Blacksmith at Fort Vancouver, WashingtonForgeThe devil cornered

Going hammer and tongs inside George Rousis' blacksmithing studio

Outside a weathered house on Woodland Avenue, the clang of metal striking metal reverberates up and down your spine as you approach the front door. You wonder if the man inside will hear you knock. You look at the intricately sculpted iron handle, and the sounds make sense.

Beyond the door is the studio of George Rousis, metalsmith. The space is messy, a little ramshackle, but it is also a place where fine things are made. Some of his bronze, iron and copper statues are the size of a wedding ring. Others are as large as the entryway gates he fashioned for the Children's Garden at the Kansas City Community Garden.

In the bowels of his studio, Rousis could pass for a Vulcan working his forge: sturdy from years of swinging hammers, his beard full enough to be a fire hazard. He says wearing a kilt has cured his back pain, but he also needs to be able to move easily. He's forever dropping things, dashing from one spot in the studio to the next, his trade a business timed in swiftly passing seconds.

Gary Hinman mastered the ancient craft of a blacksmith

  1. There are skilled modern metal fabricators who work their magic with welders and cutting torches but nothing will make you appreciate all the metal objects in your life like watching a blacksmith at work. Mike Mendenhall is a blacksmith from the Cache
  2. This cramped space feels like a step backward in time more than 100 years, where a blacksmith toils for hours to craft his tools. But this shop sits several yards behind Gary Hinman's house in Nanticoke and kitty-corner to Nanticoke Baptist Church
  3. When I'm outside doing yard work in the 100-plus-degree temps, whining to myself like a little namby-pamby, I tell myself the discomfort must pale in comparison to, say, the conditions surrounding a historic blacksmith forge, before the days of air

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