Unique Blacksmith Made Iron Work

When you put unique blacksmith made iron work in your home it says something about you.  It says you are unique and you like superior craftsmanship.  There is certainly nothing wrong with having nice things that represent you, your taste and your life style. When you give blacksmith made, you care enough to give the very best!! Remember, at Robins Blacksmithing you can be assured that it is American made in Iowa.

"Blacksmith Made Garden Hook"

Garden with blacksmith made touch

Why buy blacksmith made ironwork?

  • support your local artist blacksmith
  • keep the art of blacksmithing alive
  • give unique one of a kind gifts
  • gifts with a personal touch
  • getting one of, not one of thousands

    Blacksmith work in process by artist blacksmith Dewey

    Artist Blacksmith, Dewey

Artist Blacksmith

The artist blacksmith in this day and age works very hard to create unique works of art.  If you ever get the opportunity to see a blacksmith at work, you will be mesmerized.  As the steel is heated to a yellow glow in the coal forge it becomes soft and ready to take shape.  Watch the smith as he or she hammers the soft, play dough like, steel with hammer and anvil.  The blacksmith uses a great assortment of specialty tools and talents to manipulate the steel to take the shape he or she is looking for.  It is true that the only limitation is the imagination.

"Artist Blacksmith Double Striking"

Dewey and Dick getting hammered

The Art Of Blacksmithing

The blacksmithing trade dates back thousands of years.  The village blacksmith was highly valued for their knowledge, skills and abilities to make repairs and create tools.  Before the age of mass tool production, the blacksmith was depended on for making many different hand tools.  Before we had the automated equipment to produce hundreds of nails in a short amount of time, it was up to the smith to provide the nails to build houses and buildings.  It is said that a good smith could produce as many as 800 nails in a ten hour day.  When a blacksmith was commissioned to make nails he was only allowed a 5% loss, due to mil scale, in material provided.  Nails were very valuable, when relocating early homesteaders would burn their house and gather the nails to take with them to build their next homestead.

Unique Blacksmith Made Gifts

Blacksmith made gifts are very unique because they are forged with hammer and anvil.  You are probably wondering what I mean by blacksmith forged.    In order to forge steel it must be heated to a very hot temperature.  Forging temperatures run from 1000 degrees to 2300 degrees F depending on type of steel.  At these temperatures the steel becomes very soft and pliable ( play dough like).  This is where the blacksmith uses various tools to form and shape the steel into unique creations.  When giving blacksmith made gifts you are giving that unique person that unique gift.

Blacksmith Made Gold Pendent

Gold Memory Necklace

Blacksmith Made Personalized Memory Necklace

In Memory Of Necklace

Personalize Your Gift

You have special people in your life, why settle for a gift that  comes straight off the shelf.  When you  give a personalized gift that says “this is for only you” you are saying “you are a one and only.” Personalized gifts are for the simple fact that the one giving the gift is thinking of the special person that is receiving it.  Being able to give that special unique gift, that will be cherished for generations, is quite awesome.

Blacksmith Made

One of a kind stainless steel rose

One Of

You have the opportunity to give the gifts that can not be found on any department store shelf.  Blacksmith made gifts are truly one of a kind, not one of a thousand.  Be that one of a kind person that gives one of a kind gifts to one of a kind people.

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Got Blacksmith Made!

You have good taste and you take the time to find that perfect gift for the ones you care about.  I would like to introduce blacksmith made to your unique gift selection.

Blacksmith Made Crosses

Blacksmith Insuring Blacksmith Made Quality

What does “blacksmith made” mean?

Blacksmith made means, you care enough to give the very best.  Blacksmith made items are unique in many ways.  The median the smith is working with is heated and reshaped or reformed into some other form.  This procedure is done with various tools and hammers.  This process is called hand forging, this makes for unique individual items, not mass produced.

Where does “Blacksmith” come from?

Blacksmith derived from a person working with iron or steel median.  When steel is heated and cools down it becomes black.  Therefore, this makes the person working with steel a blacksmith.

Thus, the persons who worked with:

  • gold would be a goldsmith
  • copper would be a copper smith
  • tin would be a tinsmith
  • silver would be a silversmith
    Blacksmith made gnome copper letter opener

    Copper gnome letter opener

Dewey the blacksmith.

I am a welder by trade, welding and custom fabrication puts the majority of the food on our table.  I started working with steel at a very young age at “Joe’s machine shop” my dads welding and repair business (modern day blacksmith shop).

About 14 years ago my wife and I started to dabble in the art of  blacksmithing.  I had n0 idea the possibilities one could create with steel.  With this lifelong journey of working steel, fabricating steel is pretty much second nature.  Blacksmithing on the other hand is another whole adventure.  I only wish the forge and anvil had crossed my path 30 years ago.

Blacksmith Made Burning Coal Forge

Coal forge waiting for iron

I fell in love with the art form almost immediately.  I will never forget how exciting it was the first time I tried blacksmithing.  The smell of the coal fired forge and the feel of the heat radiating from the hot iron will always be with me.  When the steel is heated in the forge it becomes very soft and flexible, almost like clay or play dough.  An artist blacksmith once told me it’s just like working with play dough, only a little bit hotter.  At this point it became apparent to me that my imagination was the only limitation.   From that day, to the present and into the future, I now know what I was put on the earth to do.

Blacksmith Made

Artist Blacksmith, Dewey

It’s alive.

In the past years my wife and I have met many excellent artist blacksmiths.  We look forward to meeting many more throughout our blacksmithing endeavors.  Whenever we set up for a public demonstration we always hear how the art of blacksmithing is a dying art.  Well, the good news is that it isn’t dying, it is flourishing and growing strong.  You didn’t think that a trade so deeply woven in the fabric of our society would actually fad away.

Blacksmith Demonstrates Blacksmith Made

Blacksmithing Still Alive In 2010

From the beginning of the human race, the blacksmith was an important asset to their community.  If you needed an ax to chop down the trees for a log cabin, you went to the village blacksmith and got a blacksmith made ax.  It was the blacksmith that made the tool for building the houses.  The nails that held the houses and buildings together were blacksmith made.  The hinges that secured the doors and mammoth gates were all blacksmith made by the village blacksmith.

Blacksmith Made Custom Door Hinges

Blacksmith made door hinges

Modern artist blacksmith.

Granted the roll as the blacksmith has changed over time.  The blacksmith of today is more of an artist.  We still make tools and gidget-gadgets, but it is impossible for us to compete with the industrial methods of making common everyday tools.  This is where the artist part of blacksmithing comes into play.

Blacksmith Made Gnome Bottle Opener

Gnome bottle opener

Blacksmith Made.

As today’s artist blacksmiths we provide our community with blacksmith made items.

  • unique one of a kind art pieces
  • personalized custom creations
  • specialty tools for specific jobs
  • decorative iron fencing
  • home decorating accents

The list goes on and on.

Blacksmith Made Bug

Leaf Hopper Bug

Closing the circle.

When you purchase blacksmith made products you help support the art of blacksmithing.  You could say you are keeping the art of blacksmithing alive.  When you buy blacksmith made you are buying unique one of a kind, not one of thousands.  I love it when people call me and thank me for the awesome gift they received from a loved one in their life.  I am glad that we as artist blacksmiths can provide our communities with blacksmith made creations to enjoy.

Blacksmith Made

One of a kind stainless steel rose

Got blacksmith made?

I encourage you to take advantage of the blacksmith made products available to you.  You can keep the art of blacksmithing alive and give the most unique gifts all at the same time. If you have ever received a gift that is blacksmith made or hand crafted, you realize the uniqueness of that gift, share it.

Every time you show that piece off you are promoting the art of blacksmithing and hand crafted quality.  You probably have a blacksmith in your back yard and don’t even know it.  By purchasing blacksmith made, you are supporting him or her, not some sweat shop in another country.

Blacksmith Made Love Knot

Two hearts tie the knot

Remember, blacksmith made means you care enough to give the very best.

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How To Demonstrate Artist Blacksmithing

Portable Artist Blacksmith

Portable Blacksmith Demonstration

I got a call from a fellow blacksmith the other day.  He has volunteered to do a public blacksmithing demonstration for the church he attends.  As Jeff is a full time farrier, not an artist blacksmith,  he was curious if I had some input for his blacksmith demonstration.  As Jeff is busy shoeing horses, he does not get the opportunity to blacksmith as much as he would like.

Jeff has seen me demonstrate blacksmith made items in public and liked what he saw.  It occured to me that if I could help him with his blacksmithing demonstration, perhaps I could help others as well.

I hope you can pick up a few pointers from me and the way I go about doing artist blacksmithing demonstrations.  One way I can improve is by others imput.  Therefore, if you can add to my artist blacksmith demonstration experiences, I would love to hear about it.

Blacksmithing Demonstrations

Robins Blacksmithing live demonstration

Dewey answering questions

I have been doing public demonstrations in the art of blacksmithing for over 13 years and love it.  It is so awesome to be able to educate people while entertaining them at the same time.  I take any and every opportunity I get to demonstrate blacksmith made items and I encourage you to do the same.

Do you have what it takes? Of course you do!  You probably just don’t know it yet.  There are only a few qualifications to be a good demonstrator:

Artist Blacksmith

One Bad Momma on a 50# Tire Hammer

  • confidence
  • knowledge
  • humor

Yes, that is it.  You do not have to be a rocket scientist to play.  You just need to have fun.

Do you have the Confidence it takes to be a public demonstrator?                                      Of course you do!

When someone is confident in what he or she is doing it shows. If one is unsure and timid at what he or she is doing, it also shows.  Are you more likely to watch confidence or confusion?  Granted sometimes confusion is more humerus.

My point is, as you demonstrate for the general public, you more than likely know more about blacksmithing than the crowd you are demonstrating for.

Artist Blacksmith

Dewey having fun

You have researched on how to blacksmith and gathered a wealth of information about blacksmithing before you ever swung a hammer.  If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so.

You will know some of the answers some of the time

You will know most of the answers most of the time

But, you will never know all the answers all the time

There is nothing wrong with telling the crowd that you don’t know the answer to their question.   I approach it like so,  That is a great question, unfortunately you will have to ask me the next time you see me. Usually that gets a chuckle and it dismisses the fact that I didn’t know the answer.  That gives me time to research the question and be prepared for the next time it is asked, and it will be asked again.  See how that works?

Do you have the Knowledge?                                                                                                       Of course you do!

You have read a lot of information about blacksmithing.  Most of the questions are the same ones over and over.

Artest Blacksmith Coal Forge

Fire and Steel

  • What are you burning in there? (coal)
  • What does cranking the handle do? (induce draft)
  • How hot is that steel or iron? (ambient air temperature to 2,000)
  • And of course the repeated question, have you ever been burnt? (you play with fire, you are going to get burnt)

I encourage you to learn as much as you can, whenever and wherever you can.

I watched a blacksmith demonstration in West Amana by Gerald (a fellow blacksmith).  It was a very impressive demonstration with a lot of informative information.  Not only did it include information about blacksmithing,  he also included  a wealth of history about the area.

People have a tendency to be shy and not ask questions.  I believe one way to hold a crowd is to communicate as much vocally as well as visually while demonstrating the art of blacksmithing. If you do not talk to your spectators, they will not stick around.

Are you a Humorous person?                                                                                                      Of course you are!

I am not saying you have to have your crowd “busting a gut” all of the time.   This is not a stand up comedy routine, it is a educational blacksmithing demonstration.

By humor, I mean, don’t make it a boring lecture.  Throw a joke in here and there.  For instance, the kid that is very interested and  gets to close for comfort to the hot iron.  Just reassure mom that if they get burnt it will heal before they get married.  That usually gets a chuckle and the child steps back.  If not, sum it up with if it don’t heal before they get married, they are getting married way to young.  Another comeback is, “We do branding”.

Excitement breads excitement.  If you are excited about what you are doing, people will be excited about watching what you are doing.

You will find that when you brake the ice with people, and make them feel comfortable with you, they will start asking you questions.

Blacksmithing Demonstrations Step One

I would suggest to demonstrate a few small items that you can do rather quickly.  If it takes to long, people tend to get restless and move on.

Artist Blacksmith Work

Hand Forged Leaves

I find that leaves are a great item to demonstrate,  you can show may different ways to make a leaf.  I have been known to take a dozen or more heats on the same leaf to show different detail possibilities. You can keep the same crowd through the one leaf demonstration lasting 15 – 20 minutes, easy.

Artist Blacksmiths Dewey and Karen Roll

You Can Do It

Go out and demonstrate the blacksmithing arts
For every time we do this,we are likely to spark the fire in a future blacksmith.

Go out and demonstrate the art of blacksmithing
When we do this in numbers, it will ensure that the art of blacksmithing will never die.

Happy Hammering

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Robins Blacksmithing On The Move

It was another fun filled busy weekend.  Robins Blacksmithing hopes you had the opportunity to enjoy the blacksmithing demonstrations going on at the Little Log House Pioneer Power Show.  There were many artist blacksmiths demonstrating throughout the day.  It was a great pleasure to be part of the festivities.

Artist Blacksmiths forging wrought iron

Little Log House Blacksmith Shop

An organization that we are members of “The Guild of Metalsmiths”  puts on the blacksmithing demonstrations for the antique power show once a year.  Demonstrations  relate to working on blacksmith made projects for the show grounds.  This years projects included blacksmith made hinges and door latches for various buildings on the site.  We also made hand forged hose hangers for the flower garden.

Artist blacksmith yard art

Sylvia's Flower Garden

Robins Blacksmithing had their portable forging demonstration set up, to make blacksmith made items, just outside the on site blacksmith shop.  We had many interested bystanders asking questions and telling stories.  It is always interesting to hear the stories of times past and how their families were connected with the blacksmithing trade that we still demonstrate today.  It is a privilege to bring back good memories of their fathers and grandfathers working behind their anvil.

Portable Artist Blacksmith

Dewey at work

There were times when the crowd gathered three to four deep to get a glimpse of how to blacksmith.  The spectators were awed with every new blacksmithed creation we demonstrated.

As a demonstrator Dewey loves to educate and inform the bystander of what he is doing step by step.  Beings he has the gift (or curse) of gab,  he had to take a short break because his mouth got dry from talking so much, but he say it was the hot weather:)

Robins Blacksmithing live demonstration

Dewey answering questions

People really enjoyed learning that the old saying “to may irons in the fire” came from blacksmithing.  When a blacksmith had several projects going at one time, and was unable to attend all of them as needed, he had “to may irons in the fire”.  His work would get to hot and be damaged or burnt, thus making more work for the smith.

Some common questions:

  1. What are you burning in there?  A: Blacksmith coal – (there) referring to coal forge
  2. What does turning the handle do?  A: Induces air draft – (handle) referring to hand crank blower.
  3. How hot does that get?  A: Over 3,000 degrees F – (that) referring to fire in coal forge.
  4. Do you ever get burnt?  A: If you play with fire – you will get burnt!
  5. How long have you been doing this?  A: 13 plus years.

If you have any other questions that we have not covered, please feel free to ask.

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Robins Blacksmithing Began

Robins Blacksmithing

Robins Blacksmithing Decorative Iron Sign

It was in the fall of 1998 a young couple demonstrated as the “Village Blacksmith” for a non profit organization. We are unsure if it was the blacksmith demonstration or the heat from the coal forge that made the crowed huddle together on that crisp fall day.

Learn How To Blacksmith

Robins Blacksmithing Portable Demonstration

Dewey At The Coal Forge

One thing I learned from that first public demonstration, was that I needed to learn how to blacksmith.  It’s not that I was unfamiliar with steel but there are differences between a metal fabricator and being a modern blacksmith.

I started welding in my dad’s shop”Joe’s Machine Shop” at a very young age and continue to weld and fabricate to this day.  when someone told me I could weld two pieces of steel together in a coal fire, I said “ya, right”.

Thanks to Dave Hartwig, a master blacksmith, for mentoring me and teaching me the basics of blacksmithing.  By the time Dave made it to teaching the fundamentals of forge welding, I already fell so deep into the blacksmith quest, that there was no turning back.

The following spring Dewey and Karen decided to build a smithy to protect them from the elements of “Mother Nature.”  You can find their first shop at “Heritage Park of North Iowa” show grounds in Forest City, Iowa.

The poles were set and the roof was tinned from the previous fall.  Early that spring we got busy closing up the walls and building a work bench for our first blacksmith shop.

    A robin started her own construction before we got there.  She had constructed herself a sturdy nest atop one of the wall posts.  We had many conversations with the robin as we forged onward to finish the task at hand.  I think the robin got to liking us.

    That all important day had finally arrived,  it would be the first day of demonstrating our blacksmith art in our new smithy.  It was a very exciting day! We got to share our new acquired knowledge of forging iron and steel.

    Robins Blacksmithing Was Founded

    With all the commotion and excitement, the three young robins took their first attempt at flight.  and so the name, Robins Blacksmithing, was founded.  We at Robins Blacksmithing encourage you to give blacksmithing a try, it is truly rewarding.  Visit your nearest Village Blacksmith today and you could possibly learn how to blacksmith, too.

    Modern Day Blacksmith Shop

    Robins Blacksmith Shop

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    What is Blacksmithing?

    "Blacksmiths Dewey and Karen"

    Artists Dewey and Karen

    What is Blacksmithing?
    Blacksmithing is the art of shaping heated iron and steel with hand tools such as hammers or with forging machines.

    A Blacksmiths Art

    A Blacksmith is the person who does this work either by hand or with help of machines.  “Black” comes from the color of the metal after being heated and cooled.  “Smith” comes from the word, “smite” or “to strike”.  Therefore the blacksmith is one who strikes black metal.

    Blacksmithing dates from the earliest iron age, which started about 1500 BC or earlier in Central Asia.  Many of the tools and techniques date from the earlier times of the bronze age going back over 5,000 years.

    The metal worked by the blacksmith is either the old ductile wrought iron or the modern steel.  Blacksmith wrought iron is the product of early iron furnaces called bloomeries.  Wrought iron has no carbon and cannot be hardened.  It is no longer manufactured but old scrap wrought is sought out by blacksmiths and recycled.

    Steel is iron with a small amount of carbon (0.1 to 1.5%) that makes it hardenable.  Early steel was an expensive product made in small quantities.  Modern low carbon steel has largely replaced Wrought Iron.  Modern steel has been available in bulk since the invention of the Bessemer process in the 1860’s.

    Cast iron is iron with 2 to 3 percent carbon or more.  It is brittle and can only be shaped by casting in a mold or by carving or machining (making chips).  Cast iron has many uses because it is inexpensive to produce items from it.  Cast iron is also better for things like the body of machine tools or engine blocks because it is stiff and is vibration dampening. Cast Iron is not forged and so is not a product of the blacksmith.

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    Hello world!

    Unique one of a kind hand forged items. From coat hooks to fire pokers, the list is endless.

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