Q: What is "Wrought Iron" ?
Wrought iron is actually an iron alloy with very low carbon content. It was very common in the 1800's, and was replaced by mild steel which was superior in strength and workability. Wrought iron is no longer produced on a commercial scale. Many products are described as "wrought iron", such railings, fences, and gates, but they are actually made of mild steel. The word 'wrought', simply means worked, which is how everything was made in the past.
Q: What does the term "Traditional Joinery" mean?
Before the methods of modern arc welding and gas welding, the only way to join steel or wrought iron was to either 'forge weld' it together by heating the two pieces up to almost a melting temperature, and then hammering them together. Other joinery that was used before modern methods was riveting, collaring, mortice and tenons, and box joints.
Q: How do you find blacksmiths to work in your shop?
It is hard to find a blacksmith to hire. We look for welder/fabricators that have an interest in learning the trade of blacksmithing and train them through an apprenticeship program.
Q: Do you ever burn yourself?
Yes, at least once a day:-)
Q: What colors do your products come in?
We don't normally color our products with paint or powdercoating. The natural color of iron or steel is enhanced by a tumbling process, or wire brushing to produce a shiny surface. Next, the product is heated to produce a darker patina through oxidation, and then a final coat of wax is applied that dries hard and leaves a protective finish. The color variation of the images on our website are due to lighting and background.
Q: Do you work with other metals other that steel or wrought iron?
Yes, we do a lot of copper work, in conjunction with iron. We also forge items out of silicon bronze, which is a great material for exterior hardware.
Q: How did you get into blacksmithing?
I (Jeff Wester) started as a farrier in the early 80's, shoeing horses around Central Oregon with a portable blacksmith shop in the back of my pickup truck. I had an interest in the old ways of metal working, so after reading some old books on blacksmithing I joined the Northwest Blacksmiths Association where I attended conferences and clinics. Through trial and error, asking lots of questions, and researching the work of a bygone era, I learned and practiced. The more I learn about this trade, the more I realize I have yet to learn!"