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Lonnie Alverson (@hearthandhomeforge)


Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with Lonnie from @hearthandhomeforge and talk a little shop.
If you would like to be featured in our weekly spotlight (100% FREE) and have a chance at winning one of our Grinder Hoods please send us an email to to get you scheduled in an upcoming week. And for those of you that take the time to share your story with us, we'd be happy to provide a free BA banner. These spotlights are intended to highlight your skill, your business, and your tips and tricks.  Most of all it's to have a little fun!
Enjoy and Grind On!


Name:  Lonnie Alverson 
Business Name:  Hearth and Home Forge 
Location: Cleveland, SC
Socials: IG: @hearthandhomeforge 
Specialties:  Bespoke - Artists Blacksmith Commissions
Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
Hearth and Home Forge is a family-owned business located in the Upstate of South. I built my first Forge in 1996 and studied blacksmithing under several renowned artist blacksmiths at the John C. Campbell Folk School. I enjoy creating one-of-a-kind ironwork pieces that reflect the beauty of nature; also included in his portfolio are traditional and Colonial-style smithing. Including the forging of iron and steel, Lonnie has forged with copper and silicon bronze.
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
Our metal studio is right behind our house, so I really love working close to home in a beautiful mountain setting. Each job we get seems to be a little different so I enjoy working through the process and being able to be creative, to make one of a kind pieces for a customers homes. I love using the different things that we see every day around us in the mountains to create beautiful architectural works.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
I guess my favorite combination of tools would have to be the anvil and hammer, almost all of our projects begin with forged elements, made with the anvil and hammer and then put together through the fabrication process using welding, grinding, etc.
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
My favorite piece is my most recent one. It is a kinetic sculpture that depicts an epic sea battle with its motion.
What BA product is your favorite and why?
My favorite BA products would be the grinding and polishing discs and their belts, they are used the most from beginning to the end of our custom-made items. They remove material quick and they last a long time, couldn’t ask for more than that. 
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
First time I use the 2 x 72 sanding belts and the 4 1/2 inch flap discs. I was amazed at how long I could grind and use them without having to replace them with a new belt or disc. Which is a huge time and cost savings.! 
What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
Benchmark Abrasives offers a full line of grits and different disc for specific purposes so make sure you use the right discs / Belts for the right application. You’ll get the longest life and the best service out of their product and the best savings for yourself.
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
I feel like you can always learn something from everyone, so I love getting the opportunity to work alongside or talk with or collaborate with other artist blacksmith. But if it had to be one person I would say it would be Zeevik Gottlieb
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
There’s a lot of resources that are available now that I didn’t have when I first started, like some of the colleges and local blacksmithing groups and also YouTube. There’s some really good beginners boats out there now too. Get started by reading or connecting with some of these other Blacksmith that may be in your area go to a school or college that have Blacksmith and courses. Many cities have artists-grants that will help you pay for artist blacksmithing classes. You can get on YouTube and they will show you how to build a small Forge and start practicing and building your skills.
What are your future plans for your shop?
The future plans for me to keep creating and learning new things and grow the shop and business.
Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?  
Get started, even if it seems like a small start! Always have big dreams and work towards your dreams! Don’t get bogged down in what you don’t have or with what you may not have right now, but start with what you have today and what you have in your hands to work with now! Get started!


A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Lonnie! The last answer is a common one among people I interview. Just start!  I always tend to make excuses in my head when I just need to start!
Previous article Zebensui Cruz Padron (@sparkstenerife)
Next article Joe Marandino (@metal_genius_joe)

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