Makin’ the stuff to make the stuff – that’s my version of blacksmithing.  Tools to help me make the things I need.  I am fortunate to count Lucian Avery as a friend of mine.  Aside from being a master blacksmith, he is also a naturalist, general craftsman, gifted teacher, fiddler, and family guy.  We hung out once a week for a year and a half, spending the morning looking at birds and plants and tracks and whatever else was happening outside, and then we’d fire up the forge and make tools.

I also received a fellowship from the Vermont Folklife Center to study formally with him for a summer.  We started making our own hardwood charcoal, and then used that to run the forge.  My fellowship goal was to make all the tools I needed to work on my traditional craft projects.  I almost pulled it off, but then I moved to Minnesota and ran out of time.  So, thanks, Lucian.

Here’s some blacksmithing photos.

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Some of the tools made during my apprenticeship with Lucian Avery.
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Maple burl handle, beaver tail knife sheath.
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Making charcoal. There is a smaller barrel inside the larger barrel. The small barrel is filled with wood and then capped. A fire is lit in the space between the two barrels, and the heat generated causes the wood to combust without oxygen, creating charcoal.
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Homemade charcoal for homemade toolmaking.
Drawing out an ax head from an axle