Expert in Damascus Steel
Blacksmith Markus Balbach
Damascus steel – this specific kind of welded steel has been manufactured in Europe for more than 2,000 years. The traditional manufacturing process whereby different metals are laid by hand onto the coals of the forge fire and are joined together by folding is only rarely seen anymore. Environmental protection has led to no new forges being permitted in Germany for the past 20 years.
Eduard Balbach, Markus Balbach’s father, grew up in the Caucasus near the Black Sea and was brought to Germany as a young boy by German soldiers. It was here that he learned to be a farrier and carriage builder and has been a blacksmith at the fire since 1950. In 1963, he began his independent work as a blacksmith at his forge at Iserlohn in the Sauerland. Starting from childhood, his son Markus had to participate at the forge actively. Without any significant technical resources, Markus learned traditional smithery at his father's artistic forge. He passed the examination to become a blacksmith and later in 1991 began searching for his own forge site. He found one in Laubuseschenbach, an area where iron ore and other precious metals have been mined since the 12th century. A descendant of an old noble family, the Prince of Wied, was even allowed to mint his silver coins here. An old forge had also existed in the center of Laubuseschenbach for over 130 years. Markus Balbach thought to have found his new location. However, as with many small craftsman’s establishments, this old forge had never received an official permit.
Nevertheless, Markus Balbach persisted. In 1999, in the small town’s old industrial area, he was able to acquire two buildings of a former automobile company from the Second World War. From this emerged the "Schmiedewerkstätten Markus Balbach."
Based on his extensive knowledge of traditional smithery, Markus Balbach developed a first-class Damascus forge.