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Cyber Smiths Int.
Edition 37 - Page 4 of 13 Febrero, 2005
Costa Rica Blacksmithing
Tico Blacksmiths - The Vargas Brothers
Brothers Guillermo Vargas Vonella (right) and Fabio Vargas Vonella left.

These two second generation blacksmiths are the last known general blacksmiths in the populous Cordillia Central (central valley) of Costa Rica. These gentlemen did it ALL. They shoe horses, fix carretas (wagons) and machinery as well as doing architectural work. Besides the samples of decorative work they showed us there was also a a recent job consisting of a couple heavy industrial bread kneading whips made of 1-1/2" round stainless bend into a screw shape. All this in a completely un-mechanized shop.
Josh Greenwood with Guillermo Vargas Vonella age 76

Guillermo is the oldest of the two brothers and retired due to health reasons. Trained to keep their methods secret they opened their small shop to us knowing they are the last of their kind.

Driving by you would never suspect the unassuming little building about the size of a one car garage was a productive blacksmith shop. The floor slopes to up to the back and is crowned in the center from years of accumulation of scale and ash.
Putting on a Show The brothers had a fire going when we arrived. They burn carbón (charcoal) using a hand crank blower. Fabio (above and right) heated a piece of 3/4" round bar and forged a horse shoe for us. The charcoal burns clean enough that there is no chiminey, just vents in the gable end of the shop. The first heat  was at burning temperature and sparks flew! Fabio forges with a big 5 to 6 pound sledge and has the muscles to go with it.
Creasing the Shoe Like many farriers Fabio has learned to work alone and works with the shoe resting loose on the anvil. It never moved as he forged the nail creases

Continued on page 5 
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Number one blacksmith site. February, 2005 Edition
Costa Rica
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