Gary Johnson has Anvil Envy

Gary Johnson as an Eastern Woodsman



I am Gary Johnson of Southeast Indiana. 2016 is the Indiana. Bicentennial. I have been asked to present a heritage type demonstration for our local celebration. I have now built a traveling shop to demonstrate from. I have spent my life outside of working as a Carpenter and Construction Administrator, being a Living History enthusiast. 
I hunt with and shoot Flintlock Firearms competitively. I camp and dress in a pioneer/Revolution era portrayal of our forefathers. I was also involved in a Civil War Cannon Crew for several years.

All of this included period camping to attend these functions, which meant the equipment had to be right. I began blacksmithing as a means to have the proper equipment to live my portrayal in a proper manner that I could afford.

Gathering equipment, Anvil, forge, blower and post vise was just the beginning. Tongs are plentiful but few are comfortable for an individual style. Sometimes you get something close and modify to your liking or make them from scratch. The everyday items it takes to make your creations are acquired or made, most of the early projects are just getting ready to get your ultimate projects. 

This is no fire and a handful of tools hobby. it is serious business and I constantly look for better tools, stock and ideas for the next project. Some times you pick up things that you can see potential in and may not use it for years. So it is not just a scrap pile but stock for a future heirloom.

Many of my tools and equipment have story about their origin. Many times friends with a fleeting interest in smithing will offer up an anvil, a blower, a vice, a coal shovel to be part of your enthusiastic hobby. It is only proper that you make for them an item with your touchmark to show you appreciate the gesture. I want every better thing that I encounter. I love the history of those pieces and watch longingly at historical shops in operation. I truly have Anvil Envy.

My Touchmark is a stylized GJ that I have used since I was a child to mark my belongings. As an adult, my carpenter tools and now to show my mark as maker when it come to blacksmithing. I poured concrete floor for a friend. Phil Gates was a gun maker, and in return I got an awesome 28ga. smoothbore barrel and he fashioned the touchmark I have used these many years.

When I leave this earth and most of what I have done is forgotten, a few pieces of cherished Iron with my mark may be the only thing left. This is the Blacksmith's Legacy.