Last year we were quite worried about the youngest member of our family, Finley. Like so many young people these days, he spent a lot of time in his room playing games on a screen and did not seem to have many interests apart from this. In the end, luckily, he got bored and decided it was time for a change.
He has always liked knives and in particular our Scandinavian knife from the Sami people living in the north of Sweden, Finland and Norway. They are reindeer herders and have a very interesting culture. We received one of their traditional knives as a gift from a family member in Sweden a few years ago and it has been a firm favourite since then, very sharp and perfect for jobs around the place.
In the summer we all travelled to Sweden and made a visit to a shop run by a Sami woman and Finley was able to buy his very own Sami knife and we got another one as well, for the whole family to use. They are the perfect marriage between aesthetics and functionality, beautiful both to look at and to use.
Finley also visited a blacksmith in Sweden and got even more interested in the subject of making his own tools and other items. When he returned to Ireland in early September he dived straight into the deep end and has not looked back since.
Since we are on a budget and we also like to use as many recycled materials as possible, Finley has made everything in his forge from scratch and has experimented and perfected each element in there.
A good friend has taught him how to weld and he is now able to make very nice evenly welded seams.
He built his own metal hood with a fan for extracting the smoke and used an old vacuum cleaner reversed under the forge to oxygenate the fire and make it burn with enough heat.
The whole forge was welded together from flat sheets of metal and angle iron, it has been tested out and works very well.
Another thing he needed was an anvil and a friend had some old pieces of railroad track in her garden. Finley and two of his friends worked on cutting,cleaning it up and giving it the right shape.
Debarking the base.
Cutting the railroad track.
He has also cleaned up a lovely old vice and built a base for it, along with a work bench and a wall tool rack.
At the moment he is doing Transition year in school and part of the curriculum is to set up a mini company and make thing to sell. He was given some old horse shoes from a friend who is a farrier and blacksmith. He is now working with his friend from school to come up with designs and you can look them up on their Face book page, IronCraftsLtd and their website, Iron Crafts Ltd. Finley is also looking forward to doing a week of work experience with a skilled blacksmith in the new year.
Business card holder.
We have seen a total transformation in Finley over the past couple of months. It is a joy to have an enthusiastic, skilled and happy young man in the house, in place of the lethargic and moody teenager who spent 95% of his free time in his bedroom staring at a screen.
We will write more about all this in the future and we can’t wait to see what will happen now the forge is all ready and the creative process can begin in earnest. We know Finley is very talented and pick things up quickly so we believe anything is possible. Watch this space…