Brown County Iron
Functional hand forged iron
11–5 Fri–Sun; closed Mon–Thur
Year round by appointment
4456 Helmsburg Road, Nashville
Blacksmithing is an age-old way of working iron or steel with heat and hand tools. Blacksmith Jason Nickel uses a coal fire, anvil, and hammer to forge functional items such as hooks, potracks, hardware, and tools.
Jason worked in the shop of a master blacksmith and artist for a couple decades.
“He was, and is, a patient teacher,” says Jason. “He not only provided me with an income for many years, but also has been supportive of my own endeavors in the craft.”
Those endeavors include exploring a creative, freehand approach to traditional blacksmithing.
Jason was drawn to blacksmithing by the vast array of functional applications and the metal’s pliability at high temperatures.
“It allows for a lot of creative options,” he says.
Since the coal fire Jason uses has a working lifespan of about an hour or two before it needs to be cleaned out and rebuilt, his work day revolves around several sessions.
“Sometimes I take breaks between sessions, and sometimes not,” says Jason. “I’m guessing this is the way blacksmiths have worked for centuries.”
Jason is inspired by nature. He likes to forge the faces of humans and animals, trees and leaves.
“Mostly I’m inspired by the nature of the iron itself,” Jason explains. “It’s incredibly malleable at high temperatures.”
Jason grew up in Brown County, so it was a natural choice to raise his kids and do his work here.