Blacksmithing with Andrew Smith

Blacksmithing and metalworking

Ref: SLW11943

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About this course

Using mild steel become familiar with the basic skills of the blacksmith to develop your designs and make successful objects.

Course Description

This course is intended to introduce you to the basic skills of the blacksmith, the techniques of working hot metal in the forge, and to the implications of these skills for design and form.

You will work on the following: detailed use of the fire, drawing down tapers, upsetting, bending, punching, twisting, welding, and splitting.

By the end of the course, you should have had a good introduction to the techniques of the blacksmith and you should feel more competent with understanding and recognising how these techniques are applied in decorative and sculptural metalwork. You should be able to confidently undertake further explorations of this fascinating and rewarding craft.

If you wish, bring ideas with you in draft form, tuition will be given on a one-to-one basis according to the ideas presented. Ideas may need to be adapted for the time available.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • All fuel costs and mild steel stocked by the College.
  • Students must wear goggles (provided) and suitable protective clothing for this course. Leather aprons, welding gauntlets and goggles can be borrowed from the Forge. Other protective equipment – e.g. welding helmets, ear defenders – are also available in the Forge.

What students need to bring

  • 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.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • General drawing equipment such as sketchbook, pencil, pencil sharpener, rubber.
Please note: This course is held in the Forge which is 10 minutes walk from the main house through the walled garden, or can be accessed by car. 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. Evening working – the Forge is not open in the evening.


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.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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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