The Blacksmith Trade Lives On


Cree Vicar Dave ~ SASS Life ~ #49907


Working with metal has always fascinated me.  My paternal granddad was a blacksmith/furrier.  He died when I was a baby but my father passed on to me a few tricks of the trade.  Metal shop was one of my favorite classes in the 8th & 9th grade.  The teacher, Mr. Donaghy, helped us fashion works of art and functional items out of various metals.  I still enjoy cutting, heating, bending and welding metal, creating something useful.  The blacksmith trade has been around for thousands of years.  The LORD says in Isaiah 54:16a, “See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame…”

Last week I picked up Wolverine Wrangler, SASS #22963 and headed over to observe a working blacksmith organization that meets every Wednesday in Midland, Michigan.  They are the, “Max Carey Blacksmith Guild” located at 3400 Cook Road, Midland, Michigan 48640.  They have been pounding metal on an anvil for over three decades.  Fred Berg, a 22 year blacksmith veteran, showed us around and explained the basics of their trade.  Their objective is, To Promote and Teach the Blacksmithing Trade.  Blacksmiths of all ages were in attendance, from teenagers to old timers like me.

Twice a year they offer the, “Steve Anderson School of Blacksmithing”, which is an introduction into the trade.  The class is a 6 week course, 3 hours a week, covering the basics of the craft.  Many of those who take the class go on into metal art.

When they meet each week their work consists of small individual projects to larger group productions.  Some of the group’s undertakings are:  an iron fence for the Veterans Memorial and an iron fence/rose trellis outside the “Bradley Carriage House”, that is the building where they meet.  They also made wind chimes, a rose stand for Dow, copper weather vanes, beautiful roses with brass petals, a functional coat rack, a portable fireplace tool set and much more. 

The Bradley Carriage House also holds several antique carriages, horse drawn sleighs and an old big wheel bicycle.  There are four forges in their shop, several anvils and other antique tools.  They also have more modern devices like a power grinders, saws, etc. if you want to speed up the metal preparation time.  Or if you desire the nostalgia of the good old days you can heat up the metal and cut it with a hammer and chisel.  Then place it in the forge until the right temperature is achieved, grab it with the tongs, place it on the anvil and hammer away until the desired form is obtained.  One of the things they had on display that caught my eye was a progressive construction process of a hand forged horseshoe.  It started on the bottom with a piece of flat stock steel and ended up with a finished horseshoe on the top, all made by hand.  Quite impressive.

If you would like to get involved with a blacksmith guild near you check out the WEB to see if there are any meeting in your area.  I found blacksmith associations in several states in a short time on my PC.  There may be a group that meets nearby where you can “Put the hammer down”, literally, and forge something impressive to display in the home or at your local Cowboy Action Shooting™ club. 

See all of the photos of the blacksmith shop.


Hope ta see ya on the trail.

God Bless