Dateline: 21 August 2013
I have an idea for a new product I want to make for gardeners. It will involve working with tin or galvanized steel. So I went to the internet looking for some how-to information. In so doing I found my way to a wonderful ten minute You-Tube movie about a third generation tinsmith.
John Forshee was 89 years old when the movie was made. He lived his whole life in Cincinnatus, New York, which is a small town not far from where I'm located. It appears that he worked in his dark basement, using tools a hundred years old, crafting objects of utility and beauty, with tin and skills that are mostly lost. I am attracted to the stories of old craftsman like Mr. Forshee.
He passed away a year after the film was made. He took the knowledge of his craft with him. I can't help but wonder what became of his tools and patterns.
If you appreciate old crafts and old craftsmen, you will like this little film clip. Here is the link: Tinker: John Forshee
One thing leads to another when looking around the internet and after finding the John Forshee film, I came upon another ten-minute clip about 87-year-old Harvey Ward who learned how to make wooden scoop shovels from his father when he was a boy, and was still making them in 1974, when the film was produced.
Though I don't have any personal interest in making a wooden scoop shovel, I found this film absolutely fascinating. At 87, Mr. Ward wielded a double-bitted axe with remarkable skill. He uses four hand tools to hew shovels out of sections of tree, and he does it in short time.
Here's the link: The Last Shovel Maker