Saturday my friend Lori and I took a class at Old Sturbridge Village. They offer many Crafts at Close Range classes in arts from the 1830s. When I sent my friends the link to the classes and asked if anyone was interested in taking a class, I confess I thought we'd be doing weaving or spinning. I was pleasantly surprised when Lori suggested Blacksmithing.
Derek Heidemann, in this video has been a blacksmith at Old Sturbridge Village since he was 14 and was fun to have as an instructor. You can check out some of his creations on his website HERE. He showed us the basics of making a nail. Of course, he made it look so easy.
Lori and I gave it a try. We had a ton of fun lighting our fire and cranking the bellows (although these were hand cranked bellows and not the old English bellows you normally think of when you think of a blacksmith).
Lori prepares our coal fire.
Here I am with my hook, hammer and anvil. Strike while the iron is hot, folks!
Here are the fruits of my labor - from best to worst.
At the end of our long day, we had a few nails and a hook to take home. I gained a huge appreciation for how hard it was to create the simple things in life that we take for granted. While I'm not looking to head back in time to the 1830s, it was an eye opening experience. We had a modern facility complete with an air filtration system. I can only imagine the lungs of blacksmiths back in the day.
Do you ever take classes that are outside your comfort zone? What are your favorites? Do you have a historical village nearby? Please share your stories!