At the successful completion of the Certificate – Artistic Blacksmithing: Level 1 program in August 2017, students will receive a certificate from the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing. VIB is certified to operate by the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia.
Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing’s Certification Program is designed to train interested students in the art of architectural and ornamental metalwork at a professional level. Students who complete the one year program will gain the knowledge and skills in blacksmithing so that they are qualified to work for and continue their training with a professional blacksmith.
For a student who likes to work with their hands and be creative; learning a trade in the art of traditional blacksmithing might be the perfect journey to take.
Students who possess mechanical aptitude and visualization skills (the ability to look at a 2 dimensional drawing then see it in 3 dimension) are best suited for the Certification Program.
The course is divided into 12 workshops starting with an introduction to blacksmithing safety, techniques and shop etiquette to conceiving, drawing and producing a project of the students own conception. Topics including Introduction to business management and accounting, zoning and building codes and other helpful topics are also covered in the program. Online micro business management courses may be recommended by the instructor.
The Certificate Program is taught by Dale Morse. Dale has over 40 years of experience in traditional blacksmithing, is the co-founder of the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing and proprietor of Clay Hill Forge, an artisan blacksmithing company specializing in architectural and ornamental ironwork.
The program is held at The Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing in Waynesboro, Virginia and is limited to 10 students for each program.
Important: Tuition for September 2016 Blacksmithing Certification Program is $499 per month and can be paid on a month-to-month basis. Payment must be received before each month of classes begins and can be made by using the PayPal button and drop down menu below. Certification program must be taken from start to finish in order to obtain the Certification. No additional students will be taken after program starts.
Syllabus and class schedule:
Students are required to put in at least twelve hours of lab time on premises in the month following their workshop.
Every Friday afternoon is available to the students from Noon to 6pm to allow time to finish the lab hours. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the Friday afternoon time slots as there is no additional charge for putting in extra hours on practicing and perfecting their skills. If necessary, arrange your schedule with the instructor to achieve this lab requirement.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of the Friday afternoon time slots as there is no additional charge for putting in extra hours on practicing and perfecting their skills. If necessary, arrange your schedule with the instructor to achieve this lab requirement.
BSMTH 101: September 3-4, 2016
Introduction to blacksmithing safety and techniques. Students will learn safety and shop etiquette. Basic skills will be explored which will include fire management, hammer techniques, hand and power tool use. Projects will include a three hook wall rack and a matching pair of candle sticks. Specific techniques include square and round points, twists, tenons , controlled texturing, and use of a torch. Students will produce at least 100 hooks of a specific design during the course and will be graded on time and accuracy.
Twelve hours of lab work will be required of the student to perfect skills learned in the introductory class. Students will need to demonstrate an ability to comfortably reproduce multiple hooks that match, tenons of consistent size, twists of consistent form, and strong attractive basic joinery.
BSMTH 102: October 8-9, 2016
Forge Building, Welding and Fabrication: Modern fabrication techniques will be added to the student’s skills. Introduction to mig welding, oxy-acetylene torch work, and plasma cutting will be the focus of this class. Projects will include a blacksmiths coal forge.
Twelve hours of lab work will be required of the student to perfect fabrication skills. Students will need to be able to demonstrate an ability to accurately cut forms with modern tools, weld them together neatly and strongly, and finish them for strength and aesthetics.
BSMTH 103: November 5-6, 2016
Basic skills learned in the introductory class will be built on with the addition of basic bending and beveling techniques and layout. Introduction to bending forks and dogs as well as fullers and swages will be the focus of this class. Projects will include a wall mounted pot rack.
Twelve hours of lab work will be required of the student to perfect bending and reduction skills. Students will need to demonstrate an ability to bend consistently and accurately to a scale drawing.
BSMTH 104: December 3-4, 2016
Tool making techniques will be taught to the students with an introduction to power hammering. Students will learn about the differences in carbon and alloy steels appropriate for tools in the forge. Students will learn the safety protocols and benefits to power hammers. The manipulation of hardness in steel will be a focus of this class. Projects will include top tools and tongs.
Twelve hours of lab work will be required of the student to perfect hardening and tempering skills. The student will need to demonstrate an ability to consistently produce power hammered forms and tools of consistent and appropriate hardness.
BSMTH 105: January 7-8, 2017
Intermediate skills will be introduced to the student in the form of scroll-foliate design. The student will produce a full scale layout and accurately formed scrolls with organic leaf motif. New skill introduction will be basic forge welding. Projects will include a “sketch in iron” reminiscent of a study in architectural ornamental form.
Twelve hours of lab work will be required of the student to perfect foliate and scroll forms. Students will need to demonstrate an ability to make consistent leaf and scroll forms, and seamless forge welds.
BSMTH 106: February 4-5, 2017
Forge welding, Tenon joints, and scroll forming skills will be built upon with the introduction of trefoil design. The student will produce a tri-symmetrical full scale layout and will add jump forge welding to their repertoire. Projects will include a table top trivet with two jump welds, three lap welds, and six tenons in a specific geometric form.
Twelve hours of lab work will be required of the student to perfect the formation of ring and trefoil forms. Student will need to demonstrate an ability to produce consistent and symmetrical geometric forms to a given layout, consistent forge welds, and consistent tenons.
BSMTH 107: March 4-5, 2017
Sheet metal repousse will be added to the students skills as well as beginning chasing techniques. Students will be introduced to the traditional as well as modern sheet metal cutting methods. Projects will include multi-piece roses with chased leaves and forge welded stems.
Twelve hours of lab work will be required of the student to perfect sheet metal skills and basic hot chasing work. Students will need to be able to demonstrate an ability to produce consistent floral forms with leaves with clean chased veining.
BSMTH 108: April 1-2, 2017
Students will now put all their accumulated skill into producing a fire place set project. A common forge welded form will be taught and students will reproduce this form during the weekend class and subsequent labs to make a five piece (poker, shovel, brush, tong, and stand) fire set. Emphasis will be put on consistent form and appropriate scale.
Lab work required to accomplish fire tools and stand.
BSMTH 109: May 6-7, 2017
Continuation of the fireplace set project.
Continue work to accomplish and complete fire tools and stand.
BSMTH 110: June 3-4, 2017
Common forms of blacksmithing business will be the focus of this class. Introduction to business management, pricing, accounting, taxes, zoning ordinance, building code, and other common issues will be discussed. In addition, scale drawing and sketching will be covered.
Twelve hours of lab work will be required of the student to perfect sketch skills and make test pieces. Students will need to be able to demonstrate an ability to draw a form on paper to scale, transfer that to full scale on a layout table, and forge and fabricate the form accurately.
BSMTH 111: July 1-2, 2017
For the final section, students will conceive, draw, transfer to full scale, and produce a project of their own conception. Emphasis will be put on using as many forms and techniques as possible that were learned over the previous sections. The work will need to be produced in a neat, aesthetically consistent and pleasing manner.
Labs will be devoted to the completion of this work.
BSMTH 112: August 5-6, 2017
This month will be dedicated to completing the individual projects as well as basic and intermediate skills testing one on one with the instructor.
The final lab will be used to critique the final projects as a group.