I’ve spent time in and out of the living history museum world and visitors always wondered how someone like me would get into things like blacksmithing or cabinetmaking. There is no short answer, so here is the closest things to an abbreviated version.
My father has owned and operated a machine shop since before I was born. He’s a one man show, and I’m his only son, so I spent a lot of time working with him. In college I interned at a living history museum and upon graduation was offered the supervisor position for their blacksmith shop. The job was good in that it allowed me to improve my skills with a constant supply of steel and coal. It was during all of this that I started studying the Japanese sword making process. But one cannot study something well if they cannot experience it first-hand, so with the help of the museum cabinetmaker, we started applying the techniques to some chisel making projects in the shop.
In the fall of 2009 I had the opportunity to travel to
and spend some time working and living with swordmaker Shoji Yoshihara. Observing the process first hand confirmed a few of the things that I had figured out, and taught me many more and I came back to Japan with much to do. America
The winter of 2009-2010 was miserable in
and memorable only for the fact that I spent it building my forge. The hours of laying brick gave me plenty of time to think and by spring I tendered my resignation at the museum. Iowa
In 2011 I was offered an internship within the Historic Trades department at Colonial Williamsburg. It has been my pleasure throughout my life to work with some very skilled persons and the summer I spent with the guys in the Anthony Hay Shop is definitely a high-point. Instead of learning about period furniture making, I was given the chance to make tools for the shop. It was an amazing experience to work with those guys and stand on their shoulders for a while. It was also enlightening to tour the museum’s tool collection with Jay Gaynor.
Now that I’m back in
, I’ve been retooling my shop again. Over the years I’ve spent time making blacksmithing equipment, chisels, planes, drawknives, and other tools, but so far the most enjoyable has been saws. This is what I would like to offer to the public. Iowa