DIY Forged Iron Racks

Take part in the blacksmithing renaissance: Hammer out useful iron racks for hanging up your pots, keys, and more.

| January/February 2021

Photo by Matt Kiedaisch/Outsider Media

For centuries, the village blacksmith was the local hardware store, contractor, and mechanic all rolled into one. Blacksmiths helped shape their communities through making the hinges, hooks, brackets, and tools their neighbors used every day.

In a twist of irony, blacksmiths helped usher in an age of mass production that almost led to their demise. Yet blacksmithing today is enjoying a resurgence. Our modern society has discovered that no amount of technical perfection can replace the feeling of picking up a hand-forged object and knowing someone’s creativity and effort went into shaping it. Like-minded tinkerers have not only revived the craft, but they’re also taking it in new and exciting directions in maker spaces, art schools, blacksmith associations, online forums, and makeshift home forges.

Traditionalists enjoy the history and culture of the craft, working mostly without modern power tools or electric welders. Artists and sculptors, drawn to the versatility and permanence of steel, explore the design limits of the material. Professional smiths are tasked with balancing an artistic approach with the architectural, functional, and financial constraints of commissioned projects, and often combine traditional and modern techniques. Home smiths usually fall somewhere in between; they make pieces to use or sell, while also dealing with constraints of time, space, funding, and equipment.

Many of these categories overlap. For example, I’ve been a hobbyist in a home forge, an apprentice in a professional shop, a part-time blacksmith working out of a friend’s barn, and the owner of my own shop. In that time, I’ve been asked to make cannons and samurai swords (jobs I sadly turned down), as well as traditional catapults and Nordic runes (jobs I couldn’t refuse).

While we modern blacksmiths may not be making nails for the local carpenter anymore, we continue to serve our communities with the products of our craft. Honoring that tradition, I hope you shape your world with unique pieces for yourself, your friends, your neighbors, and your community to use and enjoy every day. What are you waiting for? Get smithing!

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