Sarge Morin is working to master the art of blacksmithing and is teaching himself mostly through the internet at home. He’s interested in using old techniques to move metal, and doing so the old-fashioned way, rather than using modern machinery.
Blacksmithing has always intrigued him, and because of its gain in popularity in recent years, he’s been finding online resources to help refine his skills. YouTube channels and Facebook groups have helped him reach out to other, more experienced blacksmiths and improve his techniques.
A few years ago, he figured out he could get started in blacksmithing rather easily. He discovered that one can take a salvaged brake drum from a mechanic at no cost and use it as a coal forge to begin beating metal. He said a friend gave him an anvil, one used by an old mining company. It’s something he treasures because of its rich history.
But it’s more than just “beating metal.” Finesse, he said, is part of the process.
“It’s deceiving, because you hit metal with a hammer against another piece of metal, but you just end up with smashed metal,” he said. “Like anything rewarding, it requires patience and effort. Doing it well requires finesse.”
Though Morin has been practicing a while, he’s becoming more serious in blacksmithing. He’s creating tools like hammers and axes, among other things.
It took him two days recently to make a hammer, one that he could have purchased for $60 in a store, he said. Still, he felt a satisfaction in creating something on his own.
“Less than 100 years ago, this was the primary means of creating metal objects,” he said.
An expert hunter and fisherman, Morin is someone who likes to do things himself. He said that just two generations ago, people had to work harder at eating and even basic survival.
“Electricity wasn’t guaranteed,” he said. “Natural gas wasn’t guaranteed. We have everything at our fingertips now. Amazon ships in two days.”
He also just settled on a logo, and with a brand in place, he said he’s ready to make his fascination more of a business and will begin selling some of his items. His work will get made more quickly as his skill progresses.
For him, though, it’s not necessarily easy to part ways with something he’s created. His work is art, even if it’s utilitarian.
This year, he didn’t have the time to get organized for the Noel Night celebration, but said that might be something he gets in on in the future.
Also the father of a baby boy, Morin said his time at the forge is limited. All the while, he hopes to instill the same values of self-reliance and resourcefulness into his child, without being a pushy parent.
He agrees there are others like him who find blacksmithing quite interesting.
“There is a Renaissance resurgence of blacksmithing,” he said. “People are interested in old time things. It’s making a comeback, though something custom is higher priced than the production from China.”
But to him, the custom work is special.