Lorelei Sims
Take a Tour of Five Points Blacksmith Shop
Gawk at the Cool Ironwork
Order a Copy of Lorelei's Book - The Backyard Blacksmith
FeWear - Original T-Shirt Designs
Links, Information, and Supplier/Material References 
Click Here to Send Lorelei an E-Mail

Links, Information, and Material/Supplier References

ABANA - Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America.
Their web site features invaluable information on local
 blacksmithing groups, a supplier directory, as well as
information on regional and national blacksmithing events. 


I have demonstrated for these blacksmithing groups:

               CanIron X

               Western Development Museum - Saskatoon 

               Saltfork Craftsmen Artist-Blacksmith Association

               Cape Breton Blacksmith's Association - Nova Scotia

               Arizona Artist Blacksmith Association

               Mississippi Forge Council

               Appalachian Area Chapter of Blacksmiths

                CBA - California Blacksmith Association

                Rocky Mountain Smiths - Colorado

                OABA - Ontario Artist Blacksmith Association

                Guild of Metalsmiths - Hastings, Minnesota

                Central Texas Balcones Forge

                Four States Iron Munchers - Texarkana, Texas

                Louisiana Metalsmiths Association

                Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association

                Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil

                John C. Campbell Folk School


Regional Blacksmithing Groups & Smiths

Firehouse Ironworks - Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland

Gulf Coast Blacksmith Association - Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, & Florida

Heart of Texas Metalworks - Lee Lanford - Texas

Holly Fisher - Artist Blacksmith

Jim Seery Memorial Hammer-In



I went on-line looking for a natural finish application for my ironwork and came across an excellent product called Breakthrough; it is manufactured by Vanex Inc and it is an excellent interior/exterior industrial grade acrylic finish that is incredibly durable. I recommended Clear Satin 50-0 though there are numerous gloss or satin, clear and colors available. They do custom tints as well. 1.800.851.7390

the application process i recommend is to dilute the first coat with half water. this has to be done especially if there are nooks and crannies in the ironwork. the second coat can be more like 20% water, and the final coat should be full strength.

allow a day in between coats. there is a milky blue tint to the paint that makes it easier to see when the metal has been covered. it will dry clear.

if you opt to use a brush, please dilute and use a very good natural hair brush.  small bubbles left on the surface will dry and make the piece look bad.

i use a sprayer when applying breakthrough.

Gano Welding and Supply - This family owned and operated business is located here in Charleston, Illinois. The company was founded by Linda Slaughter's family and she continues to operate the business with the assistance of her two sons T.K. and Pat. If you have any questions about welders or welding products, they can assist you.

McMaster-Carr and Grainger have extensive material and supply catalogs. Usually when I call in an order, my shipment will arrive within 48 hours. The Sales Clerks at both companies are knowledgeable about the products and are helpful when I am not quite sure what exactly I want.

As stated on the main page of their website, Crescent City Iron Supply is a full-service ornamental iron supplier that carries a full range of castings, forgings, hardware, and paints. Their mailing address is 9835 Derby Lane - Westchester, Illinois 60154 (tel) 1.800.535.9842.

Elmer Roush Fine Tools  I learned the fundamentals of blacksmithing when I apprenticed with Elmer in the early 1990's.  He made me my first set of forging hammers, which I still use today.   

Working Metal is a studio located in Champaign, Illinois, headed up by Dean Rose. Dean is a working blacksmith and an awesome caster. He has come through for me several times with replacement castings for restoration projects. Working Metal is located at 409 East Springfield Avenue - Champaign, Illinois 61820 (tel) 217.355.6510

John Crouchet is an artist-blacksmith located in Texas and he is the man to speak to if you are interested in learning how to operate a fly press.


There are two steel yards located in Mattoon, Illinois which I often frequent:

McFarland Steel is another local family-owned and operated business, the patriarch is Gene McFarland. They are located at 1005 Marshall Avenue and their telephone number is 234.4559.

General Steel and Metals is located on the corner of Logan & Dewitt Avenue (217) 235.5575.



Dan Broten is an awesome friend as well as a very talented photographer; they are several of his shots featured on this website. He is a commercial photographer who does free-lance work in the Chicago Area as well as Minnesota. I also had the opportunity to work with Dan on my book "The Backyard Blacksmith - Traditional Techniques for the Modern Smith".

Bob Biddux's studio is called Innermost Imagery. I was very fortunate to hook-up with him through my friends Camille and Keith; I booked studio time to photograph the grape leaf and vine table and chair commission and am very pleased with his work. The cavern shots featured on his webpage are beautiful.

Mista Richard Hellyer is a hellavu photographer, an outstanding and respectable citizen, and damn fine friend. His commercial studio, The f. Stops Here, is located in Sawyer, Michigan.

Gary Grounds is a local photographer here in Charleston. He has shot two of my pieces and I am very happy with the work he has produced.

Joe Ethridge is a Charleston Illinois Photographer and a life long resident of Coles County in Illinois. Landscapes, cityscapes, nature and architecture are among his specialties.  His studio/gallery is located just off the Courthouse Square, 714 Monroe, here in Charleston.


Central Illinois Sites of Interest

City of Charleston I was an elected commissioner on the Charleston City Council for eight years, with a campaign slogan - Forging for the Future. I really enjoyed the opportunity to represent the residents of my community.  Check out my hometown.

Eastern Illinois University is located here in Charleston and I am an alumnus. The students, faculty, and employees of the University provide diversity and cultural opportunities that can not be found in other rural Midwest towns.

The Lincolns is the website of B.F. "Mac" and Dorothy McClerren. The McClerrens are amazing Lincoln look-a-likes and their presentations are interesting, accurate, and informative. Through this site you can arrange for a "Visit with the Lincolns".

Roc's Blackfront Restaurant and Lounge offers the best ribs in Central Illinois. Mike Knoop is the proprietor and in the mid 1990's he refurbished and rechristened the dilapidated building, which was once an extremely popular illegal gambling house here in down state Illinois. The ribs are available for overnight delivery - I recommend Norm's Nirvana Sauce.

Charleston Alley Theatre is a small, intimate, avante garde, experimental, regional, privately-owned theatre. Its self-imposed mandate is to do interesting, exciting, challenging shows that are not commonly done, from Lysistrata and Macbeth to Arthur Miller's Creation of the World and Other Business and works of Christopher Durang.

Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, eight miles south of Charleston, preserves the last home of Abraham Lincoln's father and stepmother, Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln. The 86-acre site, which includes the reconstructed Lincoln cabin and a surrounding living history farm, is managed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Lincoln Log Cabin hosts many historic and traditional events throughout the year. In true pioneer spirit, each October, the annual Harvest Frolic provides a weekend of traditional harvesting demonstrations, food preparation, crafts, and music.


Other Interesting Sites

Omaha Botanical Gardens - If you ever find yourself visiting or passing through Nebraska, the Gardens is a beautiful place to visit.

Peonqueen.com features the artistic talents of Karen Hellyer. She is an accomplished artist and musician and she offers a broad range of media services through this portal.

Lorelei Sims - Artist Blacksmith / Welcome to the Vortex of Hot Metal!