Mount Vernon's reconstructed Blacksmith Shop opened April 1, 2009 after years of research and archaeology. The reconstruction is located on the site of George Washington's original shop, just 200 feet from the Mansion. The blacksmith was critical to the operation of a large plantation. Some of the projects were relatively mundane – making nails and hooks, mending well-worn pots and pans, and crafting shoes for Washington's horses. But the blacksmith was also challenged by Washington to create a plow of his own design, and to make intricate parts for pistols and rifles. If there was any time to spare, the blacksmith undertook small jobs from Washington's neighbors to increase the cash flow.
In 1770, George Washington hired a Dutch immigrant, Domenicus Gubner, as blacksmith. Part of his duties were to train enslaved workers in the art of blacksmithing. After Gubner left Mount Vernon in 1773, two of his enslaved apprentices, Nat and George, worked as Washington's blacksmiths for the remainder of Washington’s life. Washington's account books refer to blacksmith activities on hundreds of occasions, and it is clear that the operation was one of the busiest on the estate.