Course Start Dates
Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.
We would like to welcome you to Strawberry Steel and invite you to our Blacksmithing Experience Days with Colin.
Colin is a Master Blacksmith with over 27 years experience in his art. He has work exhibited all over the world and has a huge passion for his craft. He is also a qualified teacher, so you will be in safe hands.
The course generally take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, although alternate week days could be arranged if necessary.
The day starts around 10am running through to 4pm at Colin's forge in Claverham near Bristol.
'Ox House Forge' is an authentic historical blacksmiths forge nestled in pasture land about 1 mile off the A370. Car parking and toilet facilities are available.
The Experience days are great fun and educational. Colin will take you through the basic art of traditional blacksmithing with humour, skill and knowledge, and you will go home at the end of the course with objects of your choice and capability that you have made.
Colin will take up to 4 people on any one course - sometimes it's just you, sometimes more. Great idea for a party or small corporate event!
The price for one person for one day is £150. Additional members of the family are an extra £50 per person.
If you are planning a party or corporate event, prices may vary - please contact us for details.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO LEARN ON THE DAY
.............whether you are a budding blacksmith and have a genuine interest in developing your career or you just want to enjoy a great day out doing something a little different with friends and family!
Colin has students coming to his courses who are interested in attending Hereford College to study blacksmithing. With this in mind, Colin has discussed the requirements with the lecturers of the College to establish what skills would be needed at interview level. As a result of this information, you can expect the following on your day course -
1. Health and safety brief
2. How to use the coke forge to establish the correct heats
3. You’ll learn how to heat the metal to the right temperature to perform different tasks, such as shifting and dressing out
4. Once all the above is established, you will learn how to create a fish tail scroll, to draw out a taper, to produce an ammonite scroll, to square off and twist round bar and to make a free formed organic tendril twist, also splitting and upsetting the steel. You will also learn how to harden and temper steel, to punch and drift the steel to create holes for hanging purposes.
5. All of the above techniques will result in your own pieces of art in the form of coat hooks, letter openers, key ring hooks, toasting forks, wine glass holders, axe heads, knives or something of your own idea within reason that uses the techniques that you’ve learned.
What's included in the price?
Colin will provide all steel that you will need to make your desired item. If you have something that you would like to make in mind, please let us know in advance, although Colin always has a selection of items that you can choose to make.
All necessary safety wear is available in the forge that we respectfully ask you to wear.
A small selection of refreshments will be available on the day, however, we ask that you bring a packed lunch and a good supply of drinks as blacksmithing is thirsty work!
Well worth the time and money. The location is great, in a meadow, not far from Bristol in a field that's had a forge for a few centuries!
Colin's a great teacher, explaining and showing the techniques without bamboozling you with jargon and then letting you get on to have a go safely, making the whole day a great experience. I learnt loads, made lots, and had a real laugh in the process. Would definitely return as you can never have enough wine glass holders :)
Col is amazing! He is so skilled and happy to share his knowledge and passion with us, three guys who were clueless! The day was really interesting, we learnt loads and made lots of things. Col is very generous with his experience and time. We enjoyed it so much that we will return.
I booked this course as a surprise for my husband as a way to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary due to the associated iron theme. From the outset Polly was helpful and responded quickly to my initial enquiry and provided useful advice for nearby accommodation. When we arrived, Colin was hospitable and welcoming and it was obvious that the day would be thoroughly enjoyable. We weren't disappointed and came away with lots of blacksmithing treasures. We spent the day utterly consumed by blacksmithing and not even the sooty cheeks at the end of the day could detract from our smiles. I would totally recommend Strawberry Steel and Colin as a teacher and look forward to perhaps working on our project in the future.
Just had a fantastic day at the forge with Colin. He's very passionate about his craft and a great teacher. I came home with the biggest grin on my face, and thoroughly pleased with myself. Thanks Colin for a great day!
We initially saw Colin at Tyntesfield and thought it'd be fun to go to a Blacksmith experience day. It was a Christmas present, and four of us went along.
Colin has a really easy going character. He is very informative and passionate about blacksmithing. A great time was had by all. It was good value for money, and the only complaint is that we wanted it to go on into the evening as we were enjoying it so much. We had everything we needed equipment-wise. We made a variety of items - door hooks, knives, axes, toasting forks. We have made handles for the axes, sharpened them and even used them for kindling. We'd love to go back to do some more, and would recommend it to anyone. Colin is 110% genuinely enthusiastic person.
What can I say?! We went on this course as a pre-stag gift to our friend so that he could let off some of the steam from all the wedding planning stress (and have ourselves a bit of fun too). From the second we got there Colin was welcoming, he had got everything ready for our day of forging, had some waters and cokes ready for us as forging is very thirsty work, and put out a sign for "Geraints bad ass stag do" so that anyone passing would know the awesomeness taking place. In the first couple hours we made some coat hooks and a BBQ fork to learn the basics of blacksmithing, including bending the steel, making twists and knots and how to make points. Then in the afternoon we were very much allowed to make pretty much anything our imagination could think of. Colin was always there to lend a hand if we got stuck but we ended up making coat hooks, axe heads, knives (not sharpened at the time obviously for safety), BBQ forks and even tried to make a love heart for the stag by forge welding all of which we were allowed to take back to show off. Everything we made we got to take home, and although the stags own attempt at a knife didn't work out too well (leaving things in the forge they tend to melt) Colin gave him one of his own previous ones as a gift. Cannot rate this course enough, it is great fun and as Colin says the limit is your imagination, even when it goes wrong you can undo it or turn it into something else. Colin is so enthusiastic and has a genuine passion to pass on his blacksmith knowledge, I felt he would have loved to have us forging all night if we could have stayed longer and we would have loved too. I will be recommending this to all and I may even bring a few of my other friends down later in the year for the next stag! Thank you Colin for an awesome day, keep it up and hope to see you again soon!!
Just as previous reviewers have said - this is an excellent day course. Two teen boys dreams come true - bashing metal all day! My sons had a great day and made daggers, hooks and toasting forks. They thought Colin was a great teacher - relaxed and friendly. They were able to get on with the blacksmithing very quickly without too much preamble so it was good value for money. Excellent communication via email with the owners too. Thoroughly recommended.
I found the blacksmith taster day course online and read the reviews which all sounded brilliant. However, the positive comments don't do this day justice. Colin doesn't only know what he is talking about but I found his enthusiasm and passion for the craft made the day. A brilliant teacher, which is only surpassed by his support for the students needs. I will most definitely be coming back and really would recommend this to anyone. For someone who generally doesn't like people and find it's extremely hard in new situations, I found the whole experience relaxing and therapeutic. I'm sure I will be talking about this day for years to come. Thank you for an amazing insight to an ancient craft.
I had my Blacksmithing experience this weekend. What a great day! Colin was an excellent host & teacher with a wealth of knowledge that he is happy to share. I would recommend this course to anyone. Colin has a whole array of things you can make, each teaching you a different technique & if you have a specific Project (as I did), he will go out of his way to make it happen. Many Thanks Colin, I will be looking to do this again.
I booked this day for my Son and Husband for their birthdays.
They both had had the best time ,instruction was really good and the day was informal ,which suited them both ,but they learnt a lot and my husband said how he has so much more respect and understanding for the work that Colin produces.
Both were really chuffed with the pieces that they produced and so was I.
What an enjoyable day! Colin was great, a fountain of knowledge, a fantastic sense of humour and extremely patient. After the brief safety induction we got stuck in, we made all sorts from coat hooks to toasting forks. We defiantly will be recommending Colin to friends and family and hope to be back for more practice!
I booked a day for my father-in-law, Husband and 11 year old daughter.They had a great day, especially my daughter who absolutely loved making her own horse shoe amongst lots of other things. Big thank you to Collin, I would fully recommend the day.
I spent 3 days with Colin down at Ox house forge, after i had spent hours of watching videos and reading about blacksmithing i couldn't of found a better place to get started. Colin is very passionate about his trade and learning from him was like hanging out with a mate. We Smithed various items from coat hangers to a toasting fork to a axe head and then a short blacksmiths knife as well some artistic twists and turns, it was a great experience and one i won't forget. Thank you Colin i couldn't be happier with how it went.
I cannot rate this experience any more positively. Colin is super; a fantasticly enthusiastic and helpful teacher who will ensure that you get excellent training and good levels of safety (without the tedium). The day is very hands on and features a great deal of making things, which is exactly what you want. Colin started by teaching basic techniques to make a couple of smaller projects in the morning. In the afternoon, the session revolved around making any project you want as long as it was feasable within the time constraints.
In conclusion, if you are curious and would like to have a go at some traditional blacksmithing with an encouraging and enthusiastic teacher (and who doesnt?!), this is the day for you.
I bought this as a birthday gift for my boyfriend and we both had a great day! After learning the ropes we got to choose what we wanted to make in the afternoon. It was a lovely relaxed setting and I would definitely recommend to all!
This course was fantastic! We thoroughly enjoyed the day and picked up lots of new skills! Colin was great - a very good teacher and Polly was fab with the organisation in the run up to the day! Lots of time spent at the forge and anvil and came away with lots of great items we made on the day! Cannot recommend this course enough! Loved it!
My sister and I bought a day blacksmithing with Col for my mum and her partner as a birthday present.
All four of us had so much fun - Col is a great teacher, and really encourages you to enjoy yourself and be independent.
If you have something in mind you'd like to work on, then Col shows you how to go about it, and if you don't then the forge is full of inspiration!
We had a fantastic day, and are already wondering when we can go back for more!
I had a really great time at Colin's blacksmith forge. both in learning new skills and finding out about the history of smithing. I've didn't have any previous experience but it was easy to pick up and I'm very proud of the artifacts I made. The fire poker I fashioned will be very useful for my chiminea this summer.
Had a wonderful day learning how to make a range of objects and trying out different techniques. Col was very skilled and happy to help students with whatever they would like to make. He had lots of suggestions that we could choose from, and assisted /coached so we all came away with several successfully made pieces.
I was treated to this course as a Christmas present as I have always been interested in blacksmithing. From the very start Colin was very welcoming and informative. We were given a safety brief and then shown how to make a basic hook. After we were shown some more technical techniques we were allowed to design and build pretty much whatever we wanted, always under the wathlchfull eye of Colin to make sure we were safe and more importantly enjoying ourselves. I can honestly say it has been one of my better days out. So much so we are thinking of returning soon. I cannot thank you enough.
I booked this as a 21st birthday present for my son. What a brilliant day. My son was beaming non stop and had a fabulous time. He was also great at it. Myself, not so good but not awful either. I too had a great day and our bounty was shown to all at the actual birthday party the following weekend with great comments received. The magic fairies were also brilliant at giving my steel an extra hit or 2 to improve the finished article! (Thanks Colin). The experience truly lived up to all the rave reviews and we took home loads. I would recommend this day to anyone and everyone.
Just had an excellent day with Colin at Strawberry Steel. He was very welcoming, kind and helpful. As blacksmithing novices we were impressed with our achievements. We made coat hooks, key hooks, toasting forks, letter openers and garden wine glass holders.
This was a mother and daughter day for a birthday present. Most mums and daughters go to a spa for a pamper day and drink Prosecco. We had a unique experience and took home glass holders for Prosecco made by us to remember this day for years to come. Thank you Colin
Well it was the best day out I have had in a long time learning something new was great and Colin's teaching was excellent and relaxing I was unsure if blacksmithing was for me but now I am hooked and now working on making my own forge thanks to Colin's and Pollys help I would highly recommend this course to anyone many thanks Dave
I had a day on the course given to me as a Christmas present and what a good present it was.
Within half an hour of getting there you are already stuck in to making. Colin teaches you how to make a variety of different items (coat hooks, letter opener, wine glass holder, axe head are what I got to make on the day I went) and he is happy to share his experience as well as his knowledge in black smithing. Overall the day is value for money and if you get given the chance to go to the Ox House Forge you won't be disappointed.
This day was purchased as a 30th gift for my other half, guys aren’t always that easy to find gifts for! For a small additional fee I decided to attend as well, best decision I made. The forge is a lovely little cottage, on an open Somerset field, the atmosphere is great. Colin is a fantastic charismatic teacher, very attentive and doesn’t follow a generic script, he first trains you in the basic skills but then encourages you to let your imagination run. He is on hand the whole way and because the classes are kept small he is immediately there to assist. My partner had a fantastic time, it was a great bonding experience and we both have a new skill that we wish to explore further. We also have a nice matching fire poker set for our new home, custom made by us.
This review is well overdue, but I've come back to say just how good a time I had. I was bought this as a birthday experience and thoroughly enjoyed the day, going with a friend from Uni. Colin is very knowledgeable and tailored the day to work towards making many things we were interested in, going at a pace we wanted (which happened to be as much as we possibly could do) and helped creatively turn some of our mess ups into some beautiful pieces. I'm looking for any opportunity to go back now!
We had an awesome day, blacksmithing with Col! We have come away having had lots of fun and hard work with a plethora of weird and wild things made of metal! Colin is a wonderful teacher who is supportive, attentive and enthusiastic-if you think you've had a disaster, he just goes with it and comes up with innovations to improve the original! So, we've got lots of hooks, fire tools, key rings, a toilet paper holder, a toasting fork, candle holders, wine glass holders and an amazing one handed bottle opener, as well as projects to be continued!
One of the best things that I have done for a long time. As others have said, I was very surprised at how much I was able to make. It is definitely worth speaking to Colin or Polly before you go to get ideas of what it is possible to make in a day.
I fully intend to go back and would not hesitate to recommend this course to anybody.
Absolutely fantastic day - wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone! Bought as a gift for my boyfriend, and despite thinking it wouldn'y be my thing, I had a really great time too. Colin is very friendly and welcoming and suits the course to any age/gender/ability. Small groups (4 of us in total) mean that Colin is on hand to offer lots of help throughout the day if required - we got so much blaksmithing done, and had loads to take home - my candlestick is taking pride of place in the kitchen. As others have already mentioned, you get stuck in really quickly and don't waste lots of time with health and safety drivel, other than the essentials of course.
We had a great day at Strawberry Steel. It definitely lived up to expectations and then some. I turned up with only a vague idea of what I might want to make whilst my partner had detailed drawings. We both came away having created something we were not only proud of but had really enjoyed making. Colin had a really relaxed but supportive approach. We'll be back!
Cannot speak highly enough of Colin and the amazing day we had last week! My girlfriend and I have wanted to try blacksmithing for a while now and it certainly exceeded our expectations. The day started well with making some coat hooks and practicing using the tools and forge. We then made our full fireside companion set which, with Colin's help, advice and endless patience, looks so much better than we thought it ever would! We were shocked at how much we were able to make and take home with us considering our lack of any blacksmithing skills at the start of the day! Colin's friendly and positive approach really made the day, even when we "messed up" some pieces, Colin got us thinking about what we could turn it into. As a result of one of these "accidents" we now have the most decorative and unique meat carving fork! Absolutely wonderful day, we will certainly be going back for more soon.
The entire day was enjoyable, including the time spent not working. There is nothing that I thought could have been improved as the tools were and equipment were explained and any questions we asked were answered. The techniques we were taught fitted well with the items we were offered to make, and we were given a lot of freedom with how we wanted the end products to look. Colin was very good at teaching and explaining all the safety procedures as well as explaining the techniques.
Bought an experience day for my father and joined him for the small extra charge. The day was very enjoyable, under Colin's expert guidance we managed to make almost a full fire companion set, poker, rake, toasting fork and some reasonably complex scissor tongs for moving logs around.
Each step was carefully explained and demonstrated in advance by Colin then he gives guidance as you do it for yourself, the result is some pretty impressive professional looking items that you've made entirely yourself.
As someone who has wanted to try blacksmithing for a long time I'd recommend this course, set in a beautiful old forge in the countryside, with a master blacksmith who clearly knows his trade well, it was a very enjoyable day.
What more can I say about this incredible experience that hasn't already been touched on by the above reviews? Everything about our day at Strawberry Steel was absolutely perfect. Colin is fantastic; a real pleasure to learn from and to joke with. We will treasure the projects we completed with him for many many years to come. A day full of lessons, memories, and laughs.
Really good day. Hot and sweaty but very interesting and delivered with humour. I had a couple of items I had in mind and was able to make both, along with others suggested by Colin. Very surprised by how much I took home.
Would definitely recommend it to anyone who fancies a go just for the experience.
We're not at all surprised to see that all the reviewers above have given this course five stars because it is absolutely first class. Colin provides all the equipment you need and gives expert advice and guidance in a very relaxed way. Colin has suggestions of items that can be made (relatively) easily and demonstrates how to do it. Sarah had something in mind and Colin supported her in making a really impressive piece on our first visit. Very good value with discount for couples and groups. Do it, there may be a blacksmith inside you just waiting to get out.
I had an amazing day at the forge. After a brief but informative safety bit we watched Colin make a coat hook and within 15 minutes of starting the day we had our tongs on hot metal. Colin was a great teacher, giving encouragement and guidance when needed but leaving us to get on and learn when we were OK. We got to make our own fabulous projects, did a bit of team work on axe heads and I went home with coats hooks, a beautiful Saxon style pruning knife, an axe and a couple of swan style key fobs. I'll be back when I have other projects I've thought up to make.
Myself and my girlfriend enjoyed an absolutely excellent day with Colin at Strawberry Steel.
Colin is a brilliant teacher and had an answer for every single one of the many questions that I had! His ability to impart his knowledge and skills to us was incredible and we learnt a huge amount from him!
He was able to cater to all of our needs and we went away with many different items that we will always treasure. We asked to be able to make a knife or an axe and were able to make both! If there is something particular that you want to make, ask him and I'm sure that he will be able to deliver.
I would recommend this course to anyone who is interested in blacksmithing.
A fantastic day and it has inspired me to take this up as a hobby in my own time.
I recently spent the day on Colin's Blacksmithing Course in Brockley.
This was by far one of the most interesting days I've experienced in quite some time.
The atmosphere was relaxed, the forges were very hot and the metal work fun.
Colin's instruction was brilliant, he was very approachable, always happy to help or provide advice and generally have a natter.
This meant the day flew by and was made all the better by having no expectation to 'achieve'.
On this day we made:
and Letter Openers
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this course to friends and I'm already contemplating a return journey.
In fact my company are even planning a team-building work event where we can all pitch in to build a single item for the office.
This was a birthday present for my teenage son and husband, they absolutely loved it. Col. was a fantastic teacher, and very patient. They made a variety of items including coat hooks and fire pokers and a dagger!!!
My son is still talking about it 3 days later and has taken his items to scouts to show everyone.
Fires, hammers, getting dirty, making 'stuff' what is not too like!!
Best course ever! Col is an excellent teacher; knowledgable, witty, patient and generous. Within the first hour he had us hammering away making coat and key hooks before applying our new found skills to make a toasting fork. This was just what I wanted to make to complement my shop-bought companion set, but having brought it home it leaves the companion set in the shade - I need to go back to make more tools!
My brother and i spent two days with Colin making a garden gate. Colin is a great instructor,with a wealth of experience which he willingly shares. Colin is generous both with his time and his facilities and i will definitly be returning to Strawberry steel soon.
The best birthday party our 11 year old has ever had. He took three friends and they made amazing dagger door knockers. For four hours their interest never waned. Col was excellent - his patience and sense of humour was perfect for the boys. All of them want to do it again!
A good day out for the whole family (ie me, wife, two teenage boys of 13 and 17). We went straight into actually making stuff - no tedious health and safety obsessing! Pretty physical, but you really don't need huge biceps - it's all in the technique, demonstrated with deceptive ease by Col.
There is the added advantage of being located right behind the farm shop in the village - superb locally produced food, both for lunch and to take home for tea!