Ep #87 Matthew Mewburn Aussie Series part 2 of 4 “A Handsome Piece of Machinery”

 

Matt started forging when he was 16 years old and has been blacksmithing for 10 years, perfecting his craft by completing several local and international master classes and earning a certificate in Engineering Fabrication in Blacksmithing at a technical school called TAFE in Australia.  Matt is an attentive and passionate teacher who is dedicated to sharing his knowledge about blacksmithing to the community from the historic Eveleigh locomotive workshop.  Apart from being an instructor, Matt also creates architectural ironwork for clients, and is a passionate tool-maker, with his axes being highly sought after. Matt’s secret talent is that he’s pretty deft on the banjo and one day wants to do the motorcycle trip from the Easy Rider movie, minus the horrible ending!

 eveleigh Locomotive workshop tognetti-59 damsacus-axeveleigh-works

What We Talked About

  • Matthew has partnered up with two other people to grow the blacksmithing craft in Sydney, Australia by taking over the lease of the historic Eveleigh Locomotive workshop starting in September of 2016.
  • They are offering tool making, knife making, and sculptural classes at the workshop. Some classes are weekend long classes and others are night classes.
  • The Eveleigh Locomotive workshop is 130 years old and in the height if it’s day it had 5000 to 6000 employees forging, heat treating and building steam locomotives. This is from the from the Eveleigh website talking about the workshop equipment of the past:

“Bay 1 was the domain of heavy-metal forging, with the Davy Press and its attendant equipment dominating the northern end. In the south, glaring back at the Davy is the other workshop heavyweight ? the mighty double-arch steam drop hammer. Used for fire-welding and metal forging, the drop hammer put on spectacular fireworks shows in the course of its daily duties. With its deafening bangs and lightning-quick blows to scorching billets, it belched flames and showered the workshop with fantastical streams of iron embers, terrifying apprentices, singeing eyebrows and igniting the fashionable newspaper hats donned by nearby blacksmiths.”

  • The Davey press was decommissioned in the 80’s, so it is not running currently today. When the press was in good working condition it took one of the four C36 class steam locomotive boilers in the workshop to drive that press.  The 6-meter-high press weighs 1500 tons. Matthew would like to get it back into running condition, though it would take 5 to 6 people to run it.
  • The double arch steam drop hammer is another goliath that sits decommissioned in the shop. It is 2 tons of moving parts and is older than the Eveleigh shop, built around the 1850’s.
  • Matthew’s blacksmith education came from the local vocational tech school called Ultimo TAFE where a blacksmith certificate course is offered. The main instructor is Lindsay Cole, who is one of the last remaining blacksmiths that worked in the Eveleigh workshop.

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