Blacksmith and Carpenter Shop

admin-hhdev Blog 7 Comments

Hi Kids,

I wish you could hold this axe handle.  It is perfect!  OK, it is old and broken, but it is perfect.

For most of my life I have railed against the concept of ‘good enough’ or ‘OK’; our watered-down version of ‘perfect’.  The old guys who worked in my 1860’s blacksmith and carpenter’s shop would not settle for ‘good enough’.  If the shoe did not fit the horse, it did not go on the horse. Period.  If your hand did not fit the axe handle perfectly it got changed.  

In my own work I wrestled with the concept daily.  My answer was to make my craft sing and make Art happen.  When craft is done perfectly, it becomes quiet and recedes.   That allows the Art values to move forward.  This said, we all know that ‘perfect’ is a concept that none of us ever realizes. 

Except the maker of the axe handle.  It’s a thrill to hold it.  It was in a pile of scrap under the old workbench along with the broken burl mallet.  Kindling.  I think not.

Be well,


Comments 7

  1. Hello from the frightening U.S. I have to tell you how much having coffee or tea in your beautiful cups lifts the spirits and makes another day in lockdown special.

  2. Harlen the whole thing looks incredible. Sam and I were wondering if you had any more hanging lamps, we would love to stop in at some point when this pandemic has subsided !! Give our love to Maureen stay safe stay well stay in touch! Much love Andrew

  3. Harlan, these tools have such astonishingly graceful lines, fluid and organic like the bones of an animal. I have always had a weakness for rust it reminds of brocade in colour and texture, which contradicts my practical side. But then a metalsmith commented to me that rust was the metal’s blood.
    Gloria Hickey

  4. Have been enjoying the wonderful porcelain objects we got from you. AND. Loving them all🤡😍😷😷
    Thank You Thank You!!!

  5. Hello Harlan. This has been such a project of love. Very different from when you first allowed us in . It smelled like a building from my misspent childhood .I first had a smoke at 12 in such a place of men . When you get to visit us we will take you to a famous stone one here. Abandoned and locked up in the 50s. The family just donated to the county and opened up for the first time in 70 years. All in tact and everything in situation as if aliens had abducted the smithy. Yours just as good . Perfection is you .👏👏❤️

  6. Harlan that is Awesome! Your property is a tribute to craft. Thanks for sharing.

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