Alder Hardt, who will be turning 14 in September, began blacksmithing at home when he was 12 years old. Since then, blacksmithing has become his passion and he is super excited to be selling his items at the Craftsbury Farmer’s Market this summer.
Alder Hardt Ironworks blacksmith products include:
- candle holders
- toilet paper & paper towel holders
- key rings
More about Alder Hardt:
Alder made his very first forge out of a wheelbarrow filled with dirt and stones with air intake and ash dump systems. He began collecting old steel from farm dumps and scrap yards and used that steel to make his first items, which were mainly blacksmithing tools. He has either made or refurbished all of his own tools. He soon replaced the wheelbarrow forge with a forge made from an old lawnmower he took apart. He started out using a vice for an anvil and spent a year working small jobs saving money to buy an anvil, which he finally did! Needless to say, this has transformed his forging experience! Once Alder had a good anvil, forge, and set of tools, he began buying new steel along with continuing to use some salvaged steel. Alder also enjoys woodworking, and makes and finishes all of his tool and axe handles.
Alder took lessons with Lucian Avery during the winter of his 7th grade school year, which gave him enough inspiration to produce items on his own at home. Thanks to Lucian, who is a great teacher! And many thanks to the folks at Hazen Union School who worked with us to set up a Work-Based Learning internship with Lucian!
Also over this past winter, Alder made a belt grinder and power hammer. He made these machines from all salvaged materials…and they actually work! He uses the belt grinder to sharpen his hand-forged axes, knives and other tools and the power hammer to work large pieces of iron. Through the process of making these machines Alder learned how to use a chain saw and welder. Alder also made a propane-fired foundry which he has used for melting and casting aluminum and copper.
Transforming pieces of iron with heat and the force of a hammer against an anvil has truly become a fascination for Alder. He is continually refining his skills and experimenting with creating new and different items. His forge is currently set up outdoors, and he can be found working out there in the snow, freezing rain, rain, or hot sun with black flies swarming around him. There have been many challenges along the way, ranging from figuring out how to direct the coal smoke away from his forge area to spending hours creating something out of salvaged steel only to have the item crack. These challenges have not slowed him down; they have helped him grow into the capable problem-solver and practical inventor and artist that he is!