The wrath of Hephaestus Himself seems to be spewing from this Damascus forge put to its test at yesterday's Handmade Horseshoes farrier competition in Leighton Buzzard, England. Photographer Gary Huston has mounted a wonderful photo recording of the day on his Flickr photo gallery.
Gary is a terrific farrier/photographer who knows where to point the camera and experiments with color saturation for unusual and remarkable effects. I'm a big fan of his and I bet you will be, too!
I just hope his Canon didn't melt...
For any non-farrier readers: this contraption is a propane forge used by farriers to heat steel for shoemaking or reshaping/altering of existing shoes. It works much like your gas grill but heats the steel quickly and efficiently to a very high heat so the steel is malleable.
Working with one of these all day may be why farriers are such good hands at summer barbecues...and many of them are also great chefs, possibly because they have an innate understanding of the effects of heat on matter. Think about it.
At this competition, farriers working in teams or alone would have been competing for perfection in craftmanship of a prescribed shoe design in a particular dimension from a supplied length, width and thickness of raw steel material. Think: Iron Chef with hammer and tongs. Realize: Hephestus lives, and he lives well.