Ancient Craft Rediscovered in Milford

Image: Cliff Yeary — Here is Cliff in his blacksmith shop.

Cliff Yeary — Here is Cliff in his blacksmith shop. (Cindy Sutherland)

If you walk down Main Street in downtown Milford don’t be surprised to see a large man with an eye patch and wearing a kilt sitting out in front of his
blacksmith shop watching the cars go by.

I am talking about Cliff Yeary and his business Anvil and Hammer Creations. Cliff explained, “I am an old time blacksmith and have been doing this for fifteen years. My art is very primitive. I don’t need electricity but electricity makes it easier but I don’t need it to do my job. I do it the same way it was done a thousand years ago in Europe. It is the exact same method just better steel and better equipment.”

Of course I had to ask him why he wore a kilt and he replied, “I wear a kilt because there is scottish ancestry on both sides of my family. I am from the Seth McIver Clan on my father’s side and MacDonald clan on my mother’s side. It is the most comfortable garment I have ever put on in my life. It is like walking around everywhere in a bath towel. I get great conversations, it fits my lifestyle, I don’t sweat nearly as much and I am not tearing up my clothing. I wear a leather kilt from Edinboro Scottland. This will last me about five years. So, I can either burn up a whole bunch of pants and levis, and have to do a lot of laundry or just wear my leather kilt.”

Yeary moved to Milford this January. His plan is to have a showroom up in the front of his building. Eventually he wants to have it where school kids could come and watch what he does. His long range goal is to turn his shop into a school where he can take four to five students and teach them the basics. The cost will be $2,000.00 for three weeks of training. But until that can happen he has taken on an apprentice by the name of LeNae Hawk from Midlothian. Yeary explained, “She wants to learn the artwork part and she is going to make tile tables with spoke bases for patios.”

Cliff has had a pretty exciting life. He was born and raised in Fort Stockton, Texas. At one time he worked in the oil fields and operated pumps. He was a scuba diver instructor in Honduras for five years. While there he was scheduled to go to Indonesia and decided to flip a coin and leave it to fate to where he would end up. Yeary said, “I flipped a quarter to find out if I was going to go to Indonesia or come to America and do something. It landed on tails and said USA so I came up here and became a blacksmith. I was going to be happy either way I went so I let fate decide.”

Once in America he went to Turley Forge and Blacksmithing School in New Mexico for three weeks to learn his trade. He was taught tool making. Cliff said, “If I learned how to make one thing then I was limited to that one thing. But he taught us how to think and make tools and from there you can make anything your imagination can come up with.”

He then went to Kaufman, Texas and set up his blacksmithing business and was there for fifteen years. He wanted to purchase land and a building there and was unable to. Yeary explained, “I chose Milford because it is in the center of everything, and this town is perfect. This building was the right kind and the right place. I am 45 minutes from Waco, Fort Worth, Arlington and Dallas. The Renaissance Festival is right down the road in Waxahachie. I will be the demonstrating blacksmith down there next year. Milford is just the right place for me.”

His clientele comes mostly from Highland Park. Cliff said, “I make anything from three dollar hooks to sixty-thousand dollar gates. I make wine holders, wine cellar room doors and panels, fire tool sets, tables, candle holders, paper towel holders, fireplace grates, garden gates, arbors, candle stands, plant stands and plant holders, and cooking utensils. Anything you can think up I can make.”

Cliff Yeary really loves what he does, so much so that he said, “If I had all the money in the world and there was no need for me to work I would still be doing the exact same thing working just as hard because this is just too much fun not to be doing it.”

Cliff Yeary’s website is: