I was raised around my fathers welding shop and was exposed to working with iron
most of my life. I didn't know much about blacksmithing in those days (the 50's and 60's)
so what little I knew came from self-teaching and talking to old iron workers. There
were not very many books, newsletters, organizations or craft schools teaching blacksmithing
back then so most of us worked craft fairs and historical sites.
I learned from a weaver friend about a place in the mountains near Brasstown called
John C. Campbell folk school and that they
were teaching a blacksmithing class there. Jim Kroplin was their first resident
blacksmith teacher. He had learned from Oscar Cantrell who ran the shop there
for many years and was retiring. I was in one of the first classes with four other
would be smiths. The next year I heard that a Blacksmith from Colorodo named Francis Whitaker
was comming to teach there so I signed up to be in that first class. Having only one forge and
three old anvils, we just watched Francis do one demo. after another. After those years
Conferences started popping up all over. New state and regional groups were being formed and books and newletters
were starting to appear. So time progressed some 40 years now and here I am still forging iron.
I have a large well equiped commerical shop with three showrooms and an office.
I do mostly custom work as the main stay and sale to the public and historical sites from the showrooms. Adventurers visit by the shops
all the time so there are lots of interesting people dropping by. Mill Creek Forge and Blacksmith Shop is located in the heart of pottery
country in the northwest corner of Moore county NC with more than 100 potteries in the area.
Craft Schools where I have taught
John C. Campbell Folk School (26 yrs), Brasstown Nc.
Touchstone School of Crafts, UnionTown Pa.
Ozark School of Blacksmithing Potoesi, Mo.
Blacksmithing Conferences in which I have taught
National ABANA Conference Asheville NC
Quad-State Regional Conference (Sofa) (2) , Tipp City Ohio
Southeastern Regional Blacksmith Conference (2), Madison Georgia
UMBA Regional Conference , Pontiac Ill.
BAM Conference , St. Louis Mo.
NC Blacksmiths Conference (2), Winston Salen, Denton NC
FABA, Barberville, Fla.
Phillip Simmons Blacksmiths (3), Charlestown , Plantersville SC
Central Virgina Blacksmith Association , Richmond , Vi.
Bill Manley Christmas Meeting, Oak Ridge Tn.
Clinch River Blacksmith association , Oak Ridge Tn
Appalachian Blacksmith Association (2), Cedar Lake Wv.
Appalachian Area Blacksmiths, Chattanogga, Tn
Old Dominion Blacksmiths (7), Lynchburg, Va.
Mid-Altantic Blacksmith Wrought Iron Conference, Dover De.
Pittsburg Area Blacksmiths, Paradise Penn.
Rural Blacksmith Assoication , Zionsville, Id.
Indiana Blacksmith Assocation , Troy Id.
Tannehill Blacksmith Conference , Bessemer Al.
Hammering on the Hooch (25th Aniversary of ABANA) Columbus Ge.
Museums and Historal Sites
Hezekiah Alexander House, Mint Museum, Charlotte NC
Schiele Museum, Gastonia, NC
Aycock Birthplace, Freemont NC
Caswell-Neuse Historial Park , Kinston NC
House in the HorseShoe , Sanford NC
Patriot Point, Charlestown , SC
Historic Halifax, Halifax ,NC
Bentonville Battle field, Newton Grove NC
Mordeci House, Raleigh NC
Historic Bethabara , Winston Salem NC
Malcolm Blue Farm, Aberbeen NC
Kings Mountain State Park, Kings MT. Sc
Camden State Park, Camden SC
Cowspens State Park, SC
Musemum of the Albermarle, Elizabeth City NC
Brattenville Plantation, SC
Mordecai House , Raleigh NC
Sandhills Community College, Southern Pines NC
Thomas Jefferson's Popular Forest, Forest Va.
Rural Hill , Davidson, NC
Moravian Book Store, Old Salem, NC
Selected 3 times by Early American Life to their Best traditional craftmen directory
Red Book Magazine
Early American Life
American Country South , Mary emmerling
NC State magazine . 1980
Early American Life
The Pinestraw 2015
Video Series(7 tapes) 1994 Florida Conference
"Forging Colonial Ironwork" 2013
"Forging Colonial Ironwork II" June 2014
"Forging Colonial Ironwork III" Dec 2016
Sleepy Hollow TV Series
Website at www.millcreekforge.com