Pottery is so last season!

What are the cool kids doing now?

Pricketts Fort hosts an annual Historic Arts Workshop: Introduction to Blacksmithing with Greg Bray. Meant to:PF4

  • Satisfy your curiosity
  • Pique your interest
  • Learn basic skills
  • Keep your projects

You may be thinking, “I’m not curious. This is not interesting.” Take for a moment and ponder, how were hinges originally made? It probably takes extreme heat to bend metal. This could be dangerous.

Now that you’re curious and interested, do you have the potential to develop basic blacksmithing skills? And eventually become the world’s greatest blacksmith! To find out all you have to do is answer two simple questions:

1. How hard can you hit things?     Not at all.      Kinda.      Sorta.      Very.

2. How accurately can you hit things?     Not at all.      Kinda.      Sorta.      Very.

If your answers were anything higher than “Not at all,” you’re golden! If you answered “Not at all” to question #2, maybe come back later (after you’ve practiced some). It’s counterintuitive, but pounding metal is less about strength and more about precision.

So what does basic blacksmithing entail?

  • Heat.
  • Metal.
  • Tools.
  • (Safety.)

PrickettsFortStPk-2007-sjs-(M)-62     You’ll use a coal furnace (or propane) around 1400F to heat the metal you wish to bend to your will. After it’s heated, hold it with tongs (or such), and    hammer until it looks useful! (Rest assured, Professor Greg Bray will give a more extensive explanation.)

Speaking of hammers, ever wondered what a ball-pein hammer is really for? Peining and blacksmithery activities!  But we’re getting ahead of ourselves; you’ll  learn about that if you take the class.

Don’t worry if your work isn’t perfect. Just like a video game, metal always gets another life, and you’ll always get another try.

Offered annually, check back next year to secure your spot in this throwback class.

Check out their website next summer and sign up for this or other Historic Arts Workshops. For more information call (304)363-3030 or register online.

Historic? This calls for a story!

Way back when, in a town not so far away, lived a blacksmith. Miles away, on a farm in the middle of the country, lived a farrier.

Blacksmiths weren’t like those country bumpkins. They were city-dwellers, creating tools and eating utensils— the very height of civilized society. Whereas farriers lived in the country and created horseshoes and oxen shoes.

Then one day, the blacksmith realized his horse was in need of a shoe.  He made the journey to the far-away farrier.

Lo and behold, the farrier realized something was afoot! The blacksmith’s horse was suffering from laminitis. Without farrier training, the blacksmith would not know the symptoms to look for. Would he tell this townsperson of his horse’s disease?

After caring for the horse and explaining the disease to the blacksmith, the blacksmith understood the importance of country life, people and farriery.

Blog author: Leah Nestor

Blog author: Leah Nestor

The End.


Now that you understand the difference between a blacksmith and a farrier, you can go to class confident that you won’t be learning about laminitis!

Offered annually, check back next year to secure your spot in this throwback class.
Visit the Fort throughout the week to watch blacksmiths in action!

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