The Six Questions
Blacksmith Grant Marcoux Keeping up With the Smithy
Who: Grant Marcoux, 56, blacksmith. “I consider myself a blacksmith of the old school,” he says. Not a farrier, who shoes horses, but the anvil-and-hammer smith that every castle, town and city had until the last century. That means Marcoux makes and fixes tools, works with metal and wood and plays with fire.
What: “I do just about anything in metal, depending on the size,” he says. Garden gates and wrought iron balconies? Artisanal copperwork? Yes! “My areas of expertise are repair, restoration, tool-making and re-creation of historical objects.” Marcoux is the guy to see if you need some era-appropriate tools or weapons. On his workbench recently was a Civil War–style gun, custom carved to fit against the side of a man’s face, all hand-done by Marcoux. He’ll also sharpen your knives and fix your garden tools.
Where: You’ll find Marcoux at Alameda Point, in a workshop packed to the rafters with tools, materials and various projects underway: a hand-carved gunstock, knives, copper bowls awaiting the dimple of a hammer. His Pilgrim Soul Forge is his spiritual home — where he can swing a hammer and make sparks fly. So can you — if you sign up for a class with him.
Why: “I like to make things. I like to indulge my creative impulse.” He also likes to be told something can’t be done. “Prove to me that it can’t,” or, more likely, he’ll prove that it can. “Some blacksmithing requires attention to detail; other forging requires you to think big.”
When: 2001, when he began smithing full time, after a long career in law enforcement and a Coast Guard career that took him from Alaska to San Diego.
How Many: 25 hammers, at least —one for every need — sledge, ball peen, mallets and more. “They all have different weights, head configurations and balance points,” and store neatly in a rolling cart that Marcoux made. “If a small-statured person has the correct tools, you don’t have to be as strong.”