Blacksmithing is the art of forging metal using high heat, tools like hammers,  anvils, and vices to make objects like hooks, hammer, nails, and more. Before the Industrial Revolution, most towns had a local blacksmith.

Emil A. Leino, born in Finland in around 1877, moved to Ely, Minnesota and was known around town as the local blacksmith. In some records Emil is listed as a drill sharpener for the mines. Phil Leino, Emil’s grandson, has donated the forge to the Ely Folk School and many materials for the current shop and classes. Forging has always been part of Phil’s life and he looks forward to sharing that passion with others. He has spent much of his life restoring and collecting forges in order to preserve the art of traditional blacksmithing. Phil grew up building what he needed, with help from his father who was a carpenter and owned a welder.

Phil says, “I would like the Leino Forge to be a place for others to come and learn or freely create.” 

Observing a forging class at the Ely Folk School, you will hear lots of clanging and banging. You might also be mesmerized with the work of heating hard metal or steel, and watching it turn into a malleable substance, creating something completely different. 

“I try to do as many things without technology as possible,” says one student at a forging class. 

“My interests in blacksmithing stems from a desire to use an ancient craft to create by hand, functional, durable, and unique, long lasting goods. The guidance and tutelage the instructor shared was paramount for learning the basics and enabled endless possibilities to create and recreate in a medium that it allows,” says Alvin Goeser. 

Students of all abilities are encouraged to sign up for classes. Instructors do their best to meet students where they are at and help work on their skills. Whether you are advanced enough to make tongs, or are still perfecting the classic S-hook, the Leino Forge at the Ely Folk School has all the tools you need for your next creation. 

The next forging class will be held on:
Friday, December 3, 2021 – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM AND
Saturday, December 4, 2021 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

You can learn more and register for the class here: