Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Forge Finds a New Home at Shake Rag Alley

Shake Rag Alley has a new forge for its blacksmithing program thanks to the efforts of instructor Bob Tuftee, blacksmithing program supervisor Denny McKernan, curriculum committee member Judy Sutcliffe, and the Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association (UMBA).  

A large railroad forge was donated through an estate to UMBA. It was in decent shape for having had a long working life, but definitely needed some TLC to be useful again. It took up residence at Dave Brandon’s place and waited. The UMBA board didn’t see a use for it in their training trailer, so last fall decided to auction or sell it. Denny McKernan came to look at it (longingly). 

Bob Tuftee eventually brought up the fate of the forge at a board meeting and suggested that it be sold to Shake Rag Alley since they needed a fourth large forge for teaching purposes. Dave Brandon moved to accept the offer and sell it to Shake Rag. Bob Tuftee and Judy Sutcliffe each donated $100 to Shake Rag toward the forge purchase.

Forge before Bob's renovation
“Dave delivered it to me in March,” relates Bob. “I completely dismantled the blower and cleaned and oiled all the gears. Had to drill and retap for bolts to hold the firebox on. Made a shield to deflect the flame and added a new air tube from the blower to the firebox. And a good general clean up.”

Once the snow melted away, Bob loaded up the forge in his pickup and delivered it to Shake Rag, where managing director Courtney Henson had a couple guys waiting to heft the renovated forge to its new home at the Blacksmith Barn.

Denny McKernan says, “We’re really glad to add this forge. We now have pretty much what we’ve been working toward - four forging areas, each with a large forge, anvil, leg vise. Our blacksmithing classes are well attended, and we’re really happy we can provide good equipment for them to learn the art of blacksmithing.”

Shake Rag Alley’s president of the board, Don Hay, adds “In appreciation of the generosity and support from Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association any member receives a 10% discount on blacksmithing classes at Shake Rag Alley. Be sure to mention it when you register.”

Many thanks to Denny, Bob, Judy and UMBA for making this happen!

Check out the 2013 schedule of blacksmithing and welding classes at Shake Rag Alley. Register online or by calling the Shake Rag Alley office at 608-987-3292.

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