During 1988 I had the opportunity to visit a living history museum approximately an hours drive south of Seoul South Korea. The theme of this museum was Korean village life about 100 years or so ago. Everywhere were thatched roof cottages, workshops and agricultural buildings. Many of the workshop structures were open air post and beam construction with a thatched roof to keep out rain and sun. One of the crafts represented was the village blacksmith working as he would have done a hundred years ago in a small farming community. The blacksmith's shop was an enclosed structure on three sides and open on the front. The building was roughly 25 feet wide by about 8 feet deep, with an open front and thatched roof made of rice straw.
The smiths working here produced a large variety of hand tools for use by the local farmers of the era. The surprising thing about these simple hand tools is that almost all are, or were still in use by farmers during more recent times and you could still find similar hand made tools on the shelves and sale carts in the local markets. So these smiths had a regular group of people they could sell tools to as they accumulated during each demonstration. Most of the tools made here were scythes, knives, hoes, and other hand tools of that nature.
The forge ( photo right and at top right ) was a small fully enclosed stone and mortar structure similar to an old European bread baking oven. Air blast was supplied with a push-pull action bellows beside the forge, which resembled in shape, a small box or cabinet with a large drawer. The fire was located inside the hollow structure at about waste level. A small opening in front allowed the only access to the fire so only small articles were made with this forge. Visible in the foreground of this photo is the round anvil with a hammer resting on top of it.
The blacksmith's anvil (photo at left) was much different from the European style anvils we are used to seeing. The visible part of this anvil was round and cylinder shaped in appearance and measured roughly 9 inches in diameter by about 10 or more inches tall. The face was very worn and mushroomed in shape from years of use. The part of the anvil not visible was, an extension approximately 10 or 12 inches long and rectangular in cross section about 2 inches x 4 inches, with a large hole punched through it, inserted down into the tree stump stand. A hole was cut into the log about 6 inches below the top, which intersected with the hole punched through the extension below the anvil. A wooden wedge was driven into the stump, through the hole in the anvil extension securing the anvil tightly to the stump.
Tools hung on the wall of the shop below the display of finished scythes (photo at left) and cutting tools. The smith stood to the right of the forge and with the pushing and pulling of the handle on the drawer shaped bellows, he blew the fire. Of course the push and pull resulted in a rhythmic blowing and stopping and blowing again of the fire as the bellows was operated in each direction.
One of my reader sent in this link to the Korean Folk Village: http://www.koreanfolk.co.kr/folk/english/index.htm Use the navigation bar to go to Korean Folk Collection, and then follow the links to Livelihood & Handicrafts, then to Handicrafts, then choose Blacksmith's. Thanks Adam Chapman.
Latest update July 24, 2005.
Readers who have knowledge or documentation on this shop are invited to mail the author at the email address in the picture below.