What’s happening at the forge…

December 5, 2014 by Tori Flower

Quite an exciting month and busy! Which is always good (or so the bank account says. Don’t think my body agrees!).

Well Billy is back!

Billy in action

(With new bright white overalls! Just the ticket for a forge!) Don’t how much that means to any of you so I will explain. Billy is the volunteer apprentice at The Blacksmiths Workshop Stepney City Farm and has had a couple of months off on a training course (and yes he now has a sensible blue pair). Thankfully he hasn’t forgotten any of the skills he picked up before he went. Except how to put sugar in tea/coffee. That said, he didn’t sus that before he went on the course. Anyhow, he has sold his first piece! Well done Billy, better at this blacksmithing game than you thought aren’t ya?

Crafty Saturday

Pieces made kids on a crafty Saturday

The first Saturday of November was the Halloween festival at Stepney City Farm and the Halloween Crafty Saturday for those of us who have workshops in the Rural Arts Centre at the farm. The festival was more low key than in recent years, but the forge was packed all day with kids basically bashing metal into shapes and generally making a lot of noise. Great Fun for the kids! Great fun for me! This is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job. The kids’ enthusiasm and sheer enjoyment at doing something risky makes it all worthwhile. The pics show that we did meet with some success on the anvil. Hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised.

Burgh House Museum

Did a small repair job at Burgh House Museum in Hampstead. A nice little place but needs some renovation. There are lots of regulations covering historic buildings and these small places have very little money, so pay it a visit and leave a donation.


Young Volunteers Forge Session


Student drawing a taper on a basic course

Lots of students on courses this month – www.blacksmithingcourses.co.uk -including 2 brothers who came to an Introduction course, loved it that much came back the next week! This month also saw our first students on our all day Basic course. What a good day this was. A lot less hectic than the 2 hour Intro course. Had them making fire pokers which involved drawing a taper up to 8” long, although I wasn’t in a sadistic mood so said they did not have to go that long if they wished not to. They ALL did! What do you think of them? This was also Billy’s first sessions helping with the teaching. Had the following feedback from a student on that: “The teaching was excellent”. Billy is going to lead the course we are running on the 10th.

Two courses run this month for the farms Young Volunteers. Hard work (but teenagers always are!) but damm good fun. One even gave us the very high praise of “yeah it wur alrite”. The missis, Lizzie, (and one of my very first blacksmith students) helped with the sessions and really enjoyed herself. Might even think of paying her next time (probably won’t but don’t tell her that).

St Johns Church, Hampstead

A broken back stay and main post from the Grade 1 listed railing of St Johns Church Hampstead

We have had yet another repair job come in for listed railings from a church. Just like the 2 we have already done this year, this was also smashed by a vehicle. Read somewhere this week that the government wants to change the driving test. Fantastic! Here an idea: How about including vehicle control? I’m sure it was on the test when I did mine (nearly a ¼ of a century ago… time flies). Opps… over. Cast Iron posts and finials with a wrought iron top rail. Interesting point about this one. We were appointed by the insurance company and were also the highest quote. Don’t get a much better recommendation than that! More on this next month…


Well all that leaves to say now is that I hope you all have a Merry Xmas (I’m a scrooge so don’t feel you need to say it back) and please spare a thought for all our service men and women that will be away from their families over the festive period deployed on active service, and if you can spare a few quid donate to Veterans Aid – Caring for veterans in crisis now.

Its hard work this blogging malarkey, but I’ll give it another try at the end of December.

Blog by Richard Pace, Blacksmith. More info on Blacksmithing courses at our forge here.

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