• Blade smithing at our forge
  • Calnan & Anhoj blade smithing full tang 2
  • Calnan & Anhoj blade smithing full tang 3
  • Calnan & Anhoj blade smithing full tang 4
  • Calnan & Anhoj blade smithing full tang 5

Blade Smithing Course

(41 customer reviews)


Blade-smithing for beginners: If you would like to make a good knife blade of your own design and spend a morning hot-forging steel this is the course for you. A practical course where the forging and finishing of a full-tang blade in one-layer carbon steel is the focus. Participants will forge, hand polish, heat-treat and sharpen.
Doesn’t include: forging of other types of blades, handle making, theory of metallurgy or heat-treatments.
Time: Saturdays 9am-5pm (please see full description further down the page)
Please note: Some course instructions will be provided via video prior to the course. 
Availability: We are now fully booked until end May 2023, so sorry! Further dates will be available to book on the 2nd April 2023. You can join the cancellations list by emailing gunvor@calnan-anhoj.ie (this will also keep you up to date in the event of further dates getting added)
Buy a finished knife: For an alternative gift idea you can buy a handmade iron age knife here (forged by our son Ellis! 🙂)

SKU: N/A Category:


A blade smithing day

Before the course you will receive a guide to general blade designs & uses and a ‘design sheet’ which will help you in the designing of your full-tang blade. You can also just bring along an image on your phone and sketch it out on the day. I’m not looking for anything too accurate, just a general idea of proportions and profile. You will also receive a video link. The first video is an introduction into the use of the anvil and hearth; how to achieve the correct heat in the right place; minimum and maximum heat ranges and their corresponding colors as well as health & safety. The second video shows the various steps in forging and covers tips on hammer and anvil use specific to blade smithing.

9am – 1pm. Once you have picked an anvil and sketched out your design, you will spend the morning forging. Since 2010 we have had around 3000 participants through the forge and one of the things that people often mention, is their surprise of how much freedom they are given in the forging of their blade. We aim to finish the forging process by 1pm where you leave us to grind and sand your blade while you take a break.
1-2.30pm: Lunch break during which you are required to watch another video which covers the finishing process as well as information on the heat treatments. The Russborough Cafe is open March- December and there’s take-away tea & coffee by the hippodrome. You are also welcome to bring your own lunch.
2.30-5pm. Hand polishing, hardening and sharpening of the blade.


Please go to our bladesmithing ‘Q & A


If you are thinking of going into blade-smithing on a professional level and for a more in depth program of the theory of heat treatments – UK blade-smith Owen Bush’s courses come highly recommended: www.owenbush.co.uk

41 reviews for Blade Smithing Course

  1. Gunvor

    Fabulous feedback Dylan, thank you so much! 😁

  2. Dylan Callanan

    The most enjoyable workshop I’ve ever done. Gunvor was very patient, lighthearted and keen to gently guide us through making a unique piece. A perfect balance of freedom and help when required. Would Definitely do it again, thanks Gunvor!

  3. Gunvor

    Awh thank you Madeline I’m blushing ☺️

  4. Madeleine davis


  5. Gunvor

    Thank you Hugh!

  6. Hugh

    We had a great day at the forge and would definitely do it again. Gunvor was a brilliant teacher – the balance between showing us how to make the best of it, and giving free reign to do it ourselves was perfect. Learning about all the different parts of the process was aso very interesting and Gunvor’s patience and knowledge really showed. Would highly recommend to anyone who is interested.

  7. Gunvor

    Thanks Claire & Brian! Very happy you enjoyed it! :)

  8. Claire and brian (verified owner)



  9. Gunvor

    Thank you Shane, it’s a rewarding bug at least 😂

  10. Shane Kelly (verified owner)

    Fantastic day, highly RECOMMENDED to anyone. I have Been interested is trying out bladesmithing for some time and this course was an excellent start. Gunvor really helped us understand what we needed to do but then gave us the space to experiment and learn. She is an excellent coach and was always happy to take any questions we had. Michael was also fantastic.
    This all led to a brilliant experience, excellent fun with lots of learning.
    I have got the bug now 😬

  11. Gunvor

    Thank you Emmanuel and you’re welcome back anytime!

  12. Gunvor

    You are very welcome Nic! And thank you for the fantastic feedback 😁

  13. Emmanuel Asquier-Brassart

    A fascinating process taught by an excellent and patient teacher in a beautiful location. I am Looking forward to doing the course again.

  14. Nic (verified owner)

    Brilliant day. Gunvor was a fantastic teacher, she gave plenty of space for me to discover the material but also intervened at the right moments. The science behind metal work and learning how it behaves at different temperatures was super interesting. I was very happy with my finished knife, even as an absolute beginner I was able to walk away with a piece that is AESTHETICALLY pleasing. Thanks Gunvor!

  15. Gunvor

    Thank you kindly Patrick! 🙂

  16. Patrick Fleming

    Thank you so much for a fabulous day. Myself and my boys have been looking forward to this for months, was an Xmas present and it didn’t disappoint. Will definitely go again.

  17. Gunvor

    Wow thank you Jim! You are very kind and we’re delighted your enjoyed yourself!

  18. jim hoey

    if your reading these reviews and interested in doing the course , stop reading and go book the next available one ,as words here will never describe what you will experience and learn about an ancient craft that is fully hands on from start to finish and maybe even find a hidden craft within yourself . The heat of the fire to hammering a piece of red hot iron into your very own blade design and creation , the ringing of a shed full of anvils , while relaxed in a homely location with like minded people , guided by the patient skilled blacksmith gunvor . a bit of fun and craic as well . a very fulfilling day i have thank my two daughters for this massively great gift. Great gratitude and thanks to gunvor and michael for what they do as crafts people and putting on this course , some mind blowing examples of their work on show in their gallery beside the forge. a real pleasure to have spend the day with you.

  19. Gunvor

    Thank you Felipe, really appreciate that 😁

  20. Felipe

    Was gifted to me from my wife for my birthday, I had a great time. Very unique place and lovely people, Gunvor was great. I love the knife I made, really fun experience and an end product that you can keep for life. Well worth it.

  21. Gunvor

    That’s awesome Declan, you’re very kind!

  22. Declan Browne

    My second visit to the forge didn’t disappoint. A visit to Russburough house itself is a good enough reason to get up the mountains and inhale some fresh air, but ignoring the beautiful setting, there is something wonderfully grounding about taking a lump of metal and making it into a useful tool. It’s always a joy learning age old skills from truly gifted artisans. Gunvor and Michael are such people. Gunvor is wonderfully patient and helpful. Within minutes of arriving, you’re surrounded on one side by a roaring furnace, and an anvil on the other – after a quick chat, you find yourself grasping tongs and your mundane looking piece of metal is heating up in readiness to be pounded into something beautiful (and it will be beautiful!) … with hammers and strange tools, that could only belong in a forge. If you are reading these reviews, you need to do this course!

  23. Gunvor

    Thank you kindly Darragh! And best of luck with your forging venture 🙂

  24. Darragh Cromwell

    I attended the knife making course yesterday 5th March. It was an excellent day. Very hands on. So much learnt. The knowledge Gunvor and Michael have is brilliant. They answer any questions no problem. I Brought home a lovely piece. Thanks for a great day.

  25. Gunvor

    Aw thanks Jeroen 😁😁

  26. Jeroen Wezelman

    The blade course starts at home with two instructional youtube videos that take you throught the whole blade making process, so you’ll have an idea what to do and what the course entails.. You also receive an info leaflet with 3 types of blade, so you can choose beforehand what blade you’re going to make.
    Once you arrive in The Forge in the beautiful grounds of Russborough House, your forge is hot and your anvil are waiting for you. After a short introduction you can immediately jump into action.
    This was my second course with Gunvor, and as always she is patiently helping everyone with the process, so everyone gets a great result. I thouroughly enjoyed myself, and the blade making is great fun, and very rewarding. I recommend this course to everyone!

  27. Gunvor

    Amazing feedback Dave, thank you so much for that!!

  28. Dave Gargan

    What an amazing experience. First off Gunvor was so accommodating as we had to move the date several times due to COVID. Thank you again! Gunvor extended the warmest welcome From the moment we stepped out of the drizzly cold into the cosy warm forge. The whole day was completely hands on. gunvor had prepped us with introductory material beforehand. Then the exploration began with the lightest of guiding touches – this is how great tuition works and i learned and experienced so much in such a short space of time. The pace of the day is relaxed with plenty of time to chat with others over the forges as the metal heats. I came away with a much better appreciation for the effort and skill required to work iron, a pile of new stories and a blade both beautiful and blemished that details the journey that i feel I made myself. Can’t recommend highly enough. Thank you for an amazing experience Gunvor.

  29. Shane

    WE had an excellent day at the forge and came away with a beautiful piece and a greater APPRECIATION for the skill involved in working in this medium . Gunvor is a patient teacher and was great at guiding us through the process, from the shaping on the forge, to finishing and sharpening the blades . highly recommend the course.

  30. Gunvor

    Thanks a lot Conor 😁

  31. Conor

    I have wanted to make my own knife for ages and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. It was an amazing Experience. Gunvor made the whole day interesting and her endless patience was greatly appreciated. I hope to attend again sometime 😁👍🏻

  32. Gunvor

    Thank you kindly Jeff!

  33. Jeff

    Excellent day of making. Lots of fun! Thanks again! I will recommend it to everyone while showing off my new knife :-)

  34. Gunvor

    Thanks very much Andrew, really appreciate it! :)

  35. Andrew (verified owner)

    Thanks so much Gunvor. I highly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in metalwork. The videos explain everything well and on the day you have lots of freedom to work while Gunvor is full of sage advice. Thanks again for a fantastic day.

  36. Gunvor

    Hey Amanda, thats lovely, yes its so nice to make things! :)

  37. Amanda (verified owner)

    Thanks Gunvor for the wonderful day! My knife didn’t exactly follow the plan, but I’m delighted with what I finished up with. I keep looking at it, and am slightly surprised each time that I actually made it. The angle grinder solves all problems :) Thanks again!

  38. Gunvor

    Thank you kindly Bill :) I am very grateful to the people who taught me in the past, so I guess I try and provide that space where you can just get on with it on your own terms and explore the material and the process. At the same time – because time is limited – I try and perfect the tips and tricks, so people can get that blade forged nicely! You are more than welcome back anytime!

  39. Gunvor

    Ah thank you Jola, I’m afraid I can’t agree that you have no talent in the matter – you made the nicest little fish-shaped knife for crying out loud! ?

  40. Bill Shanahan

    I attended Gunvor’s bladesmithing workshop on 18 september 2021. Thank you Gunvor for such a great day at the forge, and helping me to complete my long-term wish to build my own knife. It was an amazing experience and Gunvor is a great teacher and gave great instruction and guidance freely and multiple times throughout the day. Any small mishaps and she was there to give advice on how to correct it. The time in the forge went by so fast, who would have thought that time would fly so fast while standing by a fire and hitting a piece of hot steel – by lunch time we had a knife in our hand. Likewise after lunch nobody was rushed and we were all able to finish our blades to our liking, despite running over time we were never made to feel that it was time to go. I would highly recommend this course to anybody and will be looking through my own calendar to book myself in again… When you are hooked you’re hooked! Thank you again, Gunvor.

  41. Jola

    What a fantastic day!!! I have no interest in blades but I’ve always wanted to experience hot-forging steel. I loved it. Gunvor is amazing. Very experienced, talented, calm, patient and gave very clear instructions. Turns out I have no talent in that matter but I totally enjoyed it and would Definitely come back to do it again ?

  42. admin

    Thank you very much Tom! :)

  43. Tom O Malley

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful experience. My day of forging was brilliant fun. Every thing was explained clearly and all my tools were set up nicely beside the coal fire. Gunvor is a fantastic teacher. I learned so much. Beautiful setting to build a knife too.

  44. admin

    Thank you kindly Conor, really appreciate that!

  45. Conor Skerritt

    Absolutely wonderful experience in a gorgeous setting. we had a fabulous day at the forge, and got lots of individual attention and theoretical knowledge as well as hands on experience. I would thoroughly recommend! Thanks Gunvor!

  46. admin

    So happy you had a good day Michel! :)

  47. Michel Paschalis (verified owner)

    It was one of the most enjoyable activities I have done in my life. I had a great day and was very happy at the end. So glad I could have this experience, thank you very much!!

  48. admin

    That’s awesome Barry, thank you! :)

  49. Barry O’Neill

    Thoroughly enjoyable knife making course. Really Informative and fully IMMERSIVE. Having been the last member of my family to complete a course I’m upset I didn’t do it sooner ! I will definitely be considering which course to do next !! Thanks Gunvor For the experience !

  50. admin

    Thank you so much Stewart, really appreciate that.

  51. Stewart Kenny (verified owner)

    Absolutely love these courses and have done them multiple times – I would not consider myself a very crafty or practical person at all – but under Gunvor’s expert eye and guidance I have produced fantastic and beautiful WORK, that I never thought possible – the workshops are run in a fun and friendly environment and Gunvor has a fabulous teaching style and is so personable and approachable that she is able to break down complex ideas and tasks to simple actions that are easy to achieve and Understand. I would very highly recommend these workshops to anyone no matter what their level or ability.

  52. admin

    Thanks very much Sarah-Jayne, it was nice to meet you all :)

  53. SJ

    This was a really enjoyable day. I did it with a group of friends and we all had a great experience. Gunvor was a patient teacher and gave us as much help and assistance as we needed while allowing us to work on our own blades. I would highly recommend this.

  54. Niamh Spain (verified owner)

    We had a really enjoyable day with Gunvor in the forge making some iron age knives. The course is a great introduction to blacksmithing and working steel, would recommend to anyone interested in metalwork

  55. admin

    Thank you very much Sean!

  56. Sean Forsyth (verified owner)

    Loved it! Was a great course, and had a lot of fun doing it. Really loved the knife I made and would recommend this to anyone interested in forging or blade making.

  57. Vincent graham

    Fantastic Day. Really Enjoyable. Thanks to Anhoj

  58. admin

    Thanks very much Ronan, much appreciated, it was nice to meet you all :)

  59. Ronan McGuirk

    What an amazing way to spend a day. My friends and i did the blade smithing course and enjoyed it so much we are already planning our next visit. Gunvor was a great teacher, so skilled and patient as she guided us through the process while giving us total freedom to design and make our own BLADES as we wanted. I cannot recommend it enough, it is such a unique, interesting and hands on experience. Thanks for a great day gunvor.

  60. Claire Cullivan (verified owner)

    Hi Gunvor. Eoin & Ryan are still buzzing from their bladesmithing experience last Saturday. Thank you for taking them on your course. It was everything & more that they hoped it would be. You have certainly added fuel to the fire in their bellies for forging. We hope to see you again in the not too distant future.
    P.S. they apologise again for getting lost in the maze & being late back to class!!

  61. admin

    That’s brilliant, they were great thank you! And they’re not the first to loose their way in that maze – it’s a tricky one :)

  62. admin

    Thanks very much Kevin, much appreciated!

  63. Kevin Westnott (verified owner)

    Really interesting course, I can’t recommend it enough, it’s a really enjoyable day

  64. admin

    Than you kindly Mark! ? Sounds like you’ve been hooked on blacksmithing!

  65. Mark Bolster (verified owner)

    The blade smithing was an amazing experience I can not recommended it enough. Gunvor is an excellent teacher. Explained everything in great detail and then let’s you have at it. It really is cool to see the lump of steel you start with turn into an awesome blade by the end. I enjoyed it so much I have signed up again. Hammering away on that glowing steel is addictive.

  66. admin

    Thank you kindly Denis!

  67. D Larkin

    Fantastic experience fantastic host

  68. admin

    Cheers Scott, keep up the good work! :)

  69. Scott macbride (verified owner)

    I know this is my second review so I’ll keep it short. I just took the blade-smithing course for the second time and I must say it was as awesome as it was the first time – it was actually even better!

    Thanks Gunvor for another great day.

  70. admin

    Thanks very much John!

  71. admin

    Thank you Gavin! Welcome back any time! :)

  72. Gavin Dooley

    Amazing day out! I was surprised with how much freedom we were given. The time taken to explain things and get on with it was excellent!

    Gunvor made excellent use of simple playdo to explain how the metal moved and really gave a good insight into why things work as they do.


  73. John Glenny

    Gunvor – Thanks for such a great day on Saturday last. You were immensely patient, it was interesting to take a flat steel profile and bend it, twist it, shape it and hammer it under heat. I think that all six of us were delighted with the blades that we made. For anyone interested in learning a new skill I highly recommend the bladesmithing course.

  74. Scott macbride (verified owner)

    I must say I had a blast at the blade smithing course, so much so i’m going to try and go again as soon as a space opens up. It was a real hands on day and I loved it. Gunvor was fantastic and it was a pleasure to spend the day with her in the forge. I can’t wait to get back to their forge and try some of their other classes. I would highly RECOMMENDED the blade smithing course to anyone. Thanks Gunvor for a great day.

  75. admin

    Thanks a mill Scott!

  76. Seán O’Halloran (verified owner)

    This I have to say was one of the most inspiring and enjoyable days out I’ve had in a long time. From the get go, Gunvor was extremely welcoming and patient, answering every question with incredible knowledge and making it so easily accessible for a beginner. At the beginning you’re given a wonderful introduction and then truly thrown into the work; a hammer, an anvil and a piece of steel. you get freedom to work the way you think will work, while Gunvor is ever present to answer any questions, and give you pointers if you ever feel lost as to what to do next. well worth every moment and don’t blame her if you feel the urge to build your own forge at home!!

  77. admin

    Thanks very much John, much appreciated! The fuel we use is coke :)

  78. John Yoder (verified owner)

    I have always wanted to make a knife in a forge. So decided to try this. Gunvor made this A perfect experience for me. From the coal forge ( yes Gunvor I know it’s not coal but can’t remember the right name haha) to the polishing she took us through step by step. Allowing us to do whatever we wanted with the knife. I cannot Express how much I would recommend this class if you have ever thought about getting in front of a forge. Thank you both for an amazing day out!!

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