The ancient craft of blacksmithing is still alive

by Dale (Doc) Borland


Steve Barringer at his coal forge is a striking leap from the prehistory of mankind to the digital age of the twenty-first century. The fire in the forge and in his heart is kept burning by his natural creativity and the enthusiasm of those who gather in his fully-equipped shop at B2 Design LTD, 154 Bevan Drive, Mooresville.



Teaching the art and the craft

The second Sunday of each month, the blacksmith shop is an open house gathering for ten to fifteen would-be smiths anxious to recreate accoutrements necessary for their roles as revolutionary, civil war, and militia men.


For these men, accurately depicting the era is essential. So with Steve’s guidance, period reproduction is possible. Belt knives, tomahawks, and uniform attachments are designed and hammered into life.



Guiding Principles for the craft and life

Plumb, level, and square are the guiding principles of Steve and those who come to his forge to draw on his extensive knowledge and skills. Conforming to these ideals helps them in life and to accurately portray their historical figures.




Plumb being an indicator of uprightness, vertical, being straight up and down,  and erect in character.







Level, even in deportment and way of life.







Square, being honest and true, when two walls meet in a corner, they are square to each other.





These attributes have faded with the advancing of time and the waning of person-to-person, face-to-face communication. Those who meet at Steve’s shop try to nurture and preserve this old-fashioned set of values.



The joy in making it yourself


My efforts at backyard forging were sparked by Steve and others like him. Tomahawks and knives have come away from my anvil and the feeling is glorious. “Hey, I made this,” causes me to give thanks to those still among us who are willing and able to pass on this approach to life. In an age where cyberspace is the predominant domain, holding something that you have made in your hands is indescribable.



I am 72 and still pushing the envelope in life’s achievements. My bucket list is endless, maybe zip-lining will be next. In closing, remember, if you’re going to play with fire, you’re going to get burnt, in life as well as forging.