The Art and Craft of Jeff Wasson

Blacksmithing at the 2005 Long Island Scottish Games.

Under my medieval name of Geoffrey the Younger I sometimes demonstrate the craft of armouring and blacksmithing at medieval faires and events.

My daughter helps pump the bellows.
Here I shape a greave over a stake. Heated in a charcoal forge, the red hot metal moves easier under well placed blows.
Blacksmithing at the 2004 Cloisters Medieval Faire.

With my charcoal forge and lever operated bellows I was able to heat up iron red hot and forge a variety of hooks, tools, and armor plates.

The forging of iron has always intrigued me. It requires the four basic elements; Fire (the forge), Earth (steel and the hearth to hold the fire), Water (to quench the steel) and Wind (the bellows to make the fire hotter). It requires great ingeunuity in tools and craft as well as great skill and strength. It is Alchemical; thru hardening and temporing the smith can control the very properties of the metal.
My most portable set-up, summer 2005.

Here you can see a small bellows attached to the forge; a wooden box holding firebrick that contains the fire. Underneith the bellows is a basket holding extra charcoal for the forge. A bucket of water for quenching and maintaining the fire sits ready next to the anvil.

This is the smaller of my two bellows. The larger one is lever operated and delivers quite a blast.

The construction of the bellows. It was made of plywood, leather, felt and tacks. It measures about 2 ft by 3 ft. I used a pamphlet on how to make a bellows and also looked at many period illustrations. My favorite are from De Re Metallica, an early 16th century German mining manual showing all different processes of mining and refining with text and woodcuts.

All images and content
© 2006-2012 Wassonartistry.com and Jeff Wasson
all rights reserved.