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Paschal Candlestick

Posted by bighornforge on August 24, 2018

This Paschal Candlestick was made for St. peter’s Church, Forestville, WI  16″ x 50″, mild steel, wax finish.

It is also a processional piece, as the top is removable, separating at the collar underneath the twist.

…Dan Nauman 

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“The Witch of November”

Posted by bighornforge on October 13, 2017

“The Witch of November”

I recently completed this maquette, designed for a client whose home overlooks Lake Michigan from atop the bluffs.  My goal was to capture the essence of the Autumn gales (swirling winds and water), dubbed “the witch of November” by the mariners of the Great Lakes region.

I had already made several drawings for the client of several different designs.  However, I wasn’t 100% excited about any of them, and consequently, I told them I was going back to the drawing board.

This design actually hit me in the wee hours of the night while lying in bed.  As not to forget the idea, I rose, and went down to the office to make notes.  The curious thing about this piece was that I typically make a scale drawing for my projects.  But I had the idea so solidly embedded in my head, with much anticipation, I embarked on the project the very next morning without a drawing.

I did make scale drawings on the layout table of some of the patterns, and did the math so each bar’s termination would end up in a specific spot.  However, I did want to take the project at a slow but sure pace, leaving a bit of spontaneous inspiration to come from the process itself…and I wasn’t disappointed.

The final forged piece, (the swirling ribbon as a centerpiece),  took some thought.  I tried various motifs, some very different to add contrast, and some going outside the box by starting inside and wrapping around the perimeter.  None seemed quite right, especially the latter which made the piece top-heavy.

Pondering again the winds and water, I was pushed to further reflect on the turbulence, yet the interaction of these elements that produce storms out on this great lake.  Then the idea of a volute form struck me, but with some contrast to the rest of the piece.  So I envisioned a ribbon, with texture to offset the otherwise smooth and flowing plate.  This seemed perfect, as it subtly represents the epicenter of a storm.

This piece is 1/2 scale of the proposed finished sculpture.  It is 16″ x 44″, so the final piece will stand about 88″ high.  The model is mainly of 1/2″ round mild steel, 1/8″ plate, with the centerpiece (see detail above) made of 3/4″ round. Black and silver Gilders Paste finish.

I also wanted the audience to have a intriguing view from any vantage point.  The intersecting lines, plus the positive space of the plate flowing around the piece gives the feeling of movement from all angles.

The full scale sculpture will incorporate 1″ bars, which will be a challenge, however very dynamic in the end.  That said, I am also giving the client the option of a 3/4 version at 66″ high, made with 3/4″ bars.

…Dan Nauman                                                                                                                                                        October, 2017


Posted in Bighorn Forge/Nauman Ironwork, Decorative ironwork, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Processional Cross: New Images

Posted by bighornforge on December 15, 2016


Here are two professionally shot images of the Processional Cross that was made for St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Forestville, WI.  Images taken by George Lottermoser, of Lottermoser and Associates, Germantown, WI.

This piece is mild steel, hand-forged, and has a Gilders Paste (TM) finish. The fleur-de-lis pieces are of French repousse’,  made from 18 gauge mild steel sheet.

Designed and executed by Dan Nauman.



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Processional Cross

Posted by bighornforge on September 5, 2016

Processional Cross 3

Processional Cross.  17″ x 24″ x 96″.  Mild steel, Gilder’s Paste finish.  Main bars are 5/16″ square, and there are roughly 40 forge-welds in this project.  The French repousse” process was used to make the fleur-de-lis, rosettes, and button husks.  The 43″ tubular staff lifts off the base for processions.  made for St. peter’s Lutheran Church, Forestville, WI.


Processional Cross

           Processional Cross

Processional Cross Detail


Professional images will be taken and posted here in the near future.


…Dan Nauman

Posted in Bighorn Forge/Nauman Ironwork, Decorative ironwork, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Elk Antler Chandelier “In Progress” Images

Posted by bighornforge on April 14, 2016

This elk-antler chandelier is being made for a “cabin” in northern Wisconsin.  When completed, it will have 15 lamps, and two stained-glass shades, one mounted at the top, and one at the bottom.  There will be added metalwork to mount the shades as well.

Stay tuned to see the finished product.


Birchpoint Chandelier April 12 G

Birchpoint Chandelier April 12 F

Birchpoint Chandelier April 12 E

Birchpoint Chandelier April 12 C

Birchpoint Chandelier April 12 A

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Dan Nauman Interviewed on “BlacksmitHER” Podcast

Posted by bighornforge on November 13, 2015

BlacksmitHER Cover


Just a quick note:

Last week I was interviewed by Victoria Patti of “BlacksmitHER Radio”, a podcast site where Victoria has candid interviews with metalworkers, artists and artisans alike.  The address is  In this interview, Ms. Patti essentially announces to the listeners one of my new endeavors: I am the new editor for the “Hammer’s Blow“, a publication provided by “Artist Blacksmith Association of North America” (ABANA).

If you are so inclined to listen to my interview, it is episode #48.  Thanks so much, Victoria.




…Dan Nauman

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Blacksmith Images from Amateur Photographer Augie Stark

Posted by bighornforge on May 7, 2015




These images were shot by amateur photographer Augie Stark, who visited my shop on two occasions this year.  Augie is taking a photography class at the University of Wisconsin/Madison.  Dan in shop line drawing 2

Dan in shop Line drawing

Dan at work B&W


Very impressive images, as they show texture, and great composition…both qualities I enjoy, and why I particularly enjoy B+W photography.  To truly appreciate these images, click on them to see a larger image.

Thanks Augie, for sharing these!

…Dan Nauman

“Nobody goes there anymore.  It’s too crowded.”- Yogi Berra   (talking about a popular restaurant in his old St. Louis neighborhood.)

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Repousse’ X: Under Tool (Stake) Designs for Repousse’

Posted by bighornforge on February 13, 2015

This is a continuing series, consisting of the writings of French repousse’ master Nahum Hersom.  I have transcribed his words exactly, unless indicated by ((double parenthesis)).

The following pages are from 8-1/2″ x 14″ pages.  However my scanner can only scan 8-1/2″ x 11″, so I have split the pages into two parts, i.e., 1A + 1B, 2a + 2B, etc.

Under Tools (Stakes)

Hersom's Written Under Tool Designs 1A

Hersom's Written Under Tool Designs 1B

Hersom's Written Under Tool Designs 2A

Hersom's Written Under Tool Designs 2B

Hersom's Written Under Tool Designs 3A

Hersom's Written Under Tool Designs 3BHersom's Written Under Tool Designs 4AHersom's Written Under Tool Designs 4B

((The following text is transcribed.))

Under Tools

Stakes:  Made of tool steel ((a.k.a. high carbon steel)) and tempered to a brown with purple spots.  Mils steel tools are ok for one time tools.  Can be tempered with lye solution or Shaklee solution.  ((As the latter methods of tempering can be dangerous to your health, I do not recommend attempting to use chemicals to harden steel.))  Best for forging forming tools, grapes, etc.  Spring tools for power hammers.

Case hardened tools will die mark where tempered tool steel will resist this.  (( Here again, I do not recommend case hardening either, as the chemicals can be very dangerous to your health.  Find a commonly available high carbon steel such as W-1, learn its properties, and then you will not be concerned with alternative hardening methods.  Get on with the business of repousse’.))

When welding tool steel, i.e. ball bearing to mild steel shanks, use stainless steel welding rods.  I heat to dull red and let cool.  Removes welding strains.  Sometimes I cool tools when at black heat in oil, otherwise, do not temper.  Lots of times they crack.

After forging ends of under tools, anneal and shape, file, grind, etc.  When using sanding belts, which  usually are better for shaping tools, start with a medium grit belt, not a very coarse one.  Coarse belts, like coarse grinding wheels, put in deep scratches which take a lot of time to remove.  If you use a file to shape end, again, use a medium tooth file and then a fairly fine one.  Afterwards, use shop roll paper ((fine grit emery cloth)) under file to remove deep scratches.

When using a sand belt, using the directional scratches made by belt, first one way, then across it, helps to define the shape of tools.  Also, watch carefully the shape of the tool, to keep it symmetrical on contoured surfaces that you want.  It is easy to distort the shape, especially on intricate and compound curves.  Sometimes, the true shape is hard to define without a keen eye and this contrast crossing grinding belt lines is a good background to look against for corrections as you work on tools.  Curve of ends of tools to correspond to radius of hammered piece – Tools to fit design, size and shape for more accurate convex or concave work.

By wrapping leather over end of stake, tool marks can be avoided on some work, especially if the piece being worked is turned over, as you work both sides on the same stake.  On some jobs where soft metals are used, wood under-tools eliminate eliminate under-tool marks.

((End of this section))

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Litergical Metalwork for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Fayetteville, NC

Posted by bighornforge on October 6, 2014

Altar candlestick for St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Fayetteville, NC.

Altar candlestick for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Fayetteville, NC.

I was commissioned by St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Fayetteville, NC to create several candle chandeliers, altar candlesticks, paschal candlestick, sanctuary lamp, and an ambo bookrest, all with a Celtic design.  (Candlestick images by George Lottermoser.)

Two 36" and two 42" altar candlesticks for St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

Two 36″ and two 42″ altar candlesticks for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

Below is a Santuary Lamp (less the cylindrical glass shade) for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

Santuary Lamp

Below is the Ambo Bookholder.

Ambo Bookrest for St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

Ambo Bookrest for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

…Dan Nauman

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“Diversion” 2012 by Dan Nauman

Posted by bighornforge on October 4, 2012


“Diversion” 2012, by Dan Nauman.  6″ x 48″ x 90″.  Formed and fabricated steel.  Natural patina.

Note:  For sale.  Serious inquiries should contact Dan at

…Dan Nauman

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork.”….Psalm 19

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