The Building of a Family Forge, The Artisan Blacksmith at Home



This little story or snapshot of our life, is about following your dreams and passions. There are a few parts to this story, so hang in there as they interweave. 

In our Montessori home it has always been about observing our children, and following their sparks of interest as they appear. Some sparks are gone as quickly as they come, and others burn bright. Montessori has brought additional richness to our unschooling life. Unschooling (much like Montessori in our home) for our family, is about loving, observing, and nurturing that spark when ever it hits. To honor the passions of our children, and to never define what and when our children are ready to learn, but rather to observe our children and let them be the measure and guide. You know your child best, and they will let you know in a variety of ways what they are ready for. 

My husband and I also honor our own interests, and take every opportunity to follow and explore the things that we love. These interests are an open invitation to our children. We have a great love of working with our hands and creating together. We've collaborated on many projects and this story is about bringing a dream to life. As some of you may already know, we purchased our historic brick home in the country many years ago, and have been working away on it ever since. We've embarked on many projects together, and certainly some have been more ambitious than others - like building our own family room addition.   

I think Xander must have been around 4-5 yrs old when we first took him to Upper Canada Village, which is a living historic museum set in the 1860's. This site has been one of our long time favourites, and we've taken a great deal of inspiration for our own 1850's house from this site. We love the buildings and hardware, and especially the tools on the site.
Xander was completely taken with the blacksmith's shop, as I think most children are because it's so awesome to watch them working the forge. Xander often asked if we could build a forge and this certainly planted a seed....


My husband's grandfather did his blacksmith apprenticeship in Scotland, and this was fascinating for my husband to find out as he's been taken with the art since he was a little boy, just like Xander. 
Greg had the opportunity to train with a Heritage Blacksmith, which was the most amazing, exciting, and rewarding experience!! We decided to design a small forge building with all of the basics that he would need to begin forging at home. I thought I'd show you around our family forge 💕

There were many things to consider in putting this project together, and safety was the cornerstone of the project. Greg decided to go with a propane forge from here, and we took many things into account in terms of clearances and many other details like proximity of the anvil to post vise and forge etc. He does have plans to build an outdoor coal forge for use during warmer weather. We will update when this happens.


The building itself is connected to the side of our garage, and is not overly large but certainly perfect for our setup. We encased the entire building (and built all of the windows and large door) from board and batten. The windows are hinged along the top, and can be propped up for great cross ventilation. We really wanted the room to have a traditional flavour and feel, and the simple construction achieved that. Greg built his work bench from weathered planks and wood left over from other projects, and the floor of compacted stone dust was an inexpensive fire proof option.
 This is such a simple yet beautiful corner of creativity 💗






Having made a few tools to begin during his training, there were many more that needed to be forged like hammers, tongs and chisels to name a few. This collection has grown significantly since these shots, and continues to grow as the need arises.

We found some amazing tool finds at antique shops in our local area to get started. Our post-vice which is an essential piece, was found at the most extraordinary shop and outdoor market! We LOVE to explore for treasures in spots like this, because they are like amazing little pockets of history frozen in time. Every corner, and nook we explored had pieces of either utilitarian or very cool pop culture history. We had so much fun and incredible conversations about everyday living and items that were in daily use, that literally spanned decades. This was such a rich learning experience that could never have been better, nor planned.



One of the most amazing yet non essential finds from here, was our manual drill press. These presses were found in many blacksmith shops and our children are absolutely fascinated by it's function, and it's one of the first things they gravitate to when they are in the forge. We found ours in a pile of tools, and it was so rusted and seized! We spent many hours spraying it down with WD40, cleaning and clearing out years of corrosion built from resting in the elements. Eventually the parts started moving freely and functioning again, and this is such a pleasure and honor to have in our space.



I must add a few things about safety ~ as I am required. 
Disclaimer** We do not recommend the use of the tools or machinery used in this post be attempted at home without proper training or supervision. 
Safety precautions were taken seriously and considered at all times, including first aid kits and supplies, fire prevention, and full safety gear.**

So many have a fascination in forging right now especially with shows like Forged in Fire ~ which we love btw. We have all since spent time in the forge with Greg 💗 
Forging was so much harder than I expected, and I expected it to be hard! 
Both of our children have spent time either watching, or forging. Greg holds all material and tongs while the children strike, and it's been so incredible to watch 💕💕 
I've had my own fun in the forge as well!





Ava's first hook 💕


I must say I was nervous at first, and apparently my hair needed safety glasses as well 😆

Xander is beginning to forge his first sword and is learning about the different types of metal, judging temperature by the colour of the metal, and so so much more! 


Greg has made some really fun and beautiful projects, and here are a few 💗






If you are interested in checking out more of his work, or some of the other fun things we create together we can be found at www.gcmcraft.com 💕



This has been such an exciting new(er) 
chapter in our family life💕

Cheers to following your passions where ever they may take you!





CONVERSATION

0 comments:

Post a Comment

I greatly appreciate your friendly comments and feedback. I love to see what others are making, so please feel free to include a links and share your site with us!!! If you have any questions regarding any of the materials we have made...I'd love to help!!! Thank you for visiting us:)

instagram

Instagram

Follow Us