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.
I'm no help in regards to classes, but you can rent some video on-line
(at least get you started):
...and here are some links to tutorials and such (mostly knife
If there are any readers near Lancaster County, PA, Rough and Tumble
(http://www.roughandtumble.org /) 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).
You could do worse things than to join ABANA www.abana.org .
There are chapters and affiliated groups all over the place. Good
chance that someone there can put you onto a person or organization that
is running courses or offering tutelage of some sort.
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.
See http://www.pozadzides.com/bladesmithing/ for more info.
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
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
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
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. :)
Alvin in AZ
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
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.
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