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In the last few years, there has been resurgence in the world of “do it yourself” hobbyists. These people take their passion into their own hands and can be seen online perfecting their skills as brewmasters, carpenters and any number of other old skills that are nearly forgotten by the common many. When once every house had a bubbling barrel of ale in the corner and the bunk beds were handmade, people no longer have a need for these skills and don’t have the time to learn them. One of the most forgotten, but impressive skills is forge work and that is what we are going to talk about here.
If you have ever been to a renaissance faire then you have seen the hand forged knives and swords that people carry around. If you are lucky, you may even get to see some of these pieces being made by skilled craftsmen. One of my favorite kitchen knives is a piece from one such forge. These people have spent years perfecting their skills, all the while burning their hands and dripping sweat while striking, twisting and reshaping nearly molten metal. Impressive as it is, how many of us need a broadsword in the modern day? Nobody “needs” a broadsword anymore.
Happily, most of these forge masters supplement their income and support their art with money that they make by fulfilling orders for more mundane items. I had mentioned kitchen knives earlier and that is where a lot of these man and women make their money. There is a big call for hand forged knives in the world of high end cooking and in the foodie circles. You will spend a good amount of money on such items, but you’ll have a piece of cutlery which you know is made of high quality materials and with skills that ensure its performance and edge for years to come.
There is something truly amazing about taking an old file, and reshaping it into a knife that you use to cook your dinner from scratch. More people need to pick up the old skills to gain an appreciation for the history of the work. Forging is one of the most costly hobbies you can take on, but it is also one of the most rewarding for your work. Most forge masters started as hobbyists and turned their passion into their life’s work.
There are even some forges that will make much larger pieces, such as bunk beds, but these are for the most devoted forge enthusiasts. I love having wrought iron in my home and I use it in every room but I think that paying for a set of custom bunk beds is a bit much for my wallet. For the average items, like wine racks and candelabras, I don’t worry about the skills of the masters. I’ll visit the forge when I need a new knife.
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