I’m more than excited to say that I helped make that beautiful hook yesterday! Casey Deane invited me to spend the day seeing how he works with wrought iron at the Toronto Blacksmith Shop Ltd. It was so much fun! And Casey is a fountain of knowledge, so I spent the afternoon listening to all his tidbits of information on the blacksmith trade and watching him create art out of iron poles.
The process of making the rose and hook began with the iron poles in the forge (a giant oven used to heat the metal so it is malleable). Rotating between texturing (with the ball end of a ball-peen hammer) and cutting the petals for the rose and bending the hook (by hitting the pole on an anvil with a hammer and cooling certain areas in a drum full of cold water called a quenching bucket), the process takes patience and skill. The time between when the iron is taken out of the forge, until it stops being hot enough to be able to work with is called a “heat” (hence the saying “in the heat of the moment” and “strike while the iron’s hot”). Traditional blacksmiths pride themselves on how much they can get accomplished during one heat. It was interesting to see how the metal sheds its coating during each heat, like layers of skin flaking off.
Then the flower was created by bending the iron into a spiral and welding on the petals. A blowtorch and vice were used to mold the petals into shape and to twist the hook section into the curve (this is the part I helped with!!!!). The bracket was made by drilling the holes, countersinking them, and welding it into place. Finally the whole thing was sanded, polished and coated with a clear coat to keep it from rusting. It all took about two and a half hours to make and I love it!
Casey started learning the trade after discovering that he couldn’t find certain custom parts for his motorcycle. After an apprenticeship with some very accomplished (and old school) blacksmiths and a few years experience, Casey opened the Toronto Blacksmith Shop to create custom furniture and home decor. Check out some photos of Casey’s amazing pieces on the facebook page here or on torontoblacksmithshop.com. Everything is beautiful and he does custom work, so if you need a unique, hand-made piece for your home, then look him up!
Here are some photos of my experience and some of Casey’s work:
Tonight I had the dress rehearsal for the International Dance Day flash mob! The flash mob will take place tomorrow at 12:10pm in Toronto. If anyone’s interested in coming out to see, send me a message and I’ll let you know where it is (as long as you pretend you don’t know it’s going to happen!).