LINCOLN CITY – CJ and Joe Sauer, the father-son blacksmithing duo, have returned to the Living Historical Farm at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. They set up shop right next to the old Lincoln cabin last Wednesday, and continued to demonstrate the ancient art of blacksmithing through July 18. The Sauers utilize methods and tools similar to those that would have been used by the pioneer blacksmiths of the Little Pigeon Creek area. Indeed, much of the iron implements, tools and fittings at the Living Historical Farm were forged by the Sauers, who have been regularly visiting the site for around 20 years.
CJ studied blacksmithing at St. Meinrad Archabbey’s trade school, where he was initially planning to become a monk before embarking on his iron-centric career path. Joe watched his father at the forge from a young age, and started swinging a hammer in his own right at the age of nine.
Joe tends to take center stage at public events these days, laboring over the 3,000-degree furnace and then hammering the hot iron into shape on an anvil. Many small products, such as iron hooks, are given away as souvenirs. These have proven quite popular with foreign tourists, and the Sauers expect a great many of their iron implements can be found adorning households as far away as Asia.
Story and photos by Don Steen