People learn to be a blacksmith at Washburn Tech

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 6:32 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - An old tradition is still present at Washburn Institute of Technology where seven people of all ages learned how to be a blacksmith.

For some they came because of pure intrigue of a traditional trade and for others their family tree had blacksmiths and they want to continue the legacy. Richard Anderson, A technical instructor at Washburn Tech, leads the class with over 20 years of blacksmith experience. He started because of his grandpa teaching him alongside of his friends growing up.

Anderson said, “The ability to express yourself artistically in metal I think. You can make anything from horseshoes, decorative iron sculptures.”

Students will spend six hours two days in a row in the heat and flames. They are learning to sharpen their skills. It is a class that teaches the basics.

“We expect the ones showing up to never have done it before. So, we teach them how to swing a hammer correctly, how to hold a hammer, how to use the anvil and different parts of the anvil, how to do the basic blacksmithing strikes,” said Anderson. “It kind of went away through the industrial era, but it’s come back because people want to able to do stuff and make stuff themselves.”

Hammers, fire, metal -- ingredients for a blacksmith to make something new.

“They want to see products they’ve made,” said Anderson. “People want to create things.”

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