When Kyle Thornley and his family moved to Revelstoke from Ontario they had 50,000 pounds of shop equipment to bring with them.
Only able to find a small space to set up his blacksmith shop at first, it was a slow start for Thornley in Revelstoke.
However, he set up shop in the Big Eddy in December and has hit the ground running. He hasn’t even had time to wire some of the lights in his new space.
While he calls it disorganized, the rows and rows of hammers and tongs don’t look out of place.
Alongside the more traditional tools of the trade, including a mechanical power hammer from 1911, Thornley also has a pneumatic, air powered, hammer and propane forges.
“I can only swing a four pound hammer for so long before my arm feels like it is going to fall off,” he said with a laugh.
Thornley spent his 20s out West, and during that time he studied to be a welder in Nelson.
It wasn’t long after he finished his apprenticeship doing commercial work and steel erection that he had the chance to dive into more creative blacksmithing work.
From there, he did some apprenticeships to learn the ropes and watched Youtube tutorials, opening his own shop 10 years ago.
He is always learning, attending events with blacksmith associations and traveling to national and North American conferences.
He said everyone is very open to sharing tips and tricks and the conferences are reminiscent of the good old days when there were 50 to 60 people working in a blacksmith shop.
“If you are willing to put your head down and put in the elbow grease to make it happen, then good for you, I’ll help you as much as possible,” he said.
Thornley does a wide variety of work from artsy leaf key chains and roses that are great for markets to more architectural pieces, such as railings and wood stove detailing.
He said his favourite thing to do is work from a chunk of steel on a project that needs a lot of manipulation and that he has to transform and bring to life.
But even the little pieces take time. One rose, if he is being efficient, takes almost three hours and he has to have a fairly large industrial space to do the work.
Thornley hopes to work with the developers in town and offer people one of a kind pieces that go hand in hand with wood and stone interiors but he will continue to make the artsy things, drawing inspiration from the natural environment.