I came across this article today in the Minot Daily News about a 15-year-old blacksmith who sells his work, and I had to share — not because the story’s about blacksmithing (which is incredibly cool in and of itself) — but because it explains a tradition in blacksmithing that I’d like to see carried over to other crafts. From the article:
“When I was 11, I saw a blacksmith giving a demonstration at Fort Union Historic Site,” the young smithy said. “I watched him work and he even showed me how to do some simple forging. I was so intrigued that later that year I convinced my father to buy me a forge and anvil from a retired farmer.”
One of my dearest friends is a blacksmith, and he spends a lot of his time demonstrating as well. In fact, he introduced my father to blacksmithing, which is how they met, much as this boy met the man who demonstrated for him — and became a life-long friend.
Taking in those interested in the craft and treating them as honored guests (instead of clueless noobs) is part of the blacksmith’s tradition — a part I suspect comes from the fact that it’s almost a lost art.
But why wait until a skill is almost lost? Why not show off whatever skill it is you have to your friends and neighbors, then encourage those who show interest to establish their own skillset? Whether you’re a carpenter, electrician, machinist, or even just an experienced and enthusiastic DIYer, why not pass on those skills to those around you.
At worst, you’ll make yourself and someone else happy for a bit. At best you’ll spark an interest that’ll pass down for generations — and likely make a good friend in the process.
Working Iron by Hand [The Minot Daily News]