Meet Artisan Patrick Roy - Big Rock Forge
How do these things happen? Fifteen years ago I knew nothing about metal working and had no idea I might even be interested. But my background has always been mechanical in many ways. Having spent a career mainly as a mechanical engineer may have something to do with it.
In any case, one day co-workers were discussing a television program called “Junk Yard Wars” where competing teams would cobble together working projects of various descriptions from scraps they salvaged from junk yards. So I watched a few episodes and decided that they were having a good time and that I could do that too, on a non competitive basis. And I began to accumulate metal working tools, including a welder, grinder, drills, etc.
In phase two of this evolution one of the coworkers stopped by my desk and suggested that since I seemed to enjoy working with metal, that I might be interested in blacksmithing. He had taken an introductory class at a local trade school and I should look into it. I did. It looked interesting and not desperately expensive so I enrolled. That was the beginning of the end for some of my other hobbies.
I found it amazing what could be done with iron when it is heated to glowing temperatures and attacked with a hammer. Initially the products of my labors in the shop were “rustic” and crude, but I knew with practice things would improve. Over time things did get better and I continued my education with more advanced classes at the school, a growing library and seemingly unlimited resources on the internet.
So now a decade and a half into this I have built up skills and confidence to do blacksmithing demonstrations at county fairs and other events and teach these skills to others. I have taught introductory level classes at the Curran Homestead for four years and also teach in my own shop on a one on one basis.
Now then you’ll want to know what I do. Well here’s a list of things I make either as standard products or on commission:
Barn door hinges
Curtain rod brackets
Kitchen pot racks
Iron coat trees
That is a short list. I don’t work on large scale projects such as driveway gates and stair & deck railings, but most anything can be shaped from iron.
I mostly work with traditional tools and methods although at times modern tools are employed. The hot work is generally done in a coal fired forge and on a standard anvil with hand held hammers. Depending on the operation, some power tools are used in the shop, such as a drill press, band saw and hand held grinders. I also employ electric welding equipment at times.
Some of the products do not require heat for forming, this is usually sheet copper or steel. I use hammers and stakes in a process called French style repoussee.
Check out Patrick's Artist Page on The Lupine Cottage, click here.