Man besides a fireplace

Peter Ross

I became interested in forging in 1970 at the beginning of the Blacksmith revival in America. At the time, most smiths were using hand tools and 19th century equipment.

That approach suited my tastes and abilities, and I was able to make it a career, spending many years studying methods and tools of the 18th century. In 1980 I was made the Master of the Blacksmith Shop, at Colonial Williamsburg in VA, a position I held until 2005. That year I moved to North Carolina to open my own business making museum quality reproduction hardware for house restoration, producing locks and other hardware primarily with hand tools, and using wrought iron.

Over the course of my career I trained a number of apprentices, re-discovered original methods, and more importantly- developed important insights into the thought process/hand-tool-methods of pre-industrial smiths and other workmen. I taught many classes (CMA, Penland, Haystack, Peters Valley, Touchstone, New England School of Metalwork, John C. Campbell Folk School, Adirondack Folk School, Tillers International, Tunnel Mill), and workshops, did many demonstrations (local, regional, and national ABANA conferences) and continue to be fascinated by workmen’s thinking/problem solving and how that is shaped by the culture around them.

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