Mines News

Release Date Thursday, February 11, 2016

Hand-Forged Steel Roses a Mines Blacksmithing Specialty

“Hot metal!” It’s a phrase Joseph Schurch (pictured below) has been repeating frequently as his tongs grip a piece of glowing steel and transfer the fiery metal to an anvil for hand-crafting.

Schurch and the Blacksmithing Club are in the final stretch of their annual signature fundraiser, shaping steel roses for Valentine’s Day. 

SteelRoses Joseph Schurch“The roses are a little rough around the edges, but they’re totally unique, and they’ll last longer than your lifespan—and that’s kind of how love should be,” says Schurch, a mechanical engineering senior from Lakeville, Minn., minoring in metallurgical engineering.

No two roses are alike, as each is made by hand and painted. Some are a more natural looking polished steel, while others are painted in an array of colors. Some have leaves. Depending on the artist, some roses have fuller blooms than others.

This is the fifth year of the steel roses fundraiser. The group’s goal this year is to sell at least 100 roses for $20-$25 (more for those with leaves) to pay for safety goggles, leather gloves, metals and other materials for activities throughout the year. 

The club has been selling premade roses to students, faculty and staff each day this week in the Surbeck Center and is also taking special orders.

Among the more unique requests: chrome-colored petals splattered with red paint, green petals with a purple dusting, and petals with neon green undersides, black insides and a neon green dusting.

While they’ve been working overtime during this busy fundraising period, members of the Blacksmithing Club normally gather each Friday at the shop on the west side of O’Harra Stadium to hone their blacksmithing craft. They focus on personal projects forging everything from keychain fobs to garden dragonflies.

"The club promotes creativity but also is tied to the actual processes that we use in industry, such as metal forming and welding," said advisor Michael West, Ph.D., head of the Department of Materials & Metallurgical Engineering.

Like Schurch, the group is comprised largely of mechanical, metallurgical and mining engineering majors. There are about 12 active members. 

“The big goal is for students to learn about industrial processes. We’re all about the development of students, and we want to create an artisan atmosphere. In this case it’s blacksmithing,” Schurch says. He’d like to see the club add woodworking, leatherworking, glassblowing and chainmailing. 

To find out more about the Blacksmithing Club, contact Joseph Schurch, club president, at Joseph.Schurch@mines.sdsmt.edu or Michael West, advisor, at Michael.West@sdsmt.edu.

View additional photos and video clips of Blacksmithing Club members hand-forging steel roses.


About SD Mines  

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,778 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate is 96 percent, with an average starting salary of $62,929. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on Facebook and Twitter.


Contact: Fran LeFort, 605-394-6082, Fran.LeFort@sdsmt.edu

Upcoming Events

Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018
4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Surbeck - McKeel Room
Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018
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Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018
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