After 15 months of persevering with the mortgage and planning offices, on the 14th January 2015 the purchase of the Old Forge Widecombe In The Moor, finally went through.
At this point the enormity of the level of work that lay ahead was apparent.
The vision was to create a space that would incorporate a working forge space, and a viewing/gallery area for visitors to be able to safely watch what is being created, and also be able to purchase items made in the workshop. Apart from a crumbling 300 year old fire place, 4 solid walls and a fairly sound roof, the forge was a blank canvas. The idea was to renovate the forge back to full working order, but also maintain its rustic charm.
To start with, a few modifications were necessary to stabilise the chimney and make it safe, before work could really be started on repairing the forge.
It was to take a lot of thought as to how best utilise a relatively small space, into two separate useable areas.
The first task was to repair the fire place. The lintel had cracked, so a suitable piece of granite had to be sourced to replace it.
It took around a month to rebuild the forge, and the walls to the toilet. At this point the new Oak windows were commissioned, and the forge was on track to be in working order for Widecombe Fair day, it's first opening to the public.
After Widecombe fair it became apparent that there was something buried in the floor. This turned out to be a blacksmiths swage block. A very useful tool which up until that point was in the future purchase list. So that was one greatful saving.
The next stage was to dig up the uneven patchwork floor ready for a concrete base, and eventually the herringbone granite sets. This is the point at which an Anvil was set into the floor. This is used for bumping up, and thickening the ends of long steel bar.
8 months in, the new granite floor is laid and the new oak Windows fitted. At this point the power hammer was commissioned. Which is used for heavy work. Also the oak partition is well under way to being fitted. The oak all sourced from the southwest, including the River Dart Estate in Ashburton.
A year from when work started. The oak partition and power hammer are in. The gallery space is completed, all set for another Widecombe fair 2016.