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Montana Tech blacksmith club gives students training under fire

blacksmith at tech.jpg
Posted at 1:39 PM, Sep 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-29 15:39:20-04

BUTTE - A hot forge, red-hot metal, and the sound of hammers slamming are all part of Montana Tech’s metallurgy program, which is celebrating 100 years.

“And it’s cool! It’s really fun and it’s a great opportunity for us to outreach to other students,” said Montana Tech graduate student Morgan Ashbaugh.

Ashbaugh started the Blacksmith and Caster Club in 2019 to give students a chance to apply what they’ve learned by using high heat, anvils, and hammers to forge tools.

One group was pounding out old railroad spikes to make them into knives when we stopped by.

“Your arm will be sore after a day of working. It’s definitely a workout,” said Ashbaugh.

Tech student Spencer Toomey said the blacksmith club convinced him to switch his major.

“I was originally here for mechanical engineering, but during the tour, they showed me this lab and I was like, ‘you know what, I think metallurgy’s going to be fun.’ So, I decided to join metallurgy, and great decision so far. I’m loving it,” said Toomey.

WEB EXTRA: Tech students demonstrate and discuss blacksmithing

WATCH: Student blacksmiths in action at Montana Tech

Unlike the chess club, this club requires protective gear since they work with a forge that reaches temperatures of up to 2,000º Fahrenheit and slamming molten metal with heavy hammers.

“Earlier I dropped one of the knives. If that were to hit me, this would make sure nothing happens with that, it just bounces off, so you don’t want to just be doing this in a T-shirt,” said Seager Nentwig.

“It’s also great like a great stress reliever, you’re just like, had a really bad day at chem and then you just come out here and smack some metal out. It’s great! I love it,” added Toomey.