Bandy Blacksmith members took part in a four-year project to build a reproduction of the San Salvador with the San Diego Maritime Museum. The San Salvador was the flagship for Juan Cabrillo's expedition that explored San Diego bay in 1542. During the project the blacksmiths made a long list of metal parts for the ship, including dead-eyes, chain plates, chain links, steel and bronze bolts, hooks, eyebolts, nails, straps and ballast hangers. They were also called upon to make tools for use by the shipwrights, including marlinspikes, caulking irons, staple dogs and ceiling clamps. They made a set of surgeon's tools for display on the finished galleon.
The Escondido History Center's Wheelwright Shop and the Rancho Bernardo Historical Society are building a replica "mud wagon" stagecoach for display in the RB History Museum at the Bernardo Winery. The Escondido History Center also will run the mud wagon in Escondido's Grape Day and Christmas Parades. The project is funded through a grant from the San Diego County Neighborhood Reinvestment Program. Mud wagons were small coaches used to transport passengers and light freight during the latter part of the 19th century. Their small size and weight allowed them to traverse the rugged and often muddy trails linking small communities throughout the back country. One such stage line connceted San Diego and Escondido and operated on a daily basis. Mud wagons departed each city at 8:00 a.m. and met at "Twenty-Mile House" in Poway around lunch time, and arrived at their destinations at 4:00 p.m. One way fares were $1.00, including lunch.
SOHO Centennial Cannon Restoration
The centennial cannon was originally cast in 1876 by the San Diego Foundry to celebrate the nation's centennial. It was used over the years during significant occasions around the city. It was still in use in 1942 where it appeared on its wagon mount in Horton Plaza. The cannon went missing when Horton Plaza underwent a postwar renovation in 1945. It was discovered in a Pacific Beach yard in 2013 and was donated to SOHO, San Diego's Save Our Heritage Organization. When the Bandy Blacksmith Guild learned that SOHO wanted to restore the cannon to original working order, they reached out and offered to do the restoration, which is now in progress. The barrel of the cannon was the only part left, so the restoration project is relying on grainy newspaper photos and descriptions to guide the restoration effort. When completed, the cannon will again be used to celebrate significant events around town.
Boy Scout Merit Badges
Several guild members are qualified to teach Boy Scouts the basics of blacksmithing so that they can earn their metalworking merit badges. It takes about two 3-hour sessions to complete the basic instructional requirements and then the scouts have to do a project to earn the badge.
Community Blacksmithing Demonstrations
The guild provides blacksmithing demonstrations at regional and historical events such as the Escondido Street Faire, Vaquero Days (Descanso, CA), Olaf Wieghorst Days (El Cajon, CA), and the WorldJousting Tournament of the Phoenix (Poway CA), as well as Grape Days and most park events.
Other Projects and Activities
The Bandy Blacksmith Guild is a group of teachers, students, and former students who meet monthly to transmit knowledge and skills and to improve the Bandy Blacksmith Shop. The guild, started in conjunction with the school and Escondido History Center, coordinates the members' various activities.
Projects include public art in the park, building the windmill tower and rebuilding the windmill (for the History Center), and building the following: a treadle hammer, blacksmith helper, master scrolls for ornamental iron, Hossfeld benders, belt sanders, and gas and coal forges.
The guild also provides demonstrations for school children. Schools from Escondido and local areas make field trips to the park. Third graders are given a 30-45 minute demonstration of blacksmithing, metal work and branding as well as its place in Spanish and American colonial history and the history of the American West. Guild members are invited to a San Diego elementary school to participate in Colonial Days. Fifth graders are assigned in groups to research a specific colonial trade. These students meet with the blacksmiths on the day of the event who quiz them on their knowledge of the trade. All day the fifth graders talk to the younger grades about the craft of blacksmithing while the smiths demonstrate in the background.
Bandy Blacksmith Shop is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as part of the historical complex to provide demonstrations for tourists.