Issue 13 T.O.C. – Kenneth Schwarz – “A Blacksmith’s Contribution to Woodworking”

This post is part of a blog series revealing the table of contents of upcoming Issue Thirteen. As is our custom, we’ll be discussing one article per weekday in order to give you a taste of what is come. 

The subscription window which includes Issue Thirteen is open now.

To get Issue Thirteen when it ships early October, you can sign up for a subscription here. 

If you aren’t sure about your subscription status, you can reach out to Grace at Keep in mind though, if you are set to auto-renew, you never have to worry about getting the next issue of Mortise & Tenon. Issue Thirteen is coming your way soon!


Kenneth Schwarz – “A Blacksmith’s Contribution to Woodworking”

Since the discovery of iron and steel and their use in tools, woodworkers have relied on blacksmiths to make the hardware and cutting edges needed to practice their vocation. Hinges, nails, plane irons, axes – all came about as a collaboration between these inseparable trades. And in Issue Thirteen, author and Colonial Williamsburg blacksmith Kenneth Schwarz shares the history and practical nature of this connection through the making of a bench chisel.

Beginning with an overview of the early iron industry of America and pre-industrial metallurgy, Schwarz goes to the anvil and forge to show us how a period blacksmith did his work. Forge-welding a bit of steel, shaping the tang, and tempering the tool are all explained in detail. Throughout, the author’s experience in conveying the process to countless visitors to his shop shines through with clarity of explanation and valuable photography. His insights into the mindset of the 18th-century blacksmith are unparalleled.

John Neagle, “Pat Lyon at the Forge,” 1827.

The blacksmith’s trade truly was the cornerstone of pre-industrial work. As Schwarz notes, the ancient motto of the Blacksmith’s Company was “By Hammer and Hand, All Arts Do Stand,” and we as woodworkers benefit greatly from their skilled labor. 

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