Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Blacksmith class offered to youths


Youths interested in working iron are invited to a three-day class in blacksmithing this weekend. Participants will make a coat hook, a nail and a dinner bell.

David Case, a professional blacksmith from Madison, N.H., will lead “Introduction to Blacksmithing,” in sessions Saturday through Monday, June 21-23, at the Hammer Museum. Information about the class will be presented 4:30 Friday, June 20, at the public library.

The brother of Haines resident Mike Case, David has taught a similar class previously through the 4-H program and this week was investigating to see if he could get 4-H certification for the class, which would cover insurance costs.

Blacksmithing involves heating metal, and the use of a hammer and anvil, to make useful or ornamental objects.

Case started blacksmithing in 1974 when a friend talked him into shoeing a horse. His work since then included helping build a wrought-iron gate around the house of horror novelist Stephen King – complete with bats and dragons. He also once made a point for a pole used by a Barnum and Bailey circus elephant trainer.

Hand-wrought items are used in homes and for commercial logging and farming. He’s also made ornamental pieces, fire pokers and shovels. “Making anything with your hands is fun. And it lasts forever.”

Case brought a gas forge and tongs with him to Haines. The local museum is providing hammers. “I’ll be stressing safety in every class,” he said. Trained blacksmiths can work without gloves but he’ll be encouraging students to wear them as a precaution.

For more information, contact the Hammer Museum at 766-2374.


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