Sunday, April 4, 2010

Badgerific Anvil

One of the more unusual things from my past is that I was involved with a living history museum during my teenage years. In the course of volunteering and eventually working there, I spent several years as an apprentice blacksmith. I didn't apply for my journeymans card, wish I had, but did learn a lot and carried on an all but lost family tradition. According to my grandfather, he was the last of five generations of blacksmiths in the family before the trade fell on hard times and he and my great grandfather found new ways to make a living. So, my adventure worked well for everyone. Grandpa was proud and happy and the museum had what was left of our family tradition as a resource. I have always at least dabbled in metalsmithing regardless of having a smithy to work in and am tentatively planning a few classes at the very cool Crucible in Oakland some time this summer. I would love to resurrect and confirm my skills with an official journeymans card but I have no idea what that takes these days.

I hadn't realized how much I regard anvils as standard shop tools until fate dropped an almost unused Badger anvil into my care. Though, as luck would have it, the one I have is sort of a one of a kind example from when Vulcan bought out Badger. The experts tell me it's somewhat of a museum piece. So it won't be seeing any type of use that might threaten the fragile paper decal. Badger anvils are all but non-existant these days and this transitional example with a paper decal is possibly unique. Lots of anvils got melted down during WWII as part of the war effort. Not that there are a lot of anvil collectors out there but for those that are, some older models are scarce.

I'd forgotten how often I used to cold work things to straighten, flatten or bend them into correct or more useful shapes. I do have a torch but I'm fairly certain the neighbors wouldn't appreciate the noise or the fire hazard. For now it's just nice having an anvil again (When I moved cross country to San Francisco it wasn't exactly high on my list of things to bring.) and as mentioned above I'm not of a mind to degrade the Badger's condition. So I'm still on the hunt for an anvil but for now I have something to remind me why I want one.

No comments:

Post a Comment