Levant man creates own world in his blacksmith shop

Posted Sept. 04, 2013, at 5:29 a.m.
Blacksmith Jerry Gallant stands in the shop he built, at his home in Levant, which includes a hand dug well and train station stove.
Kevin Bennett
Blacksmith Jerry Gallant stands in the shop he built, at his home in Levant, which includes a hand dug well and train station stove. Buy Photo
A hooded snake adorns a candle stand made by blacksmith Jerry Gallant. Gallant used pieces of copper as eyes and countless hours hammering small details to bring this gothic piece to life.
A hooded snake adorns a candle stand made by blacksmith Jerry Gallant. Gallant used pieces of copper as eyes and countless hours hammering small details to bring this gothic piece to life. Buy Photo
A dragon complete with fangs adorns the top of a 6 foot tall candle stand created by blacksmith Jerry Gallant.
A dragon complete with fangs adorns the top of a 6 foot tall candle stand created by blacksmith Jerry Gallant. Buy Photo
Blacksmith Jerry Gallant hammers a hot piece of steel into a spoon at his shop at his home in Levant.
Blacksmith Jerry Gallant hammers a hot piece of steel into a spoon at his shop at his home in Levant. Buy Photo
Blacksmith Jerry Gallant hammers a hot piece of steel into a spoon at his shop at his home in Levant.
Kevin Bennett
Blacksmith Jerry Gallant hammers a hot piece of steel into a spoon at his shop at his home in Levant. Buy Photo
Blacksmith Jerry Gallant heats a piece of steel that will become a spoon after Gallant is finished with it at his shop at his home in Levant.
Blacksmith Jerry Gallant heats a piece of steel that will become a spoon after Gallant is finished with it at his shop at his home in Levant. Buy Photo
A custom hand-crafted chandelier which includes intricate roses, leaves and etched glass made by Jerry Gallant to hang over his anvil at his blacksmith shop in Levant. Gallant says he has over 500 hours into the piece.
Kevin Bennett
A custom hand-crafted chandelier which includes intricate roses, leaves and etched glass made by Jerry Gallant to hang over his anvil at his blacksmith shop in Levant. Gallant says he has over 500 hours into the piece. Buy Photo
A rack of tools used by blacksmith Jerry Gallant hang next to his forge his shop at his home in Levant.
A rack of tools used by blacksmith Jerry Gallant hang next to his forge his shop at his home in Levant. Buy Photo
A rose made from hammered steel by blacksmith Jerry Gallant was a present to his wife, just one of many items Gallant made while honing his blacksmith hobby.
A rose made from hammered steel by blacksmith Jerry Gallant was a present to his wife, just one of many items Gallant made while honing his blacksmith hobby. Buy Photo
Intricate roses decorate a custom hand crafted chandelier which includes etched glass made by Jerry Gallant to hang over his anvil at his blacksmith shop in Levant. Gallant says he has over 500 hours into the piece.
Kevin Bennett
Intricate roses decorate a custom hand crafted chandelier which includes etched glass made by Jerry Gallant to hang over his anvil at his blacksmith shop in Levant. Gallant says he has over 500 hours into the piece. Buy Photo

Two full-sized cannons serve as sentries, the sound of metal on metal draws the visitor down the stone path leading to a small, neatly appointed structure beside a home in Levant. Inside, there’s a constant, rhythmic clanging. Nearby, a horse whinnies in greeting.

Welcome to Jerry Gallant’s world.

Looking for a hobby after becoming disabled, Gallant decided to build a cannon — or at least the hardware for one — and then ordered a barrel to complete his creation.

He now has two functional cannons on his lawn. After realizing his cannon dream, Gallant got to work and dug a well for his shop and then completed the 16-by-24-foot shop two years later.

“Anything you make as a blacksmith takes forever,” said Gallant, hammering away at what will eventually be a spoon on his anvil.

Proof hangs overhead: A steel chandelier, which began as a metal wagon wheel but, thanks to Gallant’s imagination and labor, is far more than that now. The multilayered rose petals and the etched glass were all hand-crafted by Gallant, who claims he has spent a little more than 500 hours on the light fixture.

Gallant doesn’t practice the craft he learned from other blacksmiths for money. He does it for the love of it, often gifting his metal work to relatives and friends.

“You can hammer it into any shape you want,” said Gallant, referring to the steel he works. The 6-foot-tall candle holder complete with a double-headed snake with copper as eyes and a dragon on top stands quietly in the corner, but echoes Gallant’s statement.

Gallant’s world is part history, part fantasy. One thing it’s not is quiet.

Blacksmithing is noisy work, of course. And even after he’s done a piece, the noise can continue.

Remember those cannons?

Gallant often fires them, and did so recently, during a family reunion.

“My neighbors must hate all the noise down here,” he said.

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