Hand wrought iron, steel

Ready for a new hobby? Need to build up those arm muscles?

In an age of mass-produced items, everyone still treasures the works created by a single craftsman. And of course, the true joy you get from creating with your very own hands is priceless! There is something unique about each piece that is made, with subtle differences even to the same type of product which gives every one a palpable quality, as if the creator’s essence is infused into the very thing they wrought.

Now imagine creating that same sensation as you are banging with a hammer onto a glowing yellow-orange piece of steel over an anvil, crafting a gate latch, barbecue fork, or even your own custom works of art! We have a lot of cowboys on this island and many of them even make their own horseshoes! Intrigued?

“The Home Blacksmith: Tools, Techniques, and 40 Practical Projects for the Home Blacksmith” by Ryan Ridgway is an excellent introduction to the art and hobby of blacksmithing. Filled with both stunning and helpful pictures composed by photographer Lynn Ridgway, this book gives you all the basics you need to start up your own smithy! Discover your ability to take pieces of iron and steel and convert them into things like a garden ornament or your own stylized lamp finial? Or how about a custom hunting knife? Or your own drawer pulls?

Also included is a fascinating history of blacksmithing and the scientific fundamentals on why the metal is worked the way it is. And for those already banging away, “The Home Blacksmith” is sure to give you some new and insightful pointers to help refine your skills to achieve certain nuances you’ve been looking to gain.

Who knew blacksmithing could be so fun and so useful? Bang-ching!

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Ed and Cynthia Justus are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.

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