Sunday Sit-down: Blacksmith Michael J. Saari

It looked like Mike Saari was making a brick-oven pizza.

Only Mr. Saari's "oven" was a gas forge that produces 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit of heat.

The "dish" was an inches-long decorative nail, which he made at the spur of the moment from the end of a 4-foot, quarter-inch round piece of steel.

Demonstrating the blacksmithing process in his workshop, Mr. Saari heated the end of the metal for several minutes until the tip turned orange.

After a few minutes of Mr. Saari beating the tip into shape with an anvil, he reheated the steel and beat it again, to draw down the shank away from the original material.

"That'll be the shank to the head of the nail," he said.

Later, he puts the metal in a header, twists it off and produces the nail.

For much larger and time-consuming works, such as the 20-foot tall steel sculpture commemorating the former American Optical complex in Southbridge, Mr. Saari used his coal forge and a machine called a German

AP News in Brief at 9:58 p.m. EST

  1. Typhoon Hagupit - Filipino for "smash" or "lash" - was expected to slam into the central Philippines late Saturday and hammer parts of a region where Haiyan's tsunami-like storm surges and ferocious winds left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in
  2. Typhoon Hagupit — Filipino for "smash" or "lash" — was expected to slam into the central Philippines late Saturday and hammer parts of a region where Haiyan's tsunami-like storm surges and ferocious winds left more than 7,300 people dead or missing
  3. Designed to help beginning blacksmiths move on to more advanced techniques and projects. Students should have taken the Blacksmith Fundamentals class or already have a basic knowledge of hammer techniques, general shaping/squaring/drawing out, 

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