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New Nicaraguan forge

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Thank for everyone on IFI the prayed for us and helped out with info last week! I am happy to report there is a side draft 55 forge up and running in Jinotega Nicaragua!


Day one started with our group traveling from Victoria Texas to Managua Nicaragua




Loading up in Managua

Day 2 started with a church service on a coffee hacienda at a church we helped fund last year.


Day 3

breakfast at 7:00am


and unpack what I brought up with me in my luggage.


and moving the anvil to its new home. the young man moving the anvil is Nestor and was my student for the week


Here is our basic set up by the middle of the day.



by the morning of day 3 we had everything in place and I was ready to start teaching,



I had planned on making some simple S hooks to start with until the camp construction manager came to me that morning and explained that they really needed 12 piquetes next week to keep work moving along. A piquetes looks like a hatchet made from a leaf spring that has been cut off about 4" from the shackle eye and then had a wooden handle put into the shackle. They are used to chip a texture into concrete beams before a final coat of concrete is smeared on like stucco. Since we only had one leaf spring with eyes on it we had to bend 10 more.  I figured the easiest way to do this was to bend a ruff eye into it over the anvils edge and then drive a drift thru it and true it up so off to town we headed to get a truck axel for a drift.

   4 hours later we made it back to camp with a old Toyoda axel, 5 gals of burnt motor oil for quenching and a pint of gear oil for the blower.

Since my Spanish and my helper Nestor's English were about on par with each other there was a lot of pointing and grunting going on as I made a drift out of the axel and 3 piquetes then Nestor made the remaining 7.



By the end of the day Nestor could make one in about 15 minutes

The next day we heat treated the heads and made wedges for all the handles for them that another team made with a draw knife and then set the wedges.


Along the way that day we also made a tool out of a coil spring to bend rebar with, a cold chisel from a coil spring for another project, repointed a 7' chipping bar and 2 jackhammer bits.

The last project for the last afternoon was a Fredrick's Cross that I hands off instructed Nestor to make for his mother.  I believe he showed it off to worker in the camp and when asked how he made it he would respond it was a blacksmiths secret.




I left 4 of the most commonly referred to blacksmith books with them and the address to IFI and instruction to email me with any questions they had and I would try to help out all I could.

Thanks to all of you for the info you have shared with me over the last few years, and if anyone wants to go to Nica on a blacksmithing trip let me know!


Russell Doerr



Edited by GottMitUns
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Good job Russell, you do us all proud! It looks like a grand success and a fine lieutenant in Nestor and probably the village's new master blacksmith. A resident blacksmith gives community the independence of being able to supply many of it's own needs. If you can make your own tools you can do anything. That's a terrific gift.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I agree with Frosty - you've done blacksmithing proud! What a change you have made to that young man's life - his confidence and self-esteem will be at an all-time high. Great work, mate.

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Thank you very much guy, but I will give the glory to God. All I did was light a fire and blow on it.

Thomas,  I had every Jeffe in the camp watching me and Nestor at one point or another during the week.  I think when we repointed a jackhammer bitt in front of them is when it really sank in what they could do with a forge. I actually had the top dog holding the bitt over the anvil while I worked on it with a sledge hammer.

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You did well.

Not only did you give them a new tool to work with, you showed them how to repair their own tools as well as make more tools for others. It would be interesting to go back in 6 months or a year and see just how many blacksmiths there are in that area. You planted several seeds that WILL take hold, grow, and produce an abundance of fruit.


Someone once said in their signature:

Tools do not make the blacksmith, the blacksmith makes the tools.

Edited by Glenn
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  • 1 month later...

Andys MQ


    the camp is called La Fica (the Farm) and is run by Vida Joven ( young Life)  the camp is between Matagalpa and Jinotega.  If you want some contact info for the guys down there PM me.

Where about are you down there?  If you have the time or inclination to go dove hunting I can give you a contact for that also.



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Get your passport updated and brush up on your Española   I have been doing mission trips for years and I have never seen someone committed to go who had to drop out because of funding!  Somehow the money always shows up.  I'll send you some dates when we have them set.



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