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I Forge Iron

Restoring a historic Smithy, looking for Blacksmiths


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Hi, im not sure if this is the right board or forum for this but ill give it a whirl. I live in Wears Valley, a scenic community on the road from Pigeon Forge to Cades Cove. We are in Sevier County Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains- It is a very very high traffic area, and very much like a postcard. . On my property is the Smithy that served the community for years and years and I am restoring it and plan on operating it as a heritage attraction.The door of the Smithy looks out over several ridges and the view cant get much better. Does anyone know of any blacksmiths in my area who might be interested inworking with me on this project? Where is a good place to look for interested persons? I also welcome any advice, suggestions, etc. on Smithy restoration. Oh by the way the forge itself is a floor to ceiling brick one with a arch. it looks very much ready to work again. Thanks in advance. 

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LOL ok ill get some up. I should have been more clear. Im looking for a smith who wants to work the forge, kinda like some kinda partnership.I believe this could be operated as a highly successful heritage tourism type thing.  If no interested smiths see this id just like some advice on locating interested smiths in my area. That being said I will definitly get some pics up could win prize for best view from Smithy door.

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Greetings, My friend...

 

First of all.  Blacksmiths are a different breed...  They are the most sharing ,  giving,  honarable people you will ever meet....   I suggest you get to know some of us first...    Ya can't just go out and expect one to fall off the old chestnut tree...

 

Good luck on your project..

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You might check out ABANA's website for local affiliate blacksmithing organizations  Most groups have regular meets and maybe a newsletter where you could contact locals about your idea.  Dues are usually inexpensive and it might pay to join and attend a function where you could present the proposition in person.

 

The previous post suggested a good place to start.

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I think you have a good idea there. Find that blacksmith associations next meeting and ask if you can solicit your offer there. Would you be interested in visiting demonstrators as maybe a way to get this started? I am guessing this will be seasonal like most of the other outdoor attractions around there? The historic site will bring the people so if you could make small stuff ( nails, drive hooks, whatever) you will still get the ooh's and aah's from most travelers. As your skills increase so will your sales if that's where you are headed here.
Some will not agree with this but I know the area well, the old buildings and cemeteries are what bring the people out there so a fair demonstrator would be a bonus to most. Learn the history of your shop and surrounding area well and collect some items made during its heyday. Be honest with people after all you will not be a master smith but a student of the craft which is where we all are I think.
So find someone or do it yourself, either way is great. Be true to the history and honest with the visitors. And be aware there is a working forge in Cades Cove that they fire up from time to time.
Good Luck and I might see you this fall.

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From: The ABANA Affiliate list: http://www.abana.org/affiliates/affiliate_list.shtml

 

APPALACHIAN AREA CHAPTER OF BLACKSMITHS

President: Donnie Ferguson
159 Fergus Lane
Lavergne , TN 37086 USA
615-793-6027

---------------------------

Editor: Danny Parsons
1018 Lone Oak Road
Mt. Juliet , TN
37122 USA
dannyparsons1184@gmail.com
615-444-4431

--------------------------------------------------------

Website: www.appalachiablacksmiths.com

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CLINCH RIVER BLACKSMITH GUILD

President: Bob Bell
5946 Westmere Dr.
Knoxville , TN 37909 USA
Anvil4bob@Knology.net
(865) 690-5564

Website: www.artintheburrow.com/crbg

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

RIVER BLUFF FORGE COUNCIL

President: Bob Rogers
1897 Crump
Memphis , TN 38107 USA
meltingman@bellsouth.net
(901) 278-7826

 

Editor: Jeannie Tomlinson Saltmarsh
1475 Faxon Ave.
Memphis , TN 38104 USA
forgencast@gmail.com
901-336-6904

Website: http://rbfcmemphis.com



 



 

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As for the history, it is long and interesting. My house was also the home of the original blacksmith, his name was F.D.Hedricks. The house was moved here from Elkmont area of the National park. When the park came he had to sell his land but he took his house board by board and brick by brick with him to where it stands today. They were checker playin fools..so much so that an ad was taken out in the local newspaper asking for "skilled checker players-apply at Hedricks station" They added a garage in later years and made bets with each other as to who could or couldnt pick up various sized engine blocks! There are various things around the farm that im sure he smithed. The forge is in shape but is missing the original Tuyere-if anyone has an old style one let me know. Im currently working with a friend building a set of bellows for the forge. It originally had big chambered bellows but in later years they went to a hand cranked blower. Thanks again for all the input so far!

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This seems like a great idea. I believe there's a fellow that does smithing demos at Cade's Cove on most Sundays, so you could try and catch him. I live pretty close, but I'm still early on in the learning phase.

 

I do have a double-lung bellows that you could use as a template for your new set. The bellows themselves aren't in working condition, but they are intact. The tuyere from it is currently attached to the bottom of my firepot, though.

I'd really love to help in any way that I can, but I'm currently in no situation to leave my regular job, so I would have to work around that schedule. Send me a PM if I can help at all.

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I have found that you can be working, demonstrating or selling---but never two or more of those at the same time.

 

If a person is trying to forge items they can't spend all their time and attention answering questions or working a till.

If they are demonstrating they don't expect to make anything but fairly simple items that don't have a high profit margin.

If they are selling stuff (watching the inventory, taking money, etc) then they can't work a fire.

 

Just think what a flashbulb in the face of someone doing a drop the tongs weld could cause!

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I was raised in Townsend at the end of Wears Valley Rd. My g-grandmother was one of the original Townsend/Wears Valley Headricks. My avitar is from her fathers headstone in the Myers Cemetary behind the visitors center.

 

I live over the mountain in Seymour, Blount County now, about 30 minutes from the Valley.

 

PM me and I'll give you my phone number. I'd love to see what you have going.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We were in your area at the end of December. We came up Hwy 441 from the south, spent the day in Pigeon Forge and when we started to leave, found out 441 was closed due to ice. We had to go through Wears Valley over to Townsend to get back to Blairsville, Ga.

The John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC has a blacksmith teaching program and they have an awful lot of blacksmiths come through their programs. They would probably be a good contact for you. Paul Garrett is the resident blacksmith there and he might know of someone who could help you out. Their web site is https://www.folkschool.org.

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I was up that way about October when I first started picking up smithing I would have been overjoyed to see something like this so a truely hope you can get this going. Even if you can't find a smith close enough to help out or join you I would suggest sticking around the site a lot of the folks on here are some of the most knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful people you could meet

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The response so far has been great! I should have some pictures up soon.. Several guys have stopped by to check things out, and all have been impressed with the construction of the forge. We have decided to start with a hand cranked blower and will possibly move to bellows. Right now we are working on reconstructing the firepot as it was missing. does anyone know of an old firepot/ tuyere? Part of the brick chimney is also being replaced.When i upload pics this will all be much more clear. the firepot sat in concrete on top of an old table which is badly rusting. We are trying to decide wheter or not to tear out everything and rebuild the table, or simply insert the new firepot in the hole where the old one was and seal around it.Anyway pics are on the way prolly tomorrow night

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