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Background to the courses

The experience of working like a blacksmith

This image is one showing the magic of a traditional coal fire, used to heat steel in the professional set-up at Red Anvil Forge, where Red Anvil School of Blacksmithing is hosted.  

Coal fired forges and gas fired furnaces are used to heat the steel to yellow/orange colour.  Once the metal has reached the required state of heat, it enables the ‘smith to hammer the relatively soft metal into shape.  

The hot metal is hammered on an anvil, a heavy piece of equipment with various round and flat faces to help shape the metal.

Hand hammers of different weights and shapes, are used to great effect to turn the hot metal into a huge variety of items of metalwork.

Some of the shaped pieces of metal may be representative of traditional ways of working, other shapes may be pure invention on the spur of the moment.

At Red Anvil School of Blacksmithing, mistakes are rare, but opportunities are plentiful.

One- and two- day courses

What to Expect!

All courses start at 9.00 am with coffee/tea and biscuits.  

Richard will outline the format for the day, talking through health and safety, followed by an introduction to the facilities.  As a blacksmith for a day, participants will experience working in a modern blacksmithing workshop, Richard will quickly put participants at their ease with his personal history, from his early days as a beginner, with all the hardships of learning the craft, to the present day.

On your walk through the workshop, the large machines and equipment will be introduced and their operation demonstrated.

Upon arriving in the forgework area, Richard will give a short demonstration by making a fairly simple Item for you to copy, fully explaining the function of the variety of tools, as well as techniques used in the making of the item.

You are soon underway, working within a small group of five people, but with individual tuition throughout the day.  Richard will be on hand, at your side to give tips and encouragement, just when they are needed, you will not be left to struggle with any of the processes.  Yes, it will be struggle, at first, but through the day the skills will become easier.

You will work at your own pace, using traditional blacksmithing tools such as hammers and tongs, heating the metal in a coal fire or gas furnace to orange colour, then hammering the hot, relatively soft metal, into various shapes, forms and sizes, working with the various hand hammers on an anvil.

As Richard will tell you, you are in his working environment, to ‘be him’ for a day, or two. You will have the opportunity to work on the powerful blacksmithing machines, for which you will have full instruction. 

The two-day course runs to a similar plan but offers more time for designing and making, using more advanced techniques.