When I first visited Bhandara with Basanta (VCC Founder) I was introduced to all the local makers in the area such as the potters, carpenters and blacksmiths. My aim at the time was to try and visit all the craftsmen again to help out and gain new personal experience and knowledge to hopefully take home and progress further with future projects.
The Blacksmith lived up the road, not far from the carpenter’s hut and he was based under a thatched roof shed alongside the football pitch. The crafts man had very little equipment; a bunch of hammers, a pair of tongs and a turning fan that blew air under the stone fired forge (obviously this is all he needed because the outcomes he was producing were so precisely made).
I began by watching him work on other customers’ work, sharpening blades and making some form of special chisel for a carpenter. Whilst watching I realised he had a pattern of working; keeping his eye on the object he was forging at all time and picking tools up he needed without looking, everything he used had its location which ensured he was using the exact correct tool for each process of the metal transformation.
The blades he made along side the one I made were all recycled. The piece of iron was originally a metal bolt; the turning fan forge allowed the metal to reach red hot temperatures whilst bathing in coal which then allowed the iron to be transformed, handling with a pair of tongs and hitting with a hammer let us customise the shape preferably to how we wanted it.
Unlike a horse farrier he hammered his red hot metal slowly and softly; accurately shaping into place with plenty of time, I would compare him to a jeweller as he seemed to have taken great care of the whole piece (I guess he had no concern of a horse kicking him in the face).
He had a selection of blades on the floor (boomerang shaped blades) and I recognised that each one was slightly different, whilst making mine I understood why. Each blade was hand crafted and personalised to the person using it, ergonomics contributed a massive part to his making process as every handle was differently sized and carved to match each individual owner.
Unfortunately, I broke my mini tripod, but luckily the blacksmiths grandson wanted to use the camera and managed to get some footage before he left for school.