Old School Trades- Blacksmith

Nestled in the rugged hills around Lithgow, in central west NSW is the almost-deserted State Mine.

The tower above the mine shaft still stands, and large, long workshops sit around the disused coal mine site.

In one of the old brick workshops, Phil Spark holds a long bar of steel and thrusts it into a glowing pit of coke pieces.

Sparks flare-up and the noise of combustion fizzes and hisses.

"Traditionally blacksmithing is about manipulating hot metal," said Mr Spark, with his prominent English accent.

"The reason it is called a blacksmith is the metal is black as it cools."

Originally from northern England, Mr Spark completed an engineering degree before moving to Australia in the 1980s, where he fell in love with forging. He's since been blacksmithing for over 30 years, and declares he's in 'paradise'.

Blacksmiths use a range of tools to do their work, including forges (a heating pit reaching up to 1,400 degrees Celsius), hammers, anvils, tongs, power hammers, and presses.

Native learns the art of blacksmithing

  1. Mike Hoffman spent his childhood in St. Cloud learning how to make tools with his father in the garage. Blacksmithing was in the young boy's blood. He stuck with it and eventually became a full-time blacksmith and machinist by trade, touring different
  2. “It's nice to get back out here and use the coal forge and feel like a real blacksmith,” Hayes said. John says that the older guys involved in the craft are always excited to share with Hayes. He has some tools that have been given to him by the men
  3. event, which takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. inside and outside the Craft Center at 25 Sagamore Road, Worcester, will have a block party ambiance featuring demonstrations and hands-on opportunities focusing on fiery processes such as glassblowing

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