Above: The first home workshop of Coal Iron Works, Nate Brandt & Andy Davis.
Below: Examples of early Coal Iron Works work.
Nathan Brandt & Andrew Davis had an idea. To build a c-frame press that would fit better within their residential shop. From the scraps of an old press that Andrew built and pulling rusted I-beam from the local scrapyard, they welded their first frame with a "vintage" stick welder and a lot of ingenuity. Trial and error slowly assembled a functional press that operated on standard household power; thus the first 16 ton was born.
Quadstate 2015 was the year they debuted their creations in front of the blacksmithing community. The response was good, but those with history in the industrial trades had a lot to say about that original design. Taking what they had learned, the two experimented endlessly with different styles of machines until finally they landed upon the single piece frame, and from there the quick-change die system came to be. They continued to refine though, recognizing that through continued innovation and by always talking with their customers about how they used the machines and what could be better - the latest iteration of their forging presses was brought to market.
Below: Andy busy at the milling machine, and Nate welding a massive custom-made press.
As the company expanded, Nathan and Andrew began teaching the next generation of makers all they’d learned while building machines. Growing the local job market and exposing many to the incredible value of working with your hands and taking pride in what you do.
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Coal Iron Works, passed courageously at home on December 11, 2021 after a 3-year battle with brain cancer. Nathan Brandt and the team at Coal continue to carry on in what he set in motion years ago.
Coal Iron Works constantly innovating and improving at a rapid pace in the past few years: