Buffalo Center resident brings blacksmithing and woodworking to North Iowa
19 Oct 2023
The word “blacksmith” may flood one with images of Medieval times, swords and large, burning forges, but really, smithing is an art thriving in our neighbor’s yard.
From ornaments to flowers to custom orders, Eric Wolsing can craft it all. Wolsing’s business, Oak & Anvil Works is an operated steel fabrication, blacksmithing and general workshop located in a large shed on his property in Buffalo Center. He also accepts welding jobs.
Wolsing and his family moved to Iowa last year. He’s been spending his time renovating his shop, which has everything he needs for his woodworking and blacksmithing escapades.
“When the custom jobs come in, those are probably my favorite just because a lot of the work I do can be a little production-oriented,” said Wolsing.
“Those are the most fun to make because you get to exercise your creativity.”
Wolsing and his father, Allen, are 5th and 6th generation blacksmiths. They worked together to improve their woodworking and blacksmithing skills, which led them to participate in craft shows and later found Oak & Anvil Works in 2010.
“It got to the point where we were making so many pretty pieces in the pursuit of learning our trade that we decided that we needed to take this show in the road,” said Wolsing. “We started doing local art shows, and that lit a fire in us.”
Wolsing grew up in Allen’s woodworking shop, quickly learning the tricks of the trade. In 2001, he graduated from the University of Kentucky, earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with an emphasis on machining and precision machine design.
After school, Wolsing sought to scratch his woodworking itch by setting up a shop in his garage, where he continued to develop skills and acquire new equipment. Wolsing and his father took on their blacksmithing hobby in the late 2000s, and Allen has since retired from Oak & Anvil Works, leaving Wolsing as the sole owner.
Throughout his career, Wolsing has held various jobs, from welding to mechanical engineering to software engineering, earning himself a reputation as a walking plethora of knowledge or a “Renaissance Man,” according to one of his friends.
“I have been gifted with a curiosity about a lot of things, and I have more hobbies than time,” Wolsing said.
Despite this, woodworking and blacksmithing remain at the top of his interests. His favorite part of the job is simply bringing joy into others’ lives through his work.
“I like making this stuff, but if this didn’t make somebody happy at the end of the day, it’s not worth it,” said Wolsing.
Visit www.oakandanvil.com for more information.