I had the honour of being able to observe and assist as Pierre Nadeau of soulsmithing.com works on setting up his new smithy in Canada. The last time I saw Pierre and his wife was when they (and we) were packing to move from Japan in late 2011. Pierre spent several years working as a swordsmith apprentice in rural Japan and is ready to continue his research into traditional Japanese swords and historical crafting techniques.
The workshop has an interesting blend of “high tech” and “low tech” elements to allow him to work in the location and circumstances of the area. The hempcrete and timberframe building provide a natural sound and thermal barrier and the concrete slab is insulated and heated with an in-floor water system. The forge itself has several technical elements and additional insulation designed to protect it from moisture and ground heat-loss during the harsh Quebec winters.
The three major projects during my visit were focused on getting the forge itself ready for use. First was to fabricate a custom manifold for combined fuigo box bellows and electric cage blower, second was to insulate and lay bricks for the forge itself, and third was to create a support and wooden floor to support the fuigo and conceal the in-floor heating system and blower manifold.
This series is a compilation of what footage I was able to collect while both of us worked morning ’til night but gives a good idea of what went on and will offer some valuable details for astute observers.
Pierre also specializes in making hempcrete mixers and custom wood-fired ovens on the side, the pizza was so good that unfortunately there is no footage!