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

18th annual Hammer-in

  1. “We do old-fashioned blacksmith work here.” It takes a craftsman to repair a propeller, agreed Jimmie Harrison of Frank Next, he moves the prop to pitch blocks, which support the blades, chooses the appropriate hammer — covered either with rawhide
  2. Blacksmithing demonstrations this year will include John Barron on handrail design and construction; Ian Brooks on fly press techniques and tooling; John Emmerling on power hammer safety and flat die drawing; Tom Laman and George Dunajski on chasing 
  3. For his larger and more difficult work Jacobs uses what is know to blacksmiths as an electric power hammer which he says can cut his time to 1/10 the time it takes to make a normal piece of work. Jacobs continues to participate in local renaissance

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