Oregon man shares traditional blacksmith skills on YouTube

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — Scott Wadsworth has been fascinated by blacksmiths since he was 12 years old, when he kept running across descriptions of them in the Western books he enjoyed.

He was camping the first time he experienced the joy of shaping metal. He put some nails in a campfire, and once they were hot he started hammering them flat.

“I didn’t know what to do with them, but I kept doing it over and over,” he said.

Wadsworth went to Oregon State University, intending to study for an engineering degree, but dropped out to pursue a construction career. He owned Wadco Construction in Roseburg for several decades, married his childhood sweetheart Kelly (they met on a school bus in Glide), and raised four kids.

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Twelve years ago he received a life-changing gift from former Douglas County Commissioner Bill Vian. Vian gave Wadsworth all his blacksmithing tools — tools he himself had received from Roseburg Forest Products founder Kenneth Ford in 1978.

The equipment is worthy of a museum, but Wadsworth has no intention of leaving it to collect dust.

“When Bill gave me these tools it really altered the course of my middle age,” he said.

Today, Wadsworth builds a wide variety of metal objects, from chandeliers to range hoods to swords.

His favorite creation to date is a set of gates patterned to look like dogwood for a design studio belonging to Jennifer Jackson of Sutherlin. It’s the type of creation Wadsworth likes to call house jewelry.

The next step in the journey he’s taken came when his son Nathan Wadsworth of Mesa, Arizona, a millennial in his early 30s, suggested his dad put up some videos on YouTube. That seemed like a horrible idea, Wadsworth said. He couldn’t imagine that anyone would be interested.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

In January 2016, Nathan shot some video about a large, 70-year-old power hammer Wadsworth uses to smash iron.

“He uploaded it, and it got a few thousand views, and that was intriguing,” Wadsworth said.

But that was only the beginning. After a few other videos, including one about a forge he designed and built, the two collaborated on a video in July 2016 about a blacksmith’s anvil. Over the weekend after it was posted, it received 100,000 views.

Wadsworth has several anvils, but one of them is his favorite among a shop full of blacksmith’s tools. It’s a…

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