About 20 blacksmiths from across the state gathered in Hastings to compare notes, swap stories, and collaborate on a forged welding project at the shop of blacksmith Jim Peirce Saturday.
Members of the Prairie Blacksmith Association of Nebraska get together each month or two at a member's house to tackle a project in conjunction with the national Artist Blacksmith Association of North America. The group's focus is to keep the ancient art of blacksmithing alive while sharing knowledge with one another on some of the countless techniques used by master blacksmiths from long ago.
"Basically we've all done some kind of metal working and are interested in the old blacksmith craft," Peirce said. "We want to learn how to do it to continue the knowledge that was being lost. Plus, we can make some pretty nice things."
This month's project is a decorative grill measuring 2 feet long by 15 inches wide. When completed, it will serve as a decorative piece to cover a window. The project involves numerous techniques most of the in-house blacksmiths hadn't seen before.