Blacksmiths Forge Community in Armory Annex

Updated: 12/21/2013 10:32 PM
Created: 12/21/2013 5:15 PM
By: Travis Dill

A group of blacksmiths took over the Armory Annex in Duluth on Saturday. The group of artisans has many irons in the fire, but hopes to help fund the Armory reconstruction.

The group is called Forging Community, and they couldn't wait for the Armory to be restored so they put countless hours of repairs to the Annex after the 2012 flood.

Paul Webster created the group and said most members have forges at home, but they want the Annex to be a place they can all gather. Forging Community needs $15,000 to get four forges into the building.

“That will allow us to demonstrate between 20 and 60 hours a week. We should have people here actually hammering hot iron,” Webster said. “It becomes like playdough. Really the only limit is the knowledge of the smith and tooling you apply to it.”

But the group won't just show off for the public. They want to teach people to blacksmith.

“Basically you start with the basics. How do you forge metal out to a point? How do you flatten it out? How do you control the metal as it moves at yellow or white heat?” Webster said.

That flash has already caught some attention.

“I came in and just kind of introduced myself and said, 'Can I do this?' and they said, 'Absolutely,'” Janice Crede said.

Crede is a student and just learning to make simple hooks, but she said anyone can learn.

“I didn't need to know anything coming in and that's kind of the cool thing nobody else does either. If you want to learn how to do this come see us,” Crede said.

The enthusiastic blacksmiths will keep the coals hot with hopes their idea will catch fire in the community.

The Annex will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. The blacksmiths also have a gallery in the Annex where they sell their creations.

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