A Clifton Forge man is getting national attention after appearing on a DIY Network show.
The star of Barnwood Builders asked Glen Bryant, a local blacksmith, to teach his guys the trade.
From there, a relationship started to take shape.
Bryant spends a lot time standing over hot flames.
“This is a basic coal forge.We’re using coal. We blow our air up through the bottom, so it’s burning oxygen and gets it really hot,” Bryant said.
When it comes to blacksmithing, he’s old school.
Coal and a hand crank get the job done.
“What we do, we put the metal in and little pieces you have to use tongs to hold on to. We’ll put it in and just crack it until it gets hot and it doesn’t take very long, usually,” Bryant said.
Once the metal gets hot enough he starts hammering away on the anvil.
The day we filmed, he was making a hook in the shape of a heart.
You might say it’s a softer work of art compared to the tomahawk he taught the guys of the Barnwood Builder show to make.
The partnership started with a phone call.
“Mark, the host, called me and said I really want to give these guys a nice Christmas present. Can I send them down and let them take your class making tomahawks?” Bryant said.
The guys traveled from their home base in Greenbrier County, West Virginia to Glen’s shop in the bottom of Clifton Forge School of the Arts.
He teaches classes there and says that’s how the host found out about him.
He’s made a name for himself in the area.
The one-on-one tomahawk class went so well the show’s producers recently asked Bryant to build a permanent forge for the stars of Barnwood Builders.
“They had such a good time down there they want to do it at the bone yard; can you come up there put a forge in for them and show them how to do some stuff? And we want to come down and film it,” Bryant recalled being asked.
Despite the spotlight in a recent episode, Bryant still didn’t realize the show had a national audience until he got a work request from California.
“Then it hit me that this television show was national. That was the first time it really dawned on me. I just didn’t realize it was a national program,” Bryant said, adding that he was “tickled and kind of shocked.”
Thanks to the show, a new generation is learning to heat and hammer.
Bryant’s episode on Barnwood Builders airs at noon Sunday on DIY Network.
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