Blacksmithing

Garry “Alf” Rudd shapes a piece in his blacksmith shop in Buena Vista in August 2017. Rudd and fellow metal forger George Bandarra of Kentucky will conduct a hands-on blacksmithing workshop Friday and Saturday in St. Elmo as a fundraiser for Historic St. Elmo & Chalk Creek Canyon Inc.

Award-winning metal forger George Bandarra of Murray, Kentucky, and Garry “Alf” Rudd of Buena Vista will offer hands-on blacksmithing instruction and demonstrations from 9-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Pawnee Mill blacksmith shop building in St. Elmo.

The event is a fundraiser for Historic St. Elmo and Chalk Creek Canyon Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that oversees preservation efforts in the area.

Melanie Roth, president of the organization, said the idea came about two years ago when she met Bandarra, who was riding a horse through St. Elmo when she struck up a conversation.

When she found out Bandarra was a metal forger, she showed him the old Pawnee Mill blacksmith shop at the edge of the historic mining town.

Bandarra mentioned that he had done similar fundraisers in his native Kentucky, and the two started talking about the possibility of doing an event in St. Elmo.

The blacksmithing classes and demonstrations were originally scheduled for summer 2018, but the dry conditions made them put the idea on hold.

Rudd, a 10th-generation blacksmith who appeared on the History Channel’s “Forged in Fire” in 2017, became involved to help teach the classes, and the event was rescheduled for this summer.

Roth said she can’t thank both of them enough for their involvement.

The 2½-hour classes will include the forging characteristics of different metals, how to patina and texture metals, how to use an anvil and how to make one, welding techniques, annealing and hardening of metals, bending, forging and forming metals and hands-on forging of actual small projects.

All participants will be forging and hammering.

Classes are limited. A $45 class fee will benefit Historic St. Elmo & Chalk Creek Canyon Inc. To reserve a spot, call 719-395-6879 or email historicstelmo1880@gmail.com.

For more information about Rudd, visit alfblacksmith.com.

For information about Bandarra, visit theironhammer.com.

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