The Certificate – Artistic Blacksmithing: Level 1 Program is a 12 month program to teach the fundamentals of Artistic Blacksmithing.
Pre-requisites include an on site informational interview and a previous class from any reputable instructor in beginning blacksmithing working in a coal forge. Paying the first month’s tuition will ensure your registration. If you haven’t received one already, we will send you an enrollment agreement to complete which you will need to send to us or bring the first morning of class.≈
This Institution is approved to offer GI Bill® educational benefits by the Virginia State Approving Agency. GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
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. Most Friday afternoons from 12pm – 6pm are available for lab time and Monday morning after each scheduled core course weekend.
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 1 – 2, 2023
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 7 – 8, 2023
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 blacksmith’s 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 4 – 5, 2023
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 2 – 3, 2023
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 6 – 7, 2024
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. The 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 3 – 4, 2024
Forge welding, tenon joints, and scroll forming skills will be built upon during the introduction of trefoil design. The student will produce a tri-symmetrical full-scale layout and will add scarf forge welding to their repertoire. Projects will include a tabletop trivet with two scarf 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 2 – 3, 2024
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 6 – 7, 2024
Students will now put all their accumulated skill into producing a fireplace 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 consistency of form and appropriate scale.
Lab work required to accomplish fire tools and stand.
BSMTH 109: May 4 – 5, 2024
Continuation of the fireplace set project.
Continue work to accomplish and complete fire tools and stand.
BSMTH 110: June 1 – 2, 2024
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 6 – 7, 2024
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 3 – 4, 2024
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.
For more information or to begin your application for admittance, complete the following form.