Levant man creates own world in his blacksmith shop

Posted Sept. 04, 2013, at 5:29 a.m.

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.