Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | August 7, 2013

The White Oak Blacksmith Forge

I just received word from the Art & Eats Committee that my husband Gene has been invited to open up his blacksmith shop and give demonstrations during the 2013 Art & Eats Back Roads Tour.


This was the day the magazine photographer was here taking Gene’s photographs and needed additional light so he moved his portable forge and anvil out into the daylight to work.

We are happy with this news as we think it will give an extra pizzaz to our October 19 & 20th studio tour and besides it gives him an excuse to work in the shop those two days. He has a couple of commissions and rarely has time to be out there pounding iron with his present schedule.


Can’t you just tell how much Gene loves this kind of work!

Gene has always like working with his hands and after a 32-year career with the City of Kalamazoo working behind a desk and working with computer and telephone equipment he welcomes the time to forge steel using a traditional coal-fired forge and his vintage equipment.


This is the blacksmith forge addition to our pole barn.

Even in the best of marriages, a place to go and an art of one’s own is a good thing. Being together 24/7 in retirement can get a bit scratchy at times and having something interesting to talk about at the end of the day is a positive thing. This is a hobby I supported for his retirement years.


I had this custom-made cedar sign commissioned for him one Christmas.

He works with a 175 lb. Peter Wright anvil bought from a local farmer and various hammer heads and tongs he has accumulated from flea markets and auctions.  He uses a special coal to build the fire (not charcoal briquettes) that comes all the way from West Virginia and heat the metal to exactly the right temperature. He has many traditional blacksmithing tools, some found and collected and some homemade. They hang on display in his shop –  a source of pride for him.

With his limited time he like to make “quickly produced” products like hooks, shepard’s crooks and fire pokers. Someday when he finally retires he looks forward to having time to make more involved projects.

If you are within driving distance to Pullman, MI, please consider yourself invited to the Oct. 19 & 20th Art & Eats back Roads Tour. We will both be open both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Small House / Big Sky Donna

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