Monday, February 18, 2013

Blacksmithing at Philmont

   I am sure by now all of you know that my ties with the Boy Scouts of America are very strong, and I love the organization dearly. I was reflecting on my time back in 2010 when I visited Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmaron New Mexico, and hiked for ten days with no shower, little food, rain, bears, wind, sun and a great group of ten guys. I am going to take you all on a journey with me as I reminisce on that great journey! (That means this post is one of several!)

After I tell you about my favorite part (blacksmithing) I will pretty much recap the journey day by day.

To make a long story short, we were at Black Mountain on our third day, after barely making it. There, the main attraction was a blacksmith shop. Equipped with a Buffalo 200 blower and Buffalo forge, this shop had all the tools a small working shop should. I do not know what kind of anvil they had, but it was a nice crisp one. (If it wasn't a Brooke's cast anvil, it might have been a newer Emerson anvil).

The Anvil's name was Amy. If you missed with a hammer blow, you were required to apologize to Amy. Miss a second one, you are to kneel down, put your hands on Amy's waist, your face against hers, and apologize. Here, one of our crew missed twice. 
There I am, turning the crank of the first blower I ever laid hands on! Look at the fire rage! This might have been the first spark of my blacksmithing career.
Now, when you go and make fun of me for my baby-face, remember. This WAS three whole years ago. A lot of beard can happen in that time!
I am fairly convinced that this guy had absolutely NO idea of what blacksmithing is all about. But he was a cool guide, nevertheless. I think the Anvil weighs 75 KL, and was the first hunk of anvil I ever beat on. To date I've only hammered twice on a london pattern.
There I am, flattening out the drive tab for our simple drive hook. It was made from 1/4" steel, unfinished. It rusted in my pack as we went along, but I still have it with me.
Glowing steel somehow fanned into flames my creativity that I now put into metal. Look at that shop, too! It is too glorious to behold! I so earnestly want a shop such as that! It was located at elevation ~7,000ft, in the middle of nowhere. They had to hike about a half a mile with a 100ft elevation change just to reach their coal deposit. Talk about rough and backcountry!
Philmont was the best place I have been to, and I hope to go back soon! I hope you will join me as I post over the next few days excerpts from my trip, and perhaps it will be a good resource for those seeking the adventure at Philmont!


  1. I love Philmont! But Black Mountain on day three?

  2. Yep! Start from Lovers Leap to Crater Lake and then to Black Mountain, if my memory serves me correctly.