458 Meylert St Laporte PA 18626
Here we are with summer half over. And this week we’re going to talk about a hot subject: blacksmithing. Because: this Saturday, July 20, 2013, starting at 1 p.m. Justin Haas, a local blacksmith and horseshoer will be speaking on this subject in the Barn on the Museum’s grounds. This demonstration and description of the work of blacksmithing should be of interest to folks of all ages, yes, kids too. Justin came to Sullivan County in 2007. He’d previously worked as an instructor at the Oklahoma Horseshoeing School from 2002 to 2007 where he became the head instructor of the school. He has taught over 2,000 people the art of horseshoeing, with a few of his former students practicing the craft in the local region. Justin is a certified Journeyman II Farrier with the Brotherhood of Working Farriers; a status which he had held over 12 years.
In 2009 Justin competed in the World Blacksmith Championships Competition, placing in the top 20. In 2010, with the help of his wife Kristin as his striker, they made a pair of round stock tongs, placing in the top 10. These tongs then were donated to a third world country after this competition, to help educate those locals about blacksmithing.
In 2012, Justin and Kristin built a blacksmith shop over the foundation of the old blacksmith shop in Colley. The last operator of the shop in Colley was Ed Butts in the 1930’s. They are excited to bring back the trade to the area with a permanent establishment. The shop features a forge that was once used in Dushore by Sherm Bahr. It also features tools from the local area, along with some from Europe. Justin appreciates the history of the craft, and has a passion for anvils. Once the shop is complete, there will be demonstrations and classes for the public, and the opportunity to purchase metal creations.
From the prefaceof an instructional book on blacksmithing by James M. Drew that was in its second printing in 1937 comes the following: “Since the automobile has taken the place of the horse and buggy, and the tractor has almost supplanted the farm team, there is so little work left for the horseshoer and wagon maker that these tradesmen are fast disappearing from the scene. The village or crossroads blacksmith, once an important factor in the working force of the rural neighborhood, if he has not already retired, is beginning to see the end of any profit in his business; and as no young men are learning his trade, his race bids fair to soon reach the vanishing point.” Justin will prove by his demonstration that the blacksmithing trade is alive and well, albeit no longer a necessity nor a sole livelihood.
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