O'connell

Cameron and Ames Blacksmith Shop, Barkerville BC.

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   I'm going to post pictures here every so often, from the shop I work at. These pictures are a little dark because the big front doors were closed.

 

 

 

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   This is my view all day from inside the shop. There are usually horses and a wagon tied up in front of the government office across the street. Also, just above the pillar in the center of the doorway is a swallow nest with chicks in it.

   I recently put the swage back on it's proper block that was occupied by the anvil. I then dug an 18 inch hole to insert a log into the floor for the anvil. Made four large u nails? to hold it down. When I'm hitting something really hard I've had visitors tell me they can feel the hammer strikes in their feet. Mission accomplished.

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That sure looks like a nice place to have a shop, I really like the view. Living history town, village, etc.?

The U shaped nails are called ."staples."

I'm sure you've noticed how the pic looking down the horn of your anvil came out. That's because of the bright light coming in the door from behind. That's called "back light" and no camera has a human brain to filter and adjust the picture, cameras just record our mistakes. Most of learning photography is learning what the camera is going to record rather than what YOU see. Next time you want to get a shot under those conditions wait for early evening and use a flash. If the subject is shiny cover the flash with a single ply of tissue paper to diffuse the light or reflections off the highlights will wash out the detail. OR drag it outside on a cloudy day, near perfect diffuse lighting conditions for shooting shiny glittery stuff.

Frosty The Lucky.

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That looks a nice place to work, I assume a pioneer village?  I did the same thing re staples to hold my anvil still on a wandoo stump. 

 

Cheers 

 

Gordon

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Probably not needed; but:  I had a friend who was employed as a smith in a historic village for a decade and when they decided that experienced craftspeople were too expensive (at 10 years he was the newest craftsperson they had!) and laid them all off they thought that all his tools he had brought in to work with belonged to *them*!  It's also happened with another friend who bought a postvise for use in the Fine Arts Metals classes she teaches as the school wouldn't pay for one.  We installed it and a while later came in and it had a University property number on it...  Mark your tools and document them!

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The attitude of museums is why I don't demo at the two local to me, the one in Wasilla wants me to donate my tools, time, buy and ship coal, steel and donate any sales. The one I demonstrate for in June would like me to set up for regular demonstrations like completely replacing the rivets in a boiler. They'll even dedicate space to permanently display my tools. What a deal eh? Use their tools? Oh no, they're museum pieces, am I kidding?

It's a sad state but museums hardly get any budget and survive on donations. After a while it's hard not to get grabby. I LOVE museums though and happily offer my services, I've arranged many blacksmith displays realistically when I traveled a lot on the job. I can't afford to give them tools though I paid too much. Heck I was even asked to donate my 12' pocket tape measure once!

Frosty The Lucky.

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We once had a local museum that decided to dramatically change it's presentation and as part of it they closed down their "Street of Yesteryear" and sold off a lot of the props; when I enquired about the blacksmith shop tools they told me that they were going to a different museum.  A couple of months later I found some of them for sale at a local fleamarket---still with the museum numbers painted on them. I ended up buying them for less than I had offered the original museum...

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Yeah, I'm not much of a photographer Frosty. Thanks for the tips.

Hello Heelerau and Thomas.

The shop is in Barkerville, an old gold rush town built in the early 1860's, in the Cariboo Mountains. It was one of the biggest gold strikes in the world. The entire town and area was made into a museum in 1958. We get 50 to 60 thousand visitors each summer.

I have most of my things marked, but I'm not worried about losing anything. Barkerville gives my boss and I a lot freedom running the shop and don't interfere much. They pay for the coal ( the good stuff ) and the steel. Or I guess the money we bring in pays for it. I get a commission on the things I sell also.

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Horses! The third picture is the view from behind the shop, looking out at the main street.

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Good Morning,

Last time I was there, the Little Giant was lying on it's side. When I asked the smith about it, he said it had to stay on it's side "Management won't allow us to fix it".

The problem with places like Barkerville, they are trying to promote "Gold Rush" mentality, not function.

Good Luck,

Neil

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I may pay a visit from down under,  I reckon Barkerville and Williamsburg will be on my bucket list !!

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Hey Swedefiddle, that sounds pretty weird. Even if it can't be used, it still should have been stood up. The base has a huge crack, just below where the hammer strikes. There hasn't been a blacksmith here in a long time that takes their job more seriously than I do. I am always trying to improve the functionality and image of the shop and my boss is working on a few projects also. One is a workshop where members of the public can pay for a basic lesson and do a little work with us.

Heelaru, a visit to Colonial Williamsburg is a dream of mine also.

A few more recent pictures. The drill is now mounted on the wall instead of the post in the center of the shop. Cleaned up a lot of the mess and old scrap metal.

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I also have a local kid ( family friend ) coming in for two mornings a week, and he is doing very well. He's only 14, and he is almost as big as I am. He is used to building log homes with his father, not playing video games in his spare time.

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I cut a hole in the side of the hood so the visitors can see the fire. Even while I was pumping the bellows, some people would still ask if I was using gas.

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The swallows built their nest right above the forge this year. I put a piece of 3/8 bar up there for a perch.

Then they went back to the old nest later in the summer for their second batch.

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An image of a nice coal fire with a little kindling mixed in.

 

 

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Same fire.

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