This is a one-day course in practical hands-on blade smithing, specifically for the forging of knife blades for beginners. Arrival is at 9am, where Gunvor the tutor will introduce the forge. The participant’s individual work spaces as well as health & safety is covered. The correct use of the coke hearths involves how to maintain the fire. How to achieve the correct heat in the right place. The minimum and maximum heat ranges and their corresponding colors. To give you some insight into the working day of a full-time blacksmith Gunvor will usually fill you in as to what’s currently on at the forge. If you are interested in full-time education in the craft, you will get a chance to ask the tutor about her knowledge on this.
After this introduction the blade smithing project quickly gets on the go. Its time to sketch your desired blade-type onto ‘blacksmiths paper’ (a rusty sheet). You will use this as a reference for the day. Next you will be given a piece of carbon steel to fit your chosen blade design (max blade lengths allowed is 15 cm for the purpose of being able to finish it properly). Working by eye and free-hand shaping at the anvil is the main focus of hot forging, which will continue to lunch time at 1 pm. Certain types of blades will need more time to finish, this could take until 3-4 pm.
After this its time to grind, file and sand. We do not use belt sanders, but believe the use of hand files gives a further insight into how to achieve the correct angles and blade shapes. Once complete the heat treatments will take place. We will use the coke-hearth for this three step process. Its the same way a blacksmith would do the day to day hardening of tools without the use of gadgets – its back to basics! After the hardening is complete, it will be time to sharpen your blade. Handle making must be done at home, so that’s another days work…
Please go to our ‘Q & A‘
More Anvil time?
If you would like more time at the anvil – perhaps consider signing up for our blacksmithing taster course instead.
Want more theory?
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