About Us

The Ball And Chain Forge

Since 1975, Bob Menard has been providing New Englanders with his excellence, skill and craftsmanship. The Ball and Chain Forge was established in 1990 in Maine. In 2000, the shop moved to Portland, Maine, where it has become a fixture in the community.

Meet Our Owner 

Bob Menard

I began blacksmithing when I was a sophomore in high school. The public school I attended was an experiment in education in Vermont and not very traditional. We had a class in early American history as most do, but there was a decidedly different twist to the subject matter. We built a log cabin settlement on the campus. The logs were harvested using hand tools and then they were skidded out with ropes and the brute force of 30 students.

Blacksmith Company Portland, ME
We learned about hand tools used in the period as we hewed timbers and hand split shingles. It soon became obvious as the cabin took shape that a certain amount of iron hardware was necessary for this project. A few other students and I took on the responsibility of making this hardware. The schools industrial arts department had a few basic tools including an anvil, a gas fired blast furnace to serve as a forge, and 2 books by Alex Weygers, The Complete Modern Blacksmith.

This was back in the early mid 70s and there didn’t seem to be many folks around who knew much about blacksmithing. But I have since learned that blacksmithing was undergoing a renaissance and becoming more fashionable. Where I grew up was farm and horse country so there were farriers and some equipment around. I read and did and learned. 

That same year for Christmas I requested and received my first anvil. It was one I had found in an antique shop and steered my mother toward. It was stamped 135 and as I later learned this is an ancient standard of hundred weight.

The first number is a hundred weight or really 112 lb. The second number is quarters of hundred weight and the third is pounds. This means I got a 201 lb. anvil for Christmas that year.

These humble beginnings have cumulated in a 37-year career, (you can do the math), creating iron work in its many forms. I have operated in the greater Portland area since 1990.

I have a strong background in architectural iron work, jewelry for your home, as well as a large line of products for your home or business. Considerable experience and good design sense ensure you are getting the best product and quality for your job. I have the experience and training to complete large projects but I still remember my Blacksmithing roots and will tackle unusual metal repairs that would be hard to source in other welding shops.

The galleries on this set are not a catalog but a portfolio that represents range and style. This is a custom shop that works with the client to realize their dream.

The Ball And Chain Way

For more than 40 years, The Ball and Chain Forge has provided superior customer service and craftsmanship to local residents. Our fabrication of residential and architectural iron work is second to none.

We offer a lifetime warranty on all of our products. From railings and fences to custom art and decorative pieces, Ball and Chain Forge can handle any job. Please call (207) 878-2217 today to discuss your iron fabrication needs.

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