Working Ornamental Blacksmith's shop in Gmünd, Austria 1991.
Hidden in the Alpine mountains an hours drive northwest of Villach, Austria, is the mountain village of Gmünd. A medieval wall surrounds the village and some of the buildings were built right into or onto the wall including part of this blacksmith's shop. Beautiful medieval buildings bring a wonderful atmosphere to the village especially during the Christmas season when we visited the market place. Medieval wrought ironwork adorns the buildings and when new hand made ironwork is needed, the people have it made here- in their towns own Locksmith's shop. Some modern techniques are used but for all the newer ironwork we saw while visiting the village, much of it is still hand forged in the traditional style.
The photo at the top of the page gives the viewer a pretty good idea of the ambient light in the shop. The shop is made up of several small rooms, some with forges. Double forges are very common in the German speaking countries. One side of the forge is being used in these photos. Most smiths are right-handed and the viewer will notice the smith is using the fire to his left as is most comfortable for a right-handed blacksmith.
In the photo at left the smith is forging the beginning of a scroll for a railing that is just out of sight on the floor. In the foreground is a scroll form held in the vise. Note the clear work-area around the forge and anvil and, also around the vise. Plenty of room is available so the blacksmith can work long bars horizontally as he bends them either at the anvil, or around the form. Just partially visible to the left of this photo is the ram section of a mechanical power hammer. A nice comfortable and efficient work space for such a small shop.
The photo at left shows a half finished scroll. This is a short scroll but still gives a good indication of the amount of clear area needed around the forge and anvil for working long bars when they are most often held horizontally for working. Note the neat orderly placement of tools. It is easy to work with this setup because there are no obstructions to hamper the work. The smith has a clear area to move his iron from the fire to the anvil or vise, or power hammer.
This forge is a simple steel pipe and steel plate construction. Easily fabricated by a modern welder. It is simple, practical, and inexpensive.
Readers who have knowledge or documentation on this shop are invited to mail the author at the email address below.
Latest update 24 July 2005
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Created April, 1999