Smithy that's alive and well | Northwest Wanderings
37th in an occasional series: Blacksmithing is not for those with well-manicured nails. "You can never stay clean," says Louie Raffloer.
Seattle Times staff photographer
See for yourselfWhat: Black Dog Forge open house.
When: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Where: 2316 Second Ave., Seattle. Enter from the alley between Second and Third avenues.
More Northwest Wanderings
37th in an occasional series
Blacksmithing is not for those with well-manicured nails.
"You can never stay clean," says Louie Raffloer, who owns Black Dog Forge with business partner Mary Reid Gioia.
It's a dirt-under-the-fingernails craft.
"The work is primal, raw and useful," he says, pounding metal into shape.
Two decades ago Gioia "stumbled upon Louie" and his Belltown forge.
"I was doing the upholstery for a throne he was building. As soon as I walked through the door I wanted to be a blacksmith."
He had learned at a Pioneer Square forge, and she learned from him.
What ruins their clothes frees their creative souls.
All that pounding "keeps us happy and serene," he says.
"The appeal is suffering for your craft," she says.
At the end of the day they see what they've designed and made.
Their biggest project was 900 feet of railing for a castle in Zihuatanejo on Mexico's Costa Grande overlooking the Pacific.
They built a forge on the roof and helped teach local assistants during their six-week stay.
"A bad day as a self-employed blacksmith is better than a good day in an office," Raffloer says.
Alan Berner: 206-464-8133 or firstname.lastname@example.org