We were a little late this year with our summer vacation. Between the kids’ summer classes and Will starting a summer job, we didn’t go on vacation until end of July/beginning of August. This year we went down to the Great Smoky Mountains. The boys had been when they were younger, but didn’t remember much. We had a few things planned, including a birthday/Theastmas dinner for our first night there. There are so many attractions and things to do in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area.
One of the favorite things we did was visit Iron Mountain Metal Craft in Pigeon Forge. This place is located near The Mill and offers items for sale, as well as blacksmithing lessons. The owner was on the show Forged In Fire and we had the chance to talk to him for a minute before our lesson. There are four options for the lessons: nail (for kids 1-12), pony shoe, horseshoe, railroad spike. The railroad spike looked really cool, but we figured we should start easy for our first time. We chose to make the pony shoe knife. Our instructor held the hot metal, inserting it into the forge, and instructed us where and how to use the hammer. We went through a few rounds of working out the blade shape. After a final heating, he cooled them down in water.
Now, they weren’t the most attractive things but this is where the polishing comes in. We moved over to the polishers where they shaped the blade more, giving it more of an edge. Will and Ben chose one finish (it dips down on the top), and Nick and I chose the other (straight across on the top). The knives came with their own sheaths as well. Mine is pictured below: I think I hammered pretty evenly, but didn’t get the nail holes to close like in the display. It was still lots of fun though.
I would recommend checking them out if you are in the area. We would totally do it again.