Try your hand at blacksmithing in Beaumont this weekend
Rob Flurry used his grandmother’s favorite hair dryer to build his first forge. Forty-four years later, he’s an accomplished blacksmith who teaches others the how to put hammer to steel to make blades and more.
Flurry’s classes at Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown have been a regular occurrence for six years now. This weekend he’s teaching a bladesmithing class for beginners.
A familiar face on the local music and art scene, Flurry was the subject of a recent documentary, “Blacksmith,” that premiered at the Jefferson Theatre.
Flurry said he found his calling because of an early love of reading. A copy of “The Tales of King Arthur and his Noble Knights” from his mother inspired a love of steel.
“I thought that was the coolest thing in the world,” Flurry said. “Those guys had swords and I wanted one. For some reason, the three women who raised me would not give me a sword at 5 years old.”
His great-grandmother did give him his first blade, however, an Old Timer pocketknife.
“It was a good thing,” Flurry said. “I learned how to sharpen knives on that one. I grew up on a cattle ranch, so I really needed a knife a lot, so I kept it with me wherever I went.”
He was 13 when he cobbled together that first forge.
“I made my first sword, and it was ugly,” he said. “I got the bug for making things with steel, and I just kept going.
“I made knives for friends and family members. They started out as ugly as the sword, but I ended up getting better over 44 years.”
Flurry’s blacksmithing and bladesmithing classes target three levels: beginner, intermediate and senior.
At this weekend’s bladesmithing class, beginning students will turn railroad spikes into knives. Participants can continue to advance to the intermediate class and turn lawnmower blades into short swords. In the senior class, the students can make a Viking ax.
“A lot of people in the beginner’s class are hunters so they will make a skinning knife,” Flurry said. “Every now and then I’ll have someone make a dagger.
“I don’t have a preference. I like to make a little bit of everything. The reason that I do the class primarily is to impart the skill and keep the craft alive. It has also taught me a lot of patience.”
Betty Davis Pruitt is a freelance writer for Cat5