a group of smiths all work together with sledge hammers, skill, power and teamwork.