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I Forge Iron

Blacksmith's dream haul

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This old smith shop was built in the twenties and served the farming community of Mesilla, New Mexico for around 60 years prior to closing due to the smith's failing health. After several years of coordinating with the heir of the blacksmith shop I was finally able to broker a deal and purchase any useable tooling left in the shop. So off we went with a few crecent wrenches a cable puller, some pipes, and a whole lot of anticipation. after a few hours of work we had managed to exhume a 1926 50 pound little giant power hammer, two lineshaft assemblies, a lineshaft driven bench grinder, an acetylene generator, what appeared to me to be a wagon wheel shrinker made by Champion tools, a 200 pound swedge block, and a whole host of other nick-knacks. I took over 200 photos before, during, and after, moving everything. And quite a few photos of the hammer recovery. So here it goes. We moved the hammer by using a prybar to lift the back end of the hammer up and putting it on a piece of 3 inch diameter pipe . We then lifted the front with the prybar an put a piece of angle iron under it. The pipe and the angle iron held the hammer up high enough that it cleared the studs that it had been bolted down with, so we were able to move the hammer forward to better line up with the door. once we had it clear of the studs an roughly lined up with the door, we placed some 10 foot sections of pipe under the hammer to serve as rails, hooked a cable puller to it and dragged it down the rails to the door. Once at the door we turned the hammer 90 degrees so that it would fit through the door, and then carefully positioned the ramps and some pipe sections so that the hammer could be dragged straight onto the trailer. Worked like a champ! Recovering the rest of the equipment was a breeze, and now we can look forward to restoring all of it and putting it all back to use for another 60 years (give or take a hundred)!











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Wow, Wow, plus everything that Frosty Said.
To find a place like that, that contains a very large accumulation of experienced equipment and tools that have been at rest for so long, would only be just kind of like a fantasy coming true for me.;)
What a very nice (but dusty) dream project you have taken on, that of being able re-store you

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Thanks for all of the interest!

Bryce, I'm with you, I think that the outside of the building is about the coolest thing since sliced bread, so I went ahead and attached a few more photos of it for all to see.

Hwooldridge, the anvil, hammers, tongs, and most any tool that could be removed by one man (and had not been burried in the dust) were carried off shortly after the smith passed away. Leaving only a pile of scrap metal and the heavy tooling.

Farmer Phyl, I attached a photo of the old Westinghouse motor that was used to drive the lineshaft. The motor had been installed in outside, in back of the shop, and a slot had been cut through the 15 inch thich adobe walls for the belt to pass through. A really cool setup that would have had any OSHA rep screaming and twitching.

And Uncle spike, as far as the stories go we got lucky. The town of Mesilla is small and very devoted. Throughout the time that it took for us to move the equipment about 15 different people stopped by to see the shop and share their memories of it. One of the visitors was the sister of the smith. She was an elderly woman who happily told us stories about life around the shop, and clearly recalled the day that the hammer arrived from california by train, and the nightmare of a time that the men in the shop had trying to move it into place. "It took five of them, and they complained for weeks!" the memories made her smile.







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My guess is it was less expensive to cut a slot in an adobe wall than buy another 10-15' of steel shafting and carrier bearings. You'd also be able to hear/smell the motor if something started going wrong. 3' of adobe is plenty of soundproofing.

So I'm thinking it's a matter of economy with the side benefit of machine safety. (safety for the machine)


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Thomas, your right, I didn't need another hammer, 4 is enough.....For now. I made the deal with the owner years ago, and by the time she was ready to act I had already set myself up with an arsenal of hammers, so I moved this hammer on down the line to a fellow blacksmith that recently moved into the area and is attempting to assemble a period correct shop. He plans on restoring and assembling all of the equipment (lineshaft and all) exactly as it was in the shop. He is even going so far as to see if we can find someone to rebuild the old westinghouse motor!

Frosty.. I think that you are exactly right. The shaft itself was 1 1/2 inch solid suported by three babit berings, It ran along the back wall of the shop so that it's weight was distributed over three seperate trusses. I think that the hole in the wall was the easiest way to get the power from the motor to the shaft and not take up any more shop space.

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