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CanIron VIII Demonstrator: Michael McCarthy


Ames, New York, USA



Demonstrator Bio

Michael got his start in metalworking from his father, a fabricator and sheet metal mechanic. His first commercial forge was built in a repurposed corn crib and moved to a 19th c. carriage house. In 1998 he began an apprenticeship with Paul Spaulding of The Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown, NY and stayed with Paul until 2008. He became a charter member and host to the first Early Iron: an international gathering of smiths and scholars brought together to study iron smelting. Michael continues to travel the world in pursuit of traditional craftspeople with whom to study and share. His current studio: Mohawk Valley Forgeworks is located in the village of Ames, NY. He splits his time at the forge between historic restoration, commission, and sculpture. In 2009 he began collaboration with Beekman1802, a lifestyle company, and through them offers traditional work to a larger audience.

“My mission in its simplest terms is to preserve, study advance and exchange the techniques of the pre-industrial worker. What makes me tick is not the objects themselves, but rather the frame of reference used by the maker. My work is an exploration of “cultural tools;” a category of object largely lost in the modern sense of art.”

Michael will be demonstrating the forging of a pipe tomahawk. His workshop session will be Welded Steel: the technique of lamination for tool making. “During this workshop we will explore different methods for laminating tool steel onto iron for use in various edge tools. We will cover chisels/planes blades, knives, axes and hammers. “Michael’s lecture will look at work from Colonial America.

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