The Historical Approach

True to my initial vision, I had determined to keep my methods and tools for blacksmithing old-school. I banished the arc welder early on and sought ways to bring my shop closer to those of the 18th century in most (but not all) ways. Not only did I want to keep my work fun and interesting, but I wanted to preserve a sadly neglected side of blacksmithing: the historical approach. I greatly enjoy the “experimental archaeology” side of things, figuring out “how they might have done it.” This decision has invoked criticism from some of my friends who are full-time smiths, and even after three years, with a grinder as the only power tool I use in the blacksmithing shop, a few of them still shake their heads. They’re bewildered mostly at my refusal to install a modern power hammer. I won’t say I’ll never get one, but I will say I’m no more inclined to than I was three years ago.

–Jordan Goodwin, excerpt from “For the Love of History: A Journey into Practical Blacksmithing,” in Issue Twelve


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