Here are some questions and answers that you may have about my Blacksmith Experience Days
Please contact me with any other questions.
Men and women?
I’ve now had my first woman on a Blacksmith Experience Day, she came along with her dad – both made a small cheese knife. I have so far found that it is often men who come on the course, with their wives, girlfriends or daughters having booked it for them as a gift. As a teacher I would be happy to teach anyone at the level they feel comfortable with.
Is the course set up for only forging a knife?
No. When I wrote the aims of the course I had already made many cheese knives and know them to be popular, they are relatively complex in process and give a good opportunity to explore different areas within blacksmithing.
If there was a similar project, such as a fire poker, bottle opener, toasting fork or coat hook for example, that could be a project we could tackle in an experience day instead. Feel free to mention when booking if you would maybe prefer something else as I will be able to tell you if I think that it would be possible and gives me a chance to pre-plan.
Whats the fuel?
The forge I teach on is a coal fire. Using an electricity-free mechanism that pumps air into the core of the fire by a handle. This creates a very interactive style of working where there is always something to be involved with.
Can we re-arrange if it’s rainy?
The dates and times for the experience days are requested by the booker and are therefore fairly flexible. If it becomes apparent that you will need to re-schedule that wouldn’t be a problem (preferable if I could be told as soon as you know/ realise). I will keep in contact with you in the days leading up to your experience day.
Is it like Forged in Fire?
As little as I have seen of forged in fire I can say it is and is not like Forged in Fire. For one thing it is not a competition, the aim is learning, excitement and a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the the day. On the other hand we will be forging and making in exactly the same way as in hot metal and hammers.
Do you need to be super strong?
I would say not. There are many elements in blacksmithing where strength is needed, with this in mind I have made tools and devised methods so that we can obtain results without having to work too hard, sometimes people might realise they need less strength for what they are making.
Do I need some hammer skills?
As the day is hands on, hand eye co-ordination is a great help. If you have never used a hammer before that will mean I can teach you from the beginning and by the end of the day you will be wishing you had used one more often in your life.
The tooling, as mentioned before is chosen to make the work more efficient even if you haven’t used anything similar before.
What safety precautions have you got in place / should I know about.
The areas of the human body most at risk from blacksmithing are your eyes, hands and feet. I would recommend steel toe capped boots to be worn by anyone attending the day, this is more as a precaution as opposed to a strict necessity.
There are safety glasses here (or if you have some of your own feel free to bring them as some of ours have minor scratches due to age).
Gloves can be provided, I feel they are unnecessary while hammering and generally end up hampering the wearer. some people feel safer with them than without.
The greatest safety precaution is to be vigilant, wear your glasses and don’t pick up metal that has been worked that day unless your told it’s safe (metal around 400 degrees with show little signs of how hot it is as it only starts to glow red around 500-600 and on a sunny day it will glow even less).