• Blade smithing at our forge
  • a knife in progress
  • his and hers… finished knives with sheaths
  • Iron Age Knife samples
  • Iron age bladesmithing course calnan anhoj resized
  • A finished knife with paracord wrap

Blade Smithing Course

(61 customer reviews)


Blade-smithing for beginners: If you would like to make a good knife blade and spend a day hot-forging steel this is the course for you. A practical course where the forging and finishing of a blade in one-layer carbon steel is the focus. Participants will forge, hand polish, heat-treat and sharpen. 
Time: Saturdays 9am-5.30pm (please see full description further down the page)
Availability: I run about three courses a month so if the below dates don’t suit you can join the cancellations / mailing list by emailing gunvor@calnan-anhoj.ie 
A €10 discount will apply at checkout when bladesmithing and a leather sheath is bought together.

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Iron Age Knives. The design of a so-called iron age knife – also known as Viking or blacksmiths knife – is loosely based on finds from the iron age (a lot of these were found on the west coast of Denmark, Gunvors motherland) The focus will be on creating awesome textures and handle shapes matched with the making of a dainty scroll if so desired. Blades are forged to flat-grinds and finished with a partial polish to accentuate the rustic texture. This course might suit those who know they will never get around to fitting the wooden handle on a full-tang blade, as an Iron-age knife can be used as it is or finished with a wrap of paracord or leather strip. Instruction is spread throughout the day, following the flow of a small group of seven. You will have the choice of three precut sections of EN9 (medium carbon steel) matching three different size & design suggestions. Lunch break is from 1-2pm.

The course doesn’t include. Handle making in wood, theory of metallurgy or heat-treatments. Participants will not be able to use power tools.

Please note. To maximise your time at the forge some base-instructions will be provided via video prior to the course.

The tutor. Female blacksmith Gunvor Anhoj is originally from Denmark and has been blacksmithing full time since 1997. “I love the iron age knife project as it gives you enough time at the anvil to get an appreciation of the challenges in forging steel, gives you a little bit of influence over the design, as well as the satisfaction of leaving with a completely functional tool that looks great because of the time spent refining it.” You can read more about her journey as a blacksmith here.

More pictures from the forge: https://instagram.com/bladesmithingcourseswicklow

Further learning: 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
You could also try the courses of Irish bladesmith Sam Gleeson: www.thisiswhatido.ie

Additional information


Saturday 27 July, Saturday 31 August, Saturday 19 October

61 reviews for Blade Smithing Course

  1. Kieran Molloy (verified owner)

    A thoroughly enjoyable day. A great experience working in a forge shaping a piece of steel into a beautiful knife. For a total beginner to be able to do this was fantastic. I cant recommend the course highly enough for anyone with an interest in the craft. Gunvor is a very skilled blacksmith and a gifted teacher. Lovely friendly atmosphere to learn in and a fantastic venue in rossborough house. Looking forward to planning my next forging project now.

  2. Chris

    A fantastic day, couldn’t recommend it highly enough and looking to buy my own forge now 🤣

  3. Adam Dee

    Thanks Gunvor for the amazing day. My family and I all had a fantastic experience in learning the basics of forging a knife. Day well spent.

  4. Simen Hoel

    Excellent course for beginners! Gunvor was very instructive and helped me gain some fundamental understanding of how blade forging works. 5/5 – recommended for anyone!

  5. Brian Hackett

    Absolutely fabulous day spent making a blade under the very expert supervision of Gunvor. A totally great experience that I would recommend to everyone who wants a genuine experience in this special craft. Thanks once again Gunvor for a great day (and unlimited patience). Would love to go back anytime.

  6. Brian Cullen

    I recently (11/11/2023) took this fantastic course. This was bought for me as an anniversary gift from my wife (traditionally iron is the gift for 6 years). What can I say about the course. Firstly Gunvor is a great teacher and provides great instruction. Its a bit of a workout hammering out the iron knife, but it’s well worth it as you go home with a unique knife that you can say is yours. The style of knife lends itself well to a beginner course. I would definitely do the course again, and would be interested in other courses if they became available.

  7. Gyula Simonyi (Julian) (verified owner)

    I had a really enjoyable experience crafting my knife on 21 October 2023. I had been looking forward to this opportunity since the spring of 2021. Although I was a little behind schedule due to a few mistakes that I made, Gunvor was very patient and helpful while still letting me achieve as much as possible on my own, until I could call it a mission accomplished.

  8. Pat HIggins

    Gunvor – Many thanks for such a great day. I know we all really enjoyed it and would love to do another course whenever they are on. To be honest we were very surprised how quickly we were able to get hammering and shaping our knives. A great day, lots of fun, well worth it as a team building thing or just to get a few pals together for something different.

  9. John Mulvaney

    A really great day out. Cannot recommend enough. Do it, you won’t regret it

  10. Gearoid

    Gunvor thanks very much for an amazing day spent with friends forging knives. We took the blade-smithing course yesterday, talk about something completely different to do. Really surprised with how our blades turned out. Gunvor was really patient and helped us every step of the way. You really get a deep understanding / appreciation of the craft and the amount of work involved. Russborough House is in a beautiful location and well worth a visit in itself. Thank you!

  11. David O’Connor (verified owner)

    Absolutely brilliant day, great tuition and something I’ve always wanted to do ticked off the list

  12. Gil Fournier

    Cannot recommend the bladesmithing experience enough! Gunvor’s humor and expert instruction made the day SO much fun. She is a fantastic teacher and you find yourself getting along much easier than you expected, and taking control of making something extremely cool and completely customizable with your own two hands. Do it!!!!

  13. Jonas Over (verified owner)

    The iron age/ viking knife bladesmithing course was a fantastic experience and Gunvor is an excellent teacher. I would absolutely recommend this workshop to anyone interested in the subject.

  14. Annuschka Wiesemann (verified owner)

    This was my second time doing a course and it was, once again, absolutely brilliant. Gunvor is a fantastic teacher and let us all do our thing and helped out when needed and also made time to give us a few demo’s which were really cool. Highly recommend this course!

  15. Michael Bevan

    Great course, highly recommended. Gunvor runs it with a light yet effective touch.

  16. John O Connor

    Absolutely great day knife forging, Gunvor is a great teacher allows you enough reins to put your own twist on the blade while steering you in the correct way, a great way to learn and in a great atmosphere, will definitely be booking again, thanks for a great day !!!!!

  17. Daithi dunne (verified owner)

    A true experience of a life time.. an amazing day and with some hard work and with the expert tuition off Gunvor you get to go home with your one of a kind selfmade blade/knife. I could not recommend this experience enough and will be visiting the forge again for sure. 11/10..

  18. Finbarr Garland

    An absolute gem of an experience and very enjoyable day out. Gunvor is the perfect host and teacher. Her step by step guide makes it so easy to design and forge the blade/knife of your choice. I would recommend this course to anyone.

  19. Brendan Doyle (verified owner)

    I enjoyed the overall experience, really nice to meet 5 like-minded people who also had a genuine interest in blade making in a very relaxed setting. Gunvor was both patient and encouraging, the day actually flew by. I will definitely sign up for another course based on this experience. I highly recommend you try for yourself. Brendan Doyle, blade making course Jan 2023.

  20. Matthew Shaw

    Absolutely fantastic course. The idea of working with such high heats was a little daunting, but it was actually quite straightforward. The whole process is very relaxed, and Gunvor is super friendly and helpful, could not recommend them enough. Make a knife! You won’t regret it.

  21. 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!

  22. Madeleine davis


  23. 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.

  24. Claire and brian (verified owner)



  25. 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 😬

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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!

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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 😁👍🏻

  37. Jeff

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

  38. 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.

  39. 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!

  40. 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!

  41. 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.

  42. 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 ?

  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. 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!

  45. 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!!

  46. 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 !

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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

  50. 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.

  51. Vincent graham

    Fantastic Day. Really Enjoyable. Thanks to Anhoj

  52. 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.

  53. 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!!

  54. Kevin Westnott (verified owner)

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

  55. 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.

  56. D Larkin

    Fantastic experience fantastic host

  57. 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.

  58. 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.


  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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!!

  62. 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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