If you take a walk around the older parts of Nashville, Indiana and you’re paying attention, you will see evidence of blacksmiths. Jack Brubaker, a southern Indiana blacksmith, is responsible for many of the ornate blacksmith hinges you can find on doors around town.
It’s hard to say whether I was influenced by his work as a kid. I spent a lot of time running around Nashville, going in and out of shops that featured his work on their door handles and hinges.
I can say for certain now that I blacksmith for a living, I have a great appreciation for his work.
40+ Years and Still Going Strong
Many of the hinges in Calvin Place were forged by Mr. Brubaker back in the 1970s. He collaborated with a local woodworker to create and hang the doors on these shops among others:
- The Daily Grind
- Schwab’s Fudge
- Twisted Wick
It’s a testament to the durability of steel and the focus of Nashville residents on historic preservation. The hinges and handles are still there.
How to Make Blacksmith Hinges
The key ingredient to forging blacksmith hinges is patience. It takes time to shape the decorative accents of the hinge. It can take even more time to hand-roll the barrel of the hinge where the hinge pin sits.
With patience in mind, you use some of the most basic blacksmithing skills:
- Drawing out – making things longer and skinnier
- Scrolling – creating delicate curves in the steel
- Quenching – hardening certain areas to make it easier to manipulate other areas
- Upsetting – controlling the shape of the steel by compressing it
- Bending – using the anvil, hammer, and leverage to create your shapes
The results are pretty amazing.