better to see the color of the metal as it heats.
Cherry red, the end of the bar, held by tongs, ends up
on Chudzik’s anvil, a 220-pound piece of steel positioned
just right for him to bring down his hammer squarely on
the hot metal. Sparks jump and the iron rings slightly —
it’s the same scene that in Longfellow’s poem mesmerized kids who loved “to see the flaming forge, / And hear
the bellows roar, / And catch the burning sparks that fly /
Like chaff from a threshing floor.” Carrying on the tradition, Chudzik steadily works his stock, twisting balusters
for a stairway ordered for a house in Cambridge. Everything he makes — fireplace tools, chandeliers, furniture
— is one of a kind, custom ordered for a specific use.
Like every smith before him, Chudzik keeps his many
tools as close as possible. “The older you get, the less
you want to move,” he laughs. Still, wrestling with heavy
stock and the hammers, tongs, swages, fullers, punches,
vises, files, twisting wrenches, and bending forks he
the moses wilder Blacksmith
Shop (top photo), built around
1802 in Bolton, Massachusetts, was
acquired by Old Sturbridge Village
and moved to the museum’s
property in 1957. Liba Litchfield
(above, left) is at work in his
family-run blacksmith shop in North
Scituate, Massachusetts, in 1938.
Chudzik (above, right) holds his
finished scroll in his Dorchester
studio, which is part of an artist
community with other metalsmiths,
sculptors, potters, and printmakers.