From horseshoeing to molding metal art, a Lakeland blacksmith has led an interesting career

Over in Lakeland, there is a blacksmith that knows all about the art of metal works.

Roy Nager has been working for 62 years as a blacksmith. His career is a fascinating one. First, he was making horseshoes and shoeing horses for 26 years. 

The Kentucky Derby is even on his resume.

"I did a horse in 1985 that won the Derby," he told FOX 13.

But then when he 42 years old, he decided he needed a career change.

"It was either that or have more bones broken," Nager said, adding that it was dangerous job to shoe a horse.

He decided to return to school, and studied advanced blacksmithing, architecture and design. 

"I've been drawing all my life, as you can see," Nager explained. "For all of my clients, I do three to five drawings."

He's been told his drawings are beautiful works of art themselves. He has about 500 of them.

Nager uses those drawings as a blueprint for what he will create with metal. He makes practical pieces, like gates and rails, but his heart is in the art.

"I prefer doing artwork and sculptures," he said.

He's in the process of creating an elaborate gate for one of his clients. Nager started it in July 2019.

On Saturdays, Nager teaches his skills to others. When it starts to cool down in Florida, he said he'll offer classes all day long.

If you want to try the craft or check out his works, click over to Nager's website.