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Reid Bruggemann, Modern Blacksmith

Vajra Forge in Denver's RiNo

Photo: Jennifer Olson

Reid Bruggemann uses all the traditional tools of his trade: hammers, tongs, anvils, and vises. But at his three-walled, open-air studio in the heart of Denver’s RiNo, Bruggemann isn’t banging out horseshoes.

His custom, hand-forged pieces—delicate glass and iron tables, steel headboards, and bronze fire screens, as well as reproductions of heirloom furniture—are designed for home and hearth, and Bruggemann’s clients range from Hollywood to Brooklyn.

Bruggemann’s “office” looks toward the Front Range, with his forge occupying center stage, blasting out heat at more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. His company name, Vajra (Sanskrit for thunderbolt) is a perfect descriptor. “I’ve always been drawn to the very elemental quality of blacksmithing,” he says. “Dark gray steel turns to burgundy, then to orange, and finally, when you take it from the forge, it’s a swollen white so bright that you have to wear specialty glasses to look at it. When you strike the heated metal, the whole thing actually moves.” vajraforge.com

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