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Blacksmith forges a path for the next generation

ATLANTA, IND. (WISH)– In Atlanta, Indiana, Kurt Fehrenbach is teaching people how to forge their own way, literally.

“People kept asking for it, and I taught a class and they wouldn’t quit. This has been going on four years. I just throw challenges at them every week, and they make something,” said Fehrenbach.

Kurt started manipulating metal at just ten years old. More than five decades later, he still loves it just as much. “The excitement is working the hot metal and accomplishing something. And your next project is always a little more challenging, more challenging, and you’re never done learning,” said Fehrenbach.

His shop on a Thursday night is full of the next crop of blacksmiths soaking up every bit of information they can.

His youngest students are just 10 years old. “Just having to work hard and having that sense of fulfillment at the end of the day,” said Noah Hickman.

“I just like hitting stuff with a hammer,” said Arlo Richardson.

In a time when kids spend more time forging forts in video games, they’re learning a trade that isn’t as common as it once was.

“Blacksmithing is fun. More fun than sitting at the house playing video games,” said Hickman.

“You can put your own mark onto it and make it whatever you want,” said Richardson.

Kurt says it brings him joy to see a younger generation learning to strike the iron while it’s hot.

“I’m passing the trade on. You know, I won’t be here forever. The young ones will be here a long time, and this will help pass it down the line to other people and keep it alive,” said Fehrenbach.

The kids have a plan for their new found skills. “It’s something I want to make a career out of, it’s Kurt’s career, so,” said Hickman.

“It’s a great life, it’s rewarding just by the satisfaction of making something, it’s rewarding seeing these guys learn, I can’t think of anything else to do,” said Fehrenbach.