Grant Haverstock is a happy guy. “I have the joy of making a living doing what I love, and sharing it with other people,” he says.
Grant is a blacksmith, which in this day and age is a rare thing to be. He and his wife, Jessica Klein, own FireHouse Ironworks in Whycocomagh. While working out West, Grant took up blacksmithing as a hobby, and quickly became addicted to the combination of fire, heavy metal, and creative process.
“Blacksmith forges haven’t really changed in two thousand years,” says Grant. “You need iron, coal for fuel, and a fan to force air into the flame, which super-heats the metal so you can work it. The rest is imagination.”
In 2010, Grant and Jessica decided to ditch the rat race and move home to launch their business. They searched for property in Cape Breton and found the old fire hall in Whycocomagh.
“Whycocomagh is a great location,” says Grant. “It’s in the centre of the Island, and it’s on the Cabot Trail, so tourists come by. And the community has been really supportive. We survived our first year in business because of local contracts.”
As well as doing custom work and selling handcrafted items, FireHouse Ironworks also offers training in the ancient craft of blacksmithing, ranging from beginner to advanced courses.
“We are definitely seeing increased interest in this side of the business,” says Grant. “Experiential tourism is growing as more people realize they spend too much time online, and hunger for authentic experiences. And you can’t get more authentic than pounding on a piece of hot metal, creating something with your bare hands.”
For more information, visit FireHouseIronworks.com