The three major projects during this visit were focused on getting the forge itself ready for use. In this episode, creating a steel frame and wooden floor to support the fuigo and conceal the in-floor heating system and blower manifold.
For this particular project, the essence of “hitech-lotech” is to use available technology and equipment to overcome the challenges of swordsmithing without apprentices and assistants, in a cold climate, and still maintain the simple and peaceful environment of a traditional workshop. Pierre’s solution was to use the space behind the forge wall which is out of sight of the smith and the area under the fuigo to locate and conceal equipment that does not need frequent accessing. An in-floor heating system and related equipment is installed under the back of the fuigo and the electric blower, valve, and manifold are located under the fuigo.
The concrete forming for the forge was quite complex but allows the construction of a wooden floor over the pit in front of the forge and under the fuigo, seamlessly finishing the plane of the floor and concealing clutter and distraction while protecting pipes and hoses. Lumber for the flooring was sourced from local farms and finished with Japanese kanna (wood block plane).
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.