The Nine Irons

Sometimes things just work out. We have a good friend who is a blacksmith and he has taken the youngest member of our family under his wing. We are delighted that Finley can spend time with him, learning the trade and enjoying the company of a truly great craftsman.

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The other week we were all drinking tea in our roundhouse and that was when the idea was born. Our friend had been thinking of a way to stop the drafts in his forge.

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His farm is over two hundred years old and the shed that now houses the forge was once a turf shed with slots in the old walls to keep the wind flowing through the space, keeping the turf nice and dry.

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He has lovingly restored it, but was reluctant to just fill in the slots with cement. They do work as light intakes but keeping them completely open was not an option, due to the wind constantly whistling through the building.

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He admired the bottle-wall sections in our house and suddenly the solution to his dilemma was right there. Bottle bricks could be added to the slots, keeping the light flowing into the building and at the same time eliminating the drafts. We were delighted to be asked to help out with this project.

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So, this Saturday we arrived at the forge, armed with a cement mixer and a few boxes of made up bottle and jar bricks.

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If you would like to make your own bottle walls, all the information you need is in this post, which we wrote last year.

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We set to work on the seven slots, adding bottles of different shapes and colours. It was a bit tricky in places, as the slots were uneven but we are pleased with the result. It adds a contemporary feel to the old place, using recycled materials and best of all, keeps the light flowing into the building.

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We are planning to add some glass paint to the clear bottles next week, to further enhance the space. Our friend had some old, wonderfully shaped bottles found around the place and they were extra nice to include in the walls.

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While we were working away on the walls the blacksmith and his apprentice worked away on the metal, heating, hammering and shaping it into beautifully crafted pieces.

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The name of the forge comes from the old Irish tradition of the Nine Irons amulet. In the 1800’s Blacksmiths often made these amulets with nine different miniatures for people who wanted to use the power of iron to protect themselves from evil and misfortune and also add some good luck to their lives.

Here you can see them reproduced and added to a bracelet that can be worn for protection and luck.

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You can read all about our friend and his work on the beautiful website; 9ironscraft.

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The poker at the top was made by our son.

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It was a very enjoyable day, spent in the way we like best, sharing skills, using recycled materials for a project and having some time for just talking and relaxing with a cup of tea.

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We love the way our friend reuses old items like this wheel hub that has found a new purpose. There are similar items all over the forge and garden. It gives the place a very special feeling and makes us feel right at home.

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7 thoughts on “The Nine Irons

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