Chestnut Tree Forge for wrought iron
hestnut Tree Forge creates fine forged iron. Our strength is the quality of our work and our attention to our clients' needs. We have operated in Dunedin for ten years, previously in Auckland. Our clients are throughout New Zealand and overseas.
Forged Ironwork

This is for those who enjoy forged ironwork (some people refer to this as wrought iron), those who are unsure of what that precisely means and the simply curious.

Smiting (forging) the black metal is the oldest of ironworking arts. It is the process of beating iron to shape which distinguishes blacksmithing from other ironworking methods. It seems strange that such an old process remains useful and valid in our electronic age, but it is so.

For some purposes forging has never been surpassed. This is not to claim universal pride of place for every application. Blacksmithing is appropriate for specific purposes, as also are casting, machining and fabrication (arc welding things together). Forging imparts a unique look, a texture to the metal, which is what normally attracts people’s interest in the ironwork.

There are irreducibly five components of blacksmithing: the fire, the iron, the hammer, the anvil... and the smith whose skill and artistic vision unites the other parts in a synergistic way. Just where blacksmithing begins or ends is the source of endless discussion, but the further away one gets from those essential five elements the more tenuous the link to genuine blacksmithing. This finds expression in the term ‘traditional construction’ - joined by means available before arc or gas welding. I prefer the traditional techniques, as they are normally more aesthetic.

One often hears the generally misapplied term ‘wrought iron’. Wrought iron is a material, not a style. It is an iron-based metal consisting of high purity iron with threads of iron silicate through it. As wrought iron is the traditional material of the blacksmith it gets misapplied to the work of the blacksmith. Commercial production of genuine wrought iron ceased in the early 1970s. No one uses wrought iron now, apart from those who seek it out for special reasons... for special it is. It resists corrosion far better than mild steel, its replacement. It welds in the fire most easily of all iron materials. It has excellent shock and fatigue resistance.

To forge iron requires skill, artistic vision and a certain stubbornness. Once the metal is withdrawn from the fire, battle is joined, unrelenting until failure or success is won. Iron is a fractious material; hard & unyielding. Yet it also lends itself to work of surprising grace and even apparent frailty. It is endlessly fascinating and worthy of celebration.

We at CTF would enjoy hearing from you.

From time to time I personally come across businesses that I think the world should know more about; here are some:
Mark Bokenkamp Blacksmith
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