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I Forge Iron

Tell Me Your Story


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I want to hear the stories of your tools, how you got it, where it came from, what makes it important to you ect....


Here is mine:


My Dad is good friends with a man named Wayne who lives about 20 minutes from my house, I had a cast coal forge that was in really bad shape when I met Wayne for the first time, and through talking to him in my shop he mentioned that he had an old forge somewhere on his property. I quickly forgot about it until one day a year later Wayne had hired my brother and I to put some hay into his barn and Wayne asked if i wanted to see the old forge. He led me and my Dad out to the old sugar shack, where we found an old Canadian Forge Co. forge and blower buried in other misc. stuff. I struck a deal with Wayne and took it home. After dis-assembling it and finding every part to be in AMAZING condition I called Wayne to see if he had any history on the forge and blower..... According to Wayne, he bought the farm from the neighbor with the contents of the buildings included. I got their number from Wayne and gave them a call to ask, according to the man i spoke to, the forge was bought by his great-Uncle without telling his great aunt (typical blacksmith buying more toys) to be used on the farm, but when the uncle got it home, he went to the house, had a heart attack and passed away. The forge then stayed in the shack unused until I went and got it. 


You know what that means? My forge and blower are an original pair from the foundry that had never been used (except for the mouse nest in the blower tube) until i got it. I had a blast lighting the first fire it had ever seen, and even more fun since then


now let's hear your story



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My Grandfather on my Fathers side was a master molder in a farm equipment factory. He started his apprenticeship at 13 as was common in that time. He was cycled through every department in the factory in turn and he made a masterpiece at each before moving to the next. In the pattern shop he made a rolling pin for his future wife. In the sheet metal shop a hip roofed tool box with tray. In the molding shop a Cast iron Dog door stop. And in the blacksmith shop, a roughly 4" post vise. I have inherited the tool box, and the post vise. My Mother still has and uses the rolling pin. The cast iron door stop was lost some time in the depression.

Now for the rest of the story.

In the great depression, the factory was about out of orders so they reduced the days the crew worked until at the worst, each man worked only one day a week. My grandfather remembered that door stop and asked if he could come in on his days off and make more of those to sell if he paid for the materials. The management agreed and he began to make the door stops and found a customer The Kosair Crippled Children Hospital foundation in Lousiville KY. They sold them as fund raisers. Soon the entire family was involved in making thousands upon thousands of the door stops. Grandfather Louie would cast them and haul them home and assemble the 2 halves. My Dad's older brother would spray them with the main color, Dad airbrushed on the spots etc and Grandmother hand brush painted in the details like eyes. These roughly18" long English setter, and standing Bull dogs sold for $0.50 each and a sitting bulldog puppy that was a little smaller for about $0.40. The also did a Man of War race horuse and latter Snow White and the drawfes. These went all over the world. Occasionally I see these in antique stores, and in original paint they sell for $300 and up.

All assembled and ground and filed in that little post vise. When My Grandmother moved in with my folks at about 85 years old the vise came off the workbench and was in my Dad's shop. When my Dad passed my Mother gave it to me.

She has her Dad's entire tool kit of carpentry tools he used to build a small town in Eastern Kentucky in about 1910-1920. All log homes. The tool box is a hand split and planned walnut simple 5 board box with lid and contains a lump of chalk, a rolled string, a hammer, a Diston saw, a whiskey half pint flask type bottle wih an internal paint line for a level, a hand made square, a mortise chisel, a simple hand made rule/test stick with 5 notches and a hand hatchet.

He kept the broadaxe and adz in another box that went to one of her brothers.

The whisky flask was his level. He half filled with water and resting on a known level surface he dropped a couple drops of paint onto the water and let stand until the paint finally set. The 5 notch stick was his square for surfaces too big for the little handmade sheet metal square.


Both of my Grandfathers died before my birth. I have always felt that I would have truely liked and learned from them. I do feel that in a small way I do know them thruogh the tools, that I now have and will get from my Mom.


I inherited all of my Dad's tool when he passed, and found he had many of his Dad's hand tools in that tool box. I also have the machinist's chest he bought and used as a trade schooler in about 1939.


These tools remind me of these fine men every time I use them.


And yes my kids know these histories as well.

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