A lost art: blacksmithing

Hannah Morton
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PORT GREVILLE: Michael Tennyson is more than familiar with the art of blacksmithing. Working under his uncle, master blacksmith William Senseney, Tennyson learned the craft from a very young age.
Tennyson was on hand at the Age of Sail Museum recently to demonstrate his knowledge.
"Blacksmithing is more of an art now than it is a trade," said Tennyson.
"Although there are still many farrier blacksmiths who work with horses, there isn't the demand for traditional blacksmiths that there used to be. A lot of work done by blacksmiths now is restoration of old gates, fences and artworks like decorative mirrors or picture frames," said Tennyson.
According to Tennyson early blacksmiths were responsible for creating a wide variety of objects a community depended on including tools, light fixtures, agricultural implements, cooking utensils and weapons.
"Today I'm making Damascus steel, which is a process that involves using fire and borax soap to forge weld iron and steel together," said Tennyson.
"Damascus steel was commonly used in ammunition and samurai swords. In order to make to make the material strong, the iron and steel are bent over each other by hand thousands and in some cultures, even millions of times," said Tennyson.
The forge (fireplace) in the blacksmith shop at the museum recently had some major repairs completed thanks to Kerwin Davidson of Parrsboro.
"We're very lucky to have Mr. Davidson, who donates his time and resources to the upkeep of our blacksmith shop and to Mr. Tennyson for demonstrating," said Oralee O'Bryne, curator for the museum.
"Blacksmithing really is a lost art. It is wonderful that we have an opportunity to shed some light on it here today," said O'Bryne.

Organizations: Sail Museum

Geographic location: PORT GREVILLE, Damascus

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