How It All Began
Before the age of fourteen Dave began to experiment with hot and cold metal work, using found materials to produce small items. By day he hammered and painted steel nails and copper wire to create jewellery and by night he reshaped broken kitchen blades into miniature knives. It was also during this time that he developed an appreciation for Japanese craftsmanship and design sparked by a history and arts course at school.
In the spring of 1992, he travelled to Ohio, USA, to spend a few weeks learning from Mr. Emmanuel Schrock in the format of a full-time short-term apprenticeship. Mr. Schrock, a former-Amish career blacksmith known for his fine detail and creative problem-solving, was patient enough to coach Dave in the basic skills of many smithing techniques.
When he opened his own shop in Calgary in 1993, Dave was able to build on his learning and improve his skill with the hammer and anvil. He acquired most of the initial equipment through a farm estate auction that his grandfather found. Dave operated the shop part time in the winter and full time in the summers from his first year of high school in 1993 until well after he finished university and the shop was relocated.
The Pine Shop
Dave built his first lean-to work shop in 1993 and was fortunate enough to be introduced to Mike at The Pine Shop shortly thereafter. The Pine Shop, located in Calgary Kensington, specialized in beautifully crafted wooden furniture in traditional and custom styles. Mike was looking for a local blacksmith who could provide a line of hand-forged items as well as fill custom orders for his clients. Working with The Pine Shop was a great experience for Dave, “Mike was always flexible in relation to my school schedule and helped me refine my marketing skills”, he says.
The majority of his orders from The Pine Shop were for ornamental items such as candle holders, chandeliers, door pulls, pot racks, and hinges in traditional styles. “Blacksmithing work paid for almost half of my university tuition and The Pine Shop was instrumental in a good proportion of those commissions–Thanks, Mike!”, says Dave. Along with some other larger custom pieces he had the honour to craft the iron parts of a custom designed log bed ordered by Mr. Kurt Browning.
This was definitely the most heavy-duty and high-profile order from The Pine Shop. One inch solid bars of iron were forged, bent, and welded to resemble tree limbs bound in a grid. The finished ironwork was mounted in the head and foot of a massive log bed designed and crafted by the crew at The Pine Shop. The completed bed was set up in the home of figure skating champion Kurt Browning. /1997/kurt-browning-custom-bed/
The New Future
After a long hiatus from the fire and many years spent developing other aspects of his art, design, and fabrication work, Dave is back at the forge with a new vision. His focus is on simple, sustainable, and functional works of art that are built to last. Stay tuned for further news and information on the new plans and offerings from Crossed Heart Forge.