The blacksmith's craft with Andrew Smith

Blacksmithing and metalworking

Ref: S1D11904

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About this course

Experience the rhythm of working hot steel using fire, hammering and shaping at the anvil to make a small piece of work.

Course Description

This course is intended to introduce you to the craft of blacksmithing through a small personal composition in iron. You will gain experience of the rhythm of working hot steel at the anvil, using the blacksmith's hearth. Among the techniques used will be: use of the fire, use of various tools, hammer work, drawing down tapers, bending, shaping upsetting and twisting.

It is not necessary to have any prior experience of this craft, as demonstration and practical guidance form the basis of the course.

As the day progresses you will develop and combine your taught techniques into an appropriately scaled piece of work as demonstrated by the tutor. This piece, in forged iron, will be a testament both to the creative potential within the medium as well as techniques covered during the day. You should be able to view metalwork with a new and invigorated eye and you should have had an exciting glimpse in to the world of steel working.

This course is unusual, it is rewarding and it is fun.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply all materials:
  • Steel, fuel, hand tools (files, rasps, etc.)
  • You must wear goggles (provided) and suitable protective clothing for this course. Leather aprons, work gloves, welding gauntlets and goggles can be borrowed from the College Forge. Other protective equipment – e.g. welding helmets and ear defenders are also available in the Forge. You may wish to bring any of the above, if you have them. If for example you have particularly large or small hands, your own leather work gloves are likely to be a better fit. All fuel costs and mild steel stocked by the College.

What students need to bring

  • Items of drawing equipment if you wish.
  • Working clothes
  • Steel toe capped boots
  • Plenty of water
  • You will need to wear clothing suitable for workshop use, together with steel toe capped boots. Please note that cotton or wool clothing is preferable to nylon or other synthetics. A pair of cotton jeans is far more protective than a pair of nylon trousers. Shorts do not provide necessary protection.
  • For your safety it is mandatory to wear steel toe capped safety boots when undertaking a course in the Forge. You must provide your own footwear and bring them with you to wear on the course. If you fail to bring suitable footwear, you will not be able to take part in the course. Safety boots can be purchased from most tool hire shops and builders’ merchants as well as online.
  • Protective Clothing Supplied:
  • Leather aprons, work gloves, safety spectacles and ear defenders are provided in the Forge, and suitable protective clothing must be worn.
  • You may wish to bring any of the above, if you have them. If for example you have particularly large or small hands, your own work gloves are likely to be a better fit.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • General drawing equipment such as sketchbook, pencil, pencil sharpener, rubber.
Please note: This course will be in the Forge which is a 10 minute walk from the main house through the walled garden, or can be accessed by car. You should arrive by 8.50am for registration at the Main House, to ensure you can walk/be directed over to the forge at 9.05am for a 9.15am start. Classes are from 9.15am – 5pm As this course is held in the Forge, morning coffee and afternoon tea will be available in the nearby Carrington Studio. You will return to the main house for lunch. Please note that tutor supervision is always required when you are working in the Forge. The tutor’s instruction on health and safety will include access to and use of the power hammer.


Andrew Smith

Andew, an experienced artist, craftsman and tutor, trained at the Royal College of Art. He has a large portfolio of architectural and public art commissions, from sculpture to functional metalwork. Andrew has substantial teaching experience at University level and has been teaching metalwork at West Dean College since 1987.

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in metalwork?

Our Foundation Degree in Metalwork will enhance your employment prospects, give you the skills to set up as a self-employed craftsperson or allow you to continue to higher education. Encompassing both silversmithing and blacksmithing, you will learn practical skills, material properties, placing your work in a broader context and historic metalworking techniques. Find out more

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