Blacksmithing Workshops

Upcoming Workshops | Instructor Bios | Curriculum

James Garvey ‘Form-Idea’ Workshop, June 2018. Photo by William Graziano.

James Garvey ‘Form-Idea’ Workshop, June 2018. Photo by William Graziano.


About

Blacksmithing workshops are designed to develop students’ skills in metal working and to encourage them to explore their individual interests in this diversified field of study. Building upon fundamental techniques, students progress to create work both functional and artistic, serving to increase an awareness of our tactile world and the work that goes into making it.

The Blacksmithing shop is outfitted to support 6 people working in the shop at a time. Beginner through advanced students will be accommodated with tools, tongs, hammers, and propane and coal forges during workshops, studio rentals and events.


Upcoming Workshops

1-Day Knife Sharpening | Howard Schechter

Dates Available:
Saturday, October 19, 9am to 4pm
Class Size: up to 12 people
Skill Level: Beginner and up (No experience necessary)
Price: $75, Includes a Wet Stone for you to take home

Bring what they need sharpened and what they would like to learn to sharpen in this one day workshop! While you might not be able to sharpen your whole kitchen knife set, you can learn how to sharpen a kitchen knife along with your garden tools and any other tool with a blade including woodworking tools, hunting knives, leatherworking tools, etc. Each participant will get their own wet stone that they can take home with them.

At the end of this presentation, those present will have:

1.     An understanding of edge geometry, steel, and how to sharpen a blade
2.     The elements of sharpness
3.     A better way to understand the intersection of blade steel, heat treatment, blade geometry, stone type and technology, and how it all works together

1-Day Beginner Blacksmithing | Luke Claymon

Dates Available:
Sunday, October 27, 10am to 5pm
Skill Level: Beginners (No experience necessary)
Class Size: up to 8 people
Price: $100 (Includes Materials)

General shop protocol and safety issues will be introduced to begin this class. Students will learn fire starting and management of coal forge fires to achieve optimum working temperatures. Hammer and anvil use to perform the basic techniques of drawing out, tapering, hot cutting, upsetting, bending, and curling will be covered. Students will develop skills and confidence to work independently on basic blacksmithing projects suggested by the instructor.

One-Day Knife Workshop | Jordan LaMothe

Dates Available:
Saturday, November 9, 10 am to 5 pm
Skill Level: Beginner and up (14 years old and up)
Class Size: up to 6 people
Price: $125

Always wanted to make a knife but never had the chance to try? This one-day class is a great way to get your feet wet, learn the basics of bladesmithing, and walk away with your very own, hand-forged knife! Students will forge, heat treat, grind, and finish sturdy utility knives, learning the science and technique behind each of these processes. The blades will then be outfitted with cord-wrapped handles and sharpened so that they are ready for service on the farm, in the field, or around the house.

3-Day Chef Knife Workshop | Jordan LaMothe

Dates Available:
Friday thru Sunday, November 15-17, 10am to 5pm
Skill Level: Beginner and up (14 years old and up)
Class Size: up to 4 people
Price: $350 Materials: $75

Everyone likes a good meal, but you can’t prepare a good meal without a good knife! Over the course of three days, students will craft their very own chef knives while learning principles of knife design and heat treating and developing their skills at forging, grinding, and finishing. Special attention will be given to the blade and handle geometry required to make an ergonomic and efficient cutting tool.

2-Day Forge a Sign or Plant Hanger
| Luke Claymon

Dates Available:
Saturday & Sunday, December 7-8, 10am to 5pm
Skill Level:
Beginners and up (Some experience in blacksmithing or welding maybe helpful)
Class Size: up to 8 people
Price: $200 plus Materials: $30

In this workshop, participants will use blacksmithing techniques and modern welding to make a wrought steel sign or plant hanger suitable for bolting to a wall or post. Using half inch steel square bar stock, we will forge tapers, twist, and curl three components parts. One of these will have two holes punched to accommodate lag bolts. The three parts will then be MIG welded together. MIG welding instruction is included as part of the class. The hanger will then be finished with wire brushes and a coating of bee’s wax. This should make a nice gift for the holidays.


Instructor Bios

Knife Sharpening

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Howard Schechter works from his home in Shrewsbury, MA. He is also a university professor who is applying his research skills to honing and sharpening and was never on Forged In Fire. Chasing the sharpest edge possible has consumed Howard’s time and efforts for the past 16 years. He started making knives in 1973 and has worked diligently to get blades of all types as sharp as possible with a repeatable process that can be replicated by other people. Over the years Schechter has studied wet stones in museums around the world and has amassed a huge study collection of rocks which were used for various purposes by craftsmen around the world throughout time. All of my work is done under magnification and I have invented tools and processes for sharpening quickly and to a keen edge. I teach sharpening and honing at several schools and find joy in teaching someone how to keep their tools sharp.

Website: theperfectblade and FB page, The Perfect Edge.

Schools: Adirondack Folk School, New England School of Metalwork, Guilford Art Center, Ashokan Center, Women in the Outdoors program in Massachusetts.

Bladesmithing

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Jordan LaMothe began pursuing his interest in blacksmithing at age 14, taking a class and setting up his own forge in his parents’ barn. Now, Jordan is a full-time bladesmith, making a wide variety of knives, axes, and swords. He holds the Journeyman Smith ranking in the American Bladesmith Society, and was a champion on History Channel’s bladesmithing competition Forged in Fire. Jordan is also a vocalist and a saxophonist, and holds a BA in music from Williams College in Mass. He lives on a small farm in Hebron, NY, and hauls his family’s firewood with a team of oxen.


Blacksmithing Curriculum

Blacksmithing workshops at Salem Art Works are designed to develop students’ skills in metal working and to encourage them to explore their individual interests in this diversified field of study. Building upon fundamental techniques, students progress to create work both functional and artistic, serving to increase an awareness of our tactile world and the work that goes into making it.

The Blacksmithing shop is outfitted to support 6 people working in the shop at a time. Beginner through advanced students will be accommodated with tools, tongs, hammers, and propane and coal forges during workshops and studio rentals.

Beginner Level I: Little to no experience

General shop protocol and safety issues will be introduced to begin this class. Students will learn fire starting and management of coal forge fires to achieve optimum working temperatures. Hammer and anvil use to perform the basic techniques of drawing out, tapering, hot cutting, upsetting, bending, and curling will be covered. Students will develop skills and confidence to work independently on basic blacksmithing projects suggested by individual instructors.

Beginner Level II: Beginner with level I experience or equivalent

Beginning with safety and shop protocol, students will review knowledge and skills learned in the Level I class. Building upon these skills, students will be introduced to basic metallurgy including hardening, tempering, and forge welding. Techniques of splitting, punching, and riveting will be taught to round out students’ basic skill sets. As students progress in ability and confidence, they will be encouraged to pursue individual projects and interests with the assistance of the instructor.

Intermediate Level III: Advanced beginner with level II experience or equivalent

Building upon introductory classes or prior experience, students will explore more advanced techniques and projects which will allow them to work independently while enjoying the benefits of professional instruction. Individual instructors will suggest and assist with these more technical projects such as, but not limited to forge tongs, knives, and traditional hardware.

Intermediate Level IV: Intermediate with level II experience or equivalent

In this class, students will work on smithing projects developed and taught by professional blacksmiths. These projects will enhance and inform students’ abilities learned in previous classes or instruction, allowing them to further their interests and skills. This level class will provide students with instruction in specialized fields of blacksmithing dependent on personal preference.