For a number of years now, I have had a problem. The first two blacksmith shops had inappropriate floors. Blacksmithing includes a good deal of fire and sparks. There’s always the danger of accidentally catching something unintended on fire (not to mention the smith himself). The building, where the shop had been located for a number of years, had a wooden floor. I oft times worried about a stray spark smoldering to life after I had left the scene.
Now, finally, there is a “new” Mike Hotz Blacksmith Shop. I took down a barn over on Brecksville Rd. and used some of the beams to build an addition to the side of the original shop. The addition has a brick floor. It feels wonderful to have such freedom to create and fix with no worry. There’s no longer anything to catch fire.
Now when you visit the “new” shop you can ask about firing up the forge and try your own hand at shaping some metal. You can see up close some of the many tools that helped build America. Or you can even try lifting the 150 lb. anvil or the 100 lb. vice. You might also notice the various hand cranked blowers or the pre-Civil War wood and leather bellows that resides in the rafters.
~~One other note: One time I was talking with an old-time blacksmith. I particularly liked an anvil he had. He looked at it and said, “That’s not an anvil. That’s a family”. I didn’t get what he was saying at first, so he explained. Going back several thousand years, to the earliest metal workers, if a man had an anvil he could make a good living. The anvil and what it enabled him to make would keep him and his family alive. An anvil would be passed down thru families for generations. Well used, they will practically last forever. The oldest anvil in this museum probably dates back at least 200 years, but who knows, it might be a bit older than that. –And that is a whole lot of family’s.