Hi. I was wondering if anybody offers lessons in blacksmithing in or near to my area, or could suggest somebody who does. I live in Glendale, CA. I'm willing to pay good money for an experienced smith to teach me some basics. I'd like to learn how to make things like horse shoes, knives, etc... When I learn enough, my plan is to eventually make my own work shop with a forge in my back yard.
I know about calsmith.org, and I know they provide a contact for classes in the Los Angeles area. I have inquired about that, but there are no classes on offer at the moment, and the only event for blacksmithing in the LA area is a ways off.
If there are any readers near Lancaster County, PA, Rough and Tumble
has beginning and advanced blacksmithing classes, usually around Labor Day weekend. I took the beginning class last year, and now all I can think about is getting an anvil, tools, and setting up my own forge. I'm hooked (though I've got to build up more strength in my hand).
If you are really serious about learning to forge and wanting to make knives, you should travel to Arkansas and attend the American Bladesmith Society's Intro to Bladesmiting course which is put on in conjunction with Texarkana College.
It will cost you about $700 plus travel expenses, but in two weeks you will learn more than you can imagine. As a bonus you'll be taught by some of the finest Master Smiths on earth.
I see John's idea as the "cup of grass;)" after you've been hammering hot steel. You'll get more out of it that way! :)
At least check out all the blacksmithing books the public and college librarys have to offer in your area. That way you won't have to ask any stupid questions in class (yeah I'm one of those that believes there really is such a thing as a stupid question;).
There's a few right here (on a.c.b) that in the last year or so built their own forge and it's still fresh in their minds and have ideas about how to do it better than they did, even. Build the type of forge you want/need while slowly going over the books.
Read, (watch videos?) build a forge and hammer some hot steel before spending big bucks on a demonstration... I swear you'll get more out of the teacher that way. (BTDT with my metallurgy class I just finished taking)
In the spring, got a blacksmithing course lined-up and have several books checked out of the library. The books from the UofA library aren't due until next June 06.
My posts are not the end-all-do-all to any question, if I didn't want my ideas questioned and modified and picked and poked at, I'd respond in email where there would be no one looking over my shoulder! I don't really like talking about stuff like this in email, I want my ideas reveiwed by others and mistakes corrected and modified.
As far as asking stupid questions in my metallurgy class that was a sharp bunch of guys in there I was the only one asking stupid questions... I wanted confirmation on certain things, not full blown explainations of stuff I should've already known at that point tho.
My blacksmithing class is an "art class" so I don't feel the need to be as-prepared for it as I'm suggesting-you-be, for your class. ;)
I have a month to get as much under my belt as I can get before the first class.
We were talking about me taking that class in metallurgy class and one of blacksmith's students I talked to while waiting to meet the teacher the day before the first sign-up day told me that "getting the steel hot opens the pores so the carbon can get in". I repeated it to the metallurgy class and we got a big kick out of that, but it ain't wrong! :) The wording is just funny as anything is all. :)
I would join the CBA and ABANA anyway. There are several good schools for beginners and beyond around the country. Can you travel to one of them? Rob Gunter (southwest) may be holding classes again Frank Turley. The Campbell Folk School in Brasstown NC (southeast) is a great one and has blacksmithing classes running most of the time.
---There are many more. There are several good books that can get you started. Randy McDaniel published one recently. "The New Edge of the Anvil" had been around for years. Our ABANA affiliate, The Guild of Metalsmiths, has been supplying its self-study workbook "The Blacksmiths Study Guide" to its members for many years. Even though the CBA may not be running classes right now, I'll bet that many of the members would be glad to mentor a seroius beginner. You need to contact them and start a dialogue. If you are really interested in geting started and none of this quite hits the target, contact me off-list and we can discuss other options. If you are anxious to get going right now, get some modelling clay and a hammer. Start shaping the modelling clay with light hammer blows to see how it moves. That's how we often start a new project and it doesn't require any heat.