By David Rogers. May 6, 2018. BOONE, NC — Fortunately, Saturday was a cool day in Blowing Rock. Silversmith-turned-blacksmith artisan Gaines Kiker hardly worked up a sweat crafting hand-forged knives in front of Blowing Rock Market as part of a demonstration for the Savor Blowing Rock event.
COVER IMAGE: This is what 1500+ degrees Fahrenheit looks like! All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
When your forge runs at a toasty 1,500+ degrees Fahrenheit, the heat it radiates is rather welcome on a chilly day — as long as you don’t get TOO close. On a hot day, though…well, Kiker works anyway, pounding out the red-hot steel into the desired shape.
Although on this day the “blacksmithy” Kiker was crafting knives out of flat steel bars, he explained to Blowing Rock News that some of his favorite projects are in recycling scrap metal from other uses, such as coil or leaf springs from a car.
Saturday was also a “red letter” day in Blowing Rock in that Kiker displayed some of the knife blades he was forging on a wooden “table”, the top of which was about a four-inch slice of one of the red maple tree trunks recently removed from Memorial Park. Kiker, who secured most of the fallen trees to fashion different kinds of public art once the wood is sufficiently dried, explained to Blowing Rock News, “This is the first public viewing of any of the wood from those trees being repurposed. It is nowhere close to dry yet, so this is more of a workbench.”
At least one, and potentially more of the knives Kiker forged and fashioned on Saturday will be auctioned off via Blowing Rock News in the near future, once he has attached the newly made blades to handles.