Dec 21, 2015
Stuart Geisler is an industrial blacksmith in
Pennsylvania. He specializes in a variety of high quality,
hand-made tools for the cooperage industry and the slate quarry
industry out of Granville, NY. He started a blacksmith
apprenticeship in 1977 after completing his physics and
astrophysics at Villanova University.
What We Talked About
- When he was a little boy, he would visit a place that inspired
him to become a blacksmith, the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. The metalwork
incorporates animals and plants made of iron and monel (a type of
metal alloy similar to wrought iron but has 65% nickel and 25%
copper in it and resistant to corrosion).
- Years later Stuart was studying Physics and Astrophysics as a
graduate student at Villanova University. While attending
University Stuart was looking for a job in Astronomy as a teacher,
but they were hard to come by due to NASA cutbacks in the late
1970’s. While looking for a job in the classifieds, he saw an
advertisement for an apprentice blacksmith in the “A” section since
he was looking for an Astronomy position. He dressed up in a
suit and tie for the interview of the apprentice position with
master blacksmith, Fyodor Czub. Czub liked the fact that
Stuart had enough respect for the craft and the master to dress up
in a suit. They hired him immediately. He stayed there for 5
- This position gave Stuart the background to become an
industrial blacksmith because of the lifting tools they would make
there, such a lifting tongs and clamps to pick up logs and
- Stuart ended up supporting his parents after his father lost
his job. This smoothed things over since his parents weren’t too
happy he didn’t pursue Astrophysics.
- Stuart always had a plan to open his own blacksmith business
and bought the machinery needed while he was still employed as an
apprentice. He left the company on good terms, so good that the
company subcontracted forging work from him for the next 15
- Stuart is still working and teaching classes out of his 40ft x
60ft shop that is situated on 14 acres with the Snake River running
through it. The shop is well equipped with trip hammers, seven
anvils (including a 700lb Hay Budden), and a lathe.
- Stuart is very involved with many blacksmith Facebook groups,
and he is the Admin of a few such as Blacksmithing for Beginners,
Blacksmith Enthusiasts, Blacksmithing for Beginners Tailgate
- One of Stuart’s hobby’s is being a philatelist (aka stamp
collector). The most interesting stamp he owns is one from the
Vatican depicting a blacksmith.
- His favorite tool is his 700 lb Hay Budden anvil; he bought it
for $650 in 1976!
- Today Stuart has a few companies that by his hand-made tools
for a slate roofing industry, a leather retailer called Waltzing
Matilda, and for the cooperage industry in Kentucky.
A Big Thank You to today’s sponsor Nimba Anvils,
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