Going Dutch: An introduction to the early
Hardware found in the Colony of New Netherland
The focus of this workshop will be on a variety of techniques used in blacksmithing that can be mastered by beginners. The course will introduce students to: the History and science of forged iron, tools of the shop, fire building and tending, simple hammer welding, tapers, upsets, and the basics of hardening and tempering.
Discussions will include design and function as well as the tools of the blacksmith shop, including what to look for when buying and how to make some of your own. This is a comprehensive program that will give the participants a good working knowledge of hot forging steel as well the rare opportunity to work at the forge and anvil with instruction.
Using a diverse collection of historic ironwork to illustrate the uses for ironwork in Colonial American life, students see the importance of the blacksmith in all aspects of daily life. I bring several large boxes brimming with tools for cooking, domestic chores, craft and trade work, animal management, farming and entertainment.
Seeing these objects up close the students feel a connection to the past and a sense of how daily chores and work were performed. The students learn that without the blacksmith we would all still be living in the "Stone Age"!
I also bring along iron in various natural forms and provide some background into where metal comes from.
I have done these talks for all age groups, for students in the 2nd grade on up.
Blacksmith demo site needs
I bring a complete working set up for demonstrating the work and processes of blacksmithing. My demo does not require very much preparation on site A shaded spot with protection from breezes makes for a good work environment. Sunlight makes it difficult to see the fire and the glowing heat of the iron so shade is essential. Under a tree is ok, a shed or pavilion is better.
A wind break of some sort to keep the smoke and dust out of my face is also helpful. It could be along the side of a building or a hedge, etc.
Because I am using fire in my work, a tent is not a good idea for my work area. I could work just outside the edge of the tent and have my display area in the tent. Because my work creates dust and smoke it is best to site my demo a little distance from the other displays.
If a minimum of 2 long tables can be provided on site that would provide enough room to spread out my collection of historic iron objects as well as display my forged work.