Participants get into the blacksmith workshop.
Participants get into the blacksmith workshop. Contributed

You can teach new dogs 'lost' old crafts

I LOVE old crafts - green woodworking, stained glass and leatherwork among others.

The Southern Downs Regional Library has a great selection of books about these and other 'lost' skills.

As much as I enjoy reading about these skills and watching YouTube clips, it's a totally different level to be present as a master works and more profound again to have the opportunity to learn from a master.

Recently I had such an opportunity to participate in a local blacksmithing weekend.

Watching cold hard steel soften and flow as it was hammered, then harden to harder than before, not to mention fire welding was like watching magic.

Action at a typical blacksmithing weekend
Action at a typical blacksmithing weekend Contributed

Over two days we learnt fire control, forging, tempering and annealing.

We made, used and took home our own tools.

Despite being the dunce of the class, I am quietly proud of my tools and, while they may not have the finish or style of the other students, they are totally functional.

An advantage of blacksmithing is the ability to make your own tools.

I now have the confidence and skills to make not only more blacksmithing tools, but woodworking tools (eg carving gouges, hook knifes and froe) that have been on my wish list for years and to repair an antique hay rake I have been working on.

The class size of eight people was ideal.

HAMMERING IT OUT: Action at a typical blacksmithing weekend.
HAMMERING IT OUT: Action at a typical blacksmithing weekend. Contributed

Our blacksmith was a master, who has a lifetime of experience as a blacksmith and is a gifted teacher.

Morning and afternoon tea and lunch were provided and gave an opportunity to relax and chat.

The blacksmith weekends are run in Warwick, but it was well worth the trip.

One member of our group came from Dalby and another from North of Toowoomba so I really can't complain.

While most of the students were tradies, there was a large range of ages and there were no prerequisites or pre-reading.

There are courses for women and men and an advanced course is in the works.

I have put my name down for the advanced course as did most of the other people at the course.

Whether you are looking for an new experience, a creative gift for a loved one or simply want to learn a new skill or explore a new hobby I strongly recommend doing the blacksmithing course.

If you are interested in the course contact Wayne Cottee on 0439 699 376 for more.

Ben Boland

Stanthorpe Border Post

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