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Blacksmith shop changes, but preserves history within its walls
Independant Enterprise - Wednesday, December 26, 2001, Payette, ID

By Darlene Allison

A Living Piece Of History

This classy looking, three seated black and red spring wagon, complete with horse and driver, can be rented for special occations from Jerry Jones of New Plymouth. Jones is shown holding a silver mounted horse collar with its bright red sholder pad made to match the red on the spring wagon.

Photo by Darlene Allison

Some blacksmith shops closed when "horse power" was replaced by the automobile and motor driven farm equipment. To survive as each new phase of industrial America emerged, the blacksmithing industry had to change.

Tuttle Blacksmith Shop of New Plymouth did change with the times, but held on to the equipment, tools and techniques used through the years. Founded by Ray Tuttle in 1926, the business is alive and well and under the new ownership and management of Jerry Jones.

For Jones, the business was purchased for the purpose of building and selling concrete horse stalls, which he does. The concrete horse stalls are exactly that, horse stalls made of concrete with rebar reinforcement and jail bar fronts.

"We also have the engineering for Mane Stay horse barns," Jones said. "They are made totally from concrete and steel and can be made as a row of stalls with a sloped roof or two rows of stalls with a pitched roof in the configuration of a barn with a walkway between the rows and doors."

In addition to general farm repair, welding, lathe work, milling and blacksmith, Jones also has several "side businesses" he pursues.

The newest addition to the Jones' firm is the "Tuttle Bin Handler." Model 4546, designed to automatically handle onion bins, is set up at the Tuttle Blacksmith Shop and available for demonstrations.

"The bin handler eliminates the expense of forklift and operator time," Jones said.

Anyone wanting to see a demonstration of the bin handler can contact Jones at (208) 278-5846 or (208) 371-9315.

Another specialty Jones produces is wrought iron benches.

"We make several different styles and can customize them with pictures or personalize them with names, or both. Whatever the customer wants," Jones said. The benches can also be powder coated almost any color the customer requests, which makes the bench weatherproof and rust resistant, he said.

Jones makes bar stools with farm equipment seats. He also builds custom wrought iron items, including fences, gates, and stairs. His newest artistic endeavor is wrought iron decorations for lawns and gardens. All items are powder coated.

He said he recently had a customer ask him to build a decoration to be placed at her husband's grave site.

"The man loved to fish," Jones explained. "The decoration is of a man catching a huge bass. She also asked me to make a larger one for display in her yard."

Jones said he can custom make anything, if the customer brings in a picture or just tells him what they want.

"You dream it, we can make it," he said.

Another of Jones' businesses is Oregon Trail Wagon Works, also located at Tuttle Blacksmith Shop, where he rebuilds and restores all types of horse drawn vehicles.

"We also have a three-seated, spring wagon, complete with horse and driver, that can be rented for special occasions," Jones said.

Add to that service his rotiserie, capable of cooking 100 pounds of prime rib at a time, and that he also plays in two local bands, makes him capable of handling a dinner and a dance party of any size.

"I know we can feed at least 500 people at a time," Jones said. "Because that's how many we fed for an LDS church gathering last summer."

One of the bands he is in is named Highway 21 and plays new country and some rock and roll, Jones said.

The Country Classics band plays older country music, he added.

"The public is welcome to stop in at the shop and see history," Jones said. "It doesn't cost anything."

Time has changed the necessity for some of Tuttle Blacksmith Shop services, but it has not changed the fact that even those services are still available at the shop.

Tuttle Blacksmith Shop is located at 116 W. Maple in New Plymouth.

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