Elmer Roush hand forges edged tools that vary from working tools like hewing axes, froes and hatchets to historic replicas such as the viking axes, he also makes other tools and equipment such as dividers, calipers, early locks and kitchen utensils. He studies the ironwork of the pre- and early-industrial smiths enabling him to create historically accurate replicas and make work in a faithful style and method.
Elmer began blacksmithing in 1970 and was self-taught for six years, after which he attended workshops at Arrowmont School of Crafts, Haystack School of Crafts and the John C. Campbell Folk School. He also worked with Master smith Vaclav Jaros in what was Czechoslovakia as a journeyman. Elmer has been operating a full time blacksmithing business since 1987. His work has included specialized tools, 18th century style hardware, traditional and contemporary architectural work and a production line of candle holders, letter openers and fireplace tools.
Elmer has passed on his knowledge teaching blacksmithing at a number of schools including Peters Valley, Touchstone, Appalachian Center for Crafts, and the John C. Campbell Folk School. He assisted in setting up the Cearta Inneona blacksmithing school in Ireland in 1999 and was head instructor and acting CEO for the school for a year.
Elmer has also demonstrated widely at local and state blacksmithing conferences across America and made a trip to the yearly blacksmiths gathering near Brisbane in Australia in 2001 to teach and demonstrate. He was a studio monitor at the Haystack School of Crafts and a resident artist at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina for eight years up to 2002.
Elmer recreates tools and implements using the time proven technologies that craftsmen from the earliest metal working period of our history would easily recognize. If a metal worker from ancient Babylon was time shifted into Elmer’s forge he would have no difficulty in recognizing most of the equipment and would surely delight in the improvements.