John Scroggin likes it hot.
2800 degrees, to be exact.
As a blacksmith, Jack heats steel and iron in his fire-fueled forge to a clay-like state so he can move it, mold it and work it into shapes he creates for tools, historically accurate hardware and cool household items like bespoke fireplace tools, scrolled wine racks and branded bottle openers.
His shop is tucked away in a wooded neighborhood in historic Roswell. He commutes from his home in Sandy Springs to the shop and to the Spruill Center for the Arts in Dunwoody where he teaches blacksmithing. His students learn to create functional and abstract sculpture by learning to cut, hammer, shape, and weld metal. In one class, beginners leave with a 10th century Viking spearhead over two fire-filled sessions. New classes begin this month (go to SpruillArts.org for details and registration).
John has been making a living as a blacksmith for more than 15 years. The craft industry has experienced a bit of a renaissance, gaining fans through popular television series like Iron & Fire, Forged in Fire and Modern Day Blacksmith. “It’s a great time to be a blacksmith,” says John.
Most days, he’s holed up in the 20’ x 30’ shop, a double-bay garage full of hand-crafted tools and his gas and coal-fueled brick-lined forge. He makes his own tools, based on historical research and his various project requirements. His standard production items include candle holders, coffee tables, fireplace tools, hanging wire wine racks and decorative hooks. He fabricates jewelry tools for his colleagues who teach at Spruill and takes commissions. This month, he’s working on strap hinges for a 19th century New England style home in Tennessee and his hand-forged hardware and furniture graces historic antebellum properties throughout the southeast.
Follow John on Instagram or Facbook at @BurningJForge and find out about his next series of blacksmithing classes at SpruillArts.org