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.

Solving the “Impossible Problem”

  1. Video: It is an incredible amount of work to forge a pair of fireplace tongs. Like, this blacksmith should be awarded with a medal that lets everyone know that they should pat him on the back. Like he should think about retirement after shaping these
  2. Attempting to synthesize the “fragile and reactive” penicillin molecule with available methods was “like attempting to repair a fine Swiss watch with a blacksmith's anvil, hammer, and tongs,” Sheehan once said. His laboratory progressed slowly
  3. Old Cowtown's blacksmith shop is fully functioning, with a forge capable of reaching 3,000 degrees, tongs, hammers, water tub and other equipment needed to make “just about anything people could want” back in the 1870s, he said. Reifschneider said 

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