Episode #37 – Dennis Dusek “A Black Eye and the Blacksmith”

Dennis Dusek is an artist blacksmith who lives in the beautiful foothills around Placerville, CA. He has been the vice president of the California Blacksmith Association. Dennis is always pushing and growing his artistic forging skills.  He loves to collaborate with other skilled blacksmiths making larger forged projects.  To see an example of a successful collaboration bench project he headed, you can read this blog post, http://www.blacksmither.com/the-weaverville-collaborative-forged-bench-project/ . He enjoys making sculptures, tools, tables, garden gates, and more. He often demonstrates and teaches blacksmithing in the vineyard blacksmith shop at Boeger Winery.

Dennis and Brett at NWBA demo Dennis black eye Dennis at NWBA demo

What We Talked About

  • Dennis talks about his demonstration he and Brett Moten did at the NWBA Spring Conference in Longview Washington.  Their demonstration was inspired by Claudio Bottero and when Dennis assisted Claudio at the ABANA 2012 South Dakota conference.  Dennis and Brett made a sign for the NWBA; it included a few of Claudio Bottero’s fullering and breaking techniques, along with forged “NWBA” letters attached with a pair of tongs.  The sign is installed in front of the NWBA’s forging center.
  • Dennis’s passion for blacksmithing lead him to assist for Mark Aspery demonstrations at some of the California Blacksmiths Association workshops.  Soon Dennis was assisting more skilled blacksmiths, which gave him the skills to become a demonstrator himself.
  • Blacksmithing was introduced to Dennis in college, through a metal art class.  The class had a blacksmith come in for a demonstration, John McClellan; this caught Dennis’s attention and he soon began collecting blacksmithing tools.  Since then, he has become good friends with John and has worked with him on several projects.
  • Working as a machinist for a living Dennis kept his blacksmithing craft as a hobby for many years.  A near-death experience changed his outlook on life and how he wanted to be able to make a living being a full time blacksmith.
  • We talk about how blacksmith associations enhance our blacksmithing skills and communities.
  •  Dennis assisted John McClellan on a massive gate project that a 2-week deadline from start to installation!  John was able to recruit Mark Aspery, John Barron, Brett Moten and Mark Kochan to help as well.  The gate had over 500 pass-through’s.
  • Dennis and Brett Moten make sets of power hammer tools for the blacksmith.  The set comes with six inserts that fit tightly into tongs, and each insert can be custom made for your liking such as fullers, top and bottom swages.

Fullering example on sign Drawing and test piece Sante Fe Gate 1

Guest Links

A Big Thank You to today’s sponsor – SkipJack Press www.astragalpress.com SkipJack_Press

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