My dad was a blacksmith and he was working in a small shop, he was working on a mowing machine for a team of horses, the machine was fairly heavy and you would have to sit on the machine. The wheels were made with cast iron steel with cork on them; the cork was to make sure the wheel would turn the cutting blade. The bar was 6′ feet long with a cutting blade. It would get dull and had to be sharpened. We had a grinding wheel and we had to turn the wheel so dad would sharpen the blade. It would take half an hour or more. There was a lot of different things that had to be fixed sometime or another.
One day somebody came to see Dad; he wanted Dad to build him a bobsled.
He had to look for some wood to build the sled and he would have to have yellow birch because it was a better wood. We would go in to the woods along the brooks to look for yellow birch trees big enough to make two sled runners. Sometime they would grow with a bend at the trunk of the tree. It would have to be big enough to make one runner for the sled. Sometimes we would have to look for that tree for a long time before we could find the one he wanted. It had to have a little bend in it for the runner. The grain grows with a bend and makes it stronger. The runners are 4 inches wide and we had to have a tree big enough to make two of them. It would take four of them to make a pair of sleds, for example, it would take a piece of wood 8’feet long by about 12 inches in diameter.
This is how he made his living, working for the public. He sometimes shod 25 horses a day; the people were coming to the shop with no appointments, first come, first served, because there was no telephone. Sometime people would come to the shop just for a visit, some days there would be a dozen or more, other day’s only one or two. He did different things like repairing the machines that was made to cut hay. He didn’t make a lot of money, but we always had lots to eat.
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