Hammer Skills are blacksmithing courses run from the same premises and in conjunction with Colin White of Anvilsring, also on this site. The courses are run by Bob Pickard RSS and work on some of the basic skills required to produce a forged piece of ironwork.
The courses are tailored to suit all levels of skill. From people who just want to try their hand at forging a piece of metal to those who want to learn some technical skills or improve on their existing knowledge.
The courses are run in a relaxed atmosphere with easy to follow instruction and techniques with the objective of instilling confidence in order to produce a piece of forge work to take away.
Whether you are an absolute beginner or have some experience, people who have attended the course have had an enjoyable day, as shown in the reviews below, and left the workshop with a memento, or two, of their day working at the anvil.
You can contact Bob through the Craft Courses website, using the 'Ask a question' button.
Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.
All tools, materials, protective wear (safety glasses, apron) and insurance is provided.
Stout footwear and work type clothes required, no nylon etc. – expect sparks!
Free tea and coffee all day. Bring your own cold drinks.
1 day (9:00am to 4:00pm)
This craft course provider has been awarded Platinum status for receiving 50 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.
The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.
They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.
Bob was really friendly and a good teacher. He showed me how to do all the basics, and was really skilled himself. It was a great day and I want to book another session to improve my skills. Bob helped me make a toasting fork, with a curled handle, and a twist - and also he helped me add detail of a leaf. It was a really great thing to do.
Had a great day with Bob learning basic hammer skills. Bob tailor's the course to suit individual needs and teaches in a thorough manner that has given me confidence to pursue further interests in blacksmithing. I can't recommend Bob and this course highly enough. Thank you 😊
Couldn’t recommend the course more. Bought as a present for an iron sixth wedding anniversary experience and we had a great time. Bob was a great, patient and funny teacher who managed to keep a watchful eye without being too overbearing. The instructions to find it were spot on and chippy lunch was just what we needed. Plenty of brews throughout the day to keep us hydrated. We were both so pleased with what we came home with and are so thankful to Bob for this!
Cannot recommend this course more highly. Bob immediately makes you feel welcome at the forge and puts any nerves at ease. His teaching style is amazing, allowing you to make mistakes and then helping you fix them and learn from it, which I found lets you really understand the point of the lesson.
I made two items to take home with me, a poker and a toasting fork which are so good that people are now accusing me of stealing Bob’s work and passing it off as my own. That is a great endorsement of his teaching.
I would absolutely go back for a follow up course. Thanks Bob!
Robert had a fantastic day, he had never been in a forge before but considering this under Bobs excellent supervision he did a lot of hands on. Robert came away with a garden rake and trowel and a big grin on his face.
Thanks very much Bob it was a pleasure to watch a true tradesman at work.
I did the course with my son and had a great time. We have never done anything like this before but the instruction from Bob were excellent and covered the basics of hammering in the morning, which I now know you have to listen to the hammer sound to get the blows right!
The afternoon was to make your own thing. I made a fork, though it ended up a little shorted than it should have been (I didn’t realise you could burn metal) and my son made a trivet of his own design, all with a little help from Bob.
What a brilliant day, perfect for anyone with an interest or curiousity in smithing or forging. Excellent tutor and informative from start to end
My ma-in-law got me a blacksmithing voucher for my birthday so yesterday I went and spent the day with Bob. He is a great teacher and showed me how to use a hammer properly. He could see when I picked up a pushing hammer blow from out of nowhere, even though I hadn't done it all day! I made a herb cleaver and some coat hangers and went home tired but very happy. I recommend this course if you fancy being out of your comfort zone and want to learn interesting metalworking techniques :)
I have had one of the best days ever. I have used a hammer most of my life, but I have never realised how hard it was to use a hammer to manipulate hot metal in a way that I was shown.
Bob, the tutor, was very informative and helpful and knowledgeable beyond belief. I have had a great day and would definitely recommend this course to anyone.
My son, Andrew and myself did this course together today and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bob is a first class craftsman and tutor. I would highly recommend this day for anyone who wants to have a go at the art of the blacksmith. Brought home a poker and toasting fork, matching pair. Well pleased.
Got a voucher some time ago from my daughters but only got to go to work with Bob last week because of you-know-what.
It was a great day and watching Bob turn a hoop from a single heating was simply mind-boggling. He has a fantastic depth of knowledge & experience and you learn fast from his show-then-do instruction method.
It's a full-on day and your mind will be spinning trying to apply all the great tips and hints that you learn during the session.
All in all, a thoroughly fascinating and rewarding day. Highly recommended.
I found this course after becoming an avid ‘Forged in Fire’ fan, and soon began grinding my own knives from flat stock. But all I really wanted to do was actually forge them.
This course was brilliant. Bob is a fantastic teacher and has so much valuable knowledge to share of his craft. The information he gives to you will stick and enable you to pick things up much quicker.
There is a lovely relaxed atmosphere there, but with safety also always being key.
If you’re thinking about doing the course, just get it booked! You won’t regret it!
Thanks for a top class day Bob, I’ll be back again!
My wife sent me on the full day course with Bob. Being the Forged in Fire fan that I am and knife collector I arrived with all the excitement you could imagine.
This was the first time I had even seen a forge in person so a complete novice in all things blacksmithing. After a safety talk and taking a genuine interest in my background Bob went on to explain, demonstrate and then had me repeat some basic skills, which gradually moved on to slightly harder skills. The depth of knowledge of the craft fascinated me, Bob sure knows his stuff!
After a chippy lunch and relaxed interesting conversation we moved onto the second part of the day. Bob asked me what I would like to make - somewhat unsurprisingly to Bob I wanted to make a knife. Bob let me design my own knife to make which I thought was a nice touch. We actually made two knives, the first a Viking knife which combined all the skills from the morning to come together to make an awesome finished piece. We then made my own design. I am very proud of the end results for both knifes that have pride of place in my collection.
Bob is a great guy and effortlessly made me feel at ease. I will be going back again soon for sure now that I have the bug!
Thanks for a great day Bob.
Can’t recommend this course highly enough. Bob was fantastic and incredibly patient and made the day really enjoyable. I wasn’t entirely sure the course would be for me - I’m fairly sedentary and work in an office type environment. However I was wrong - it is truly something anyone can have a try at.
Bob also went above and beyond in the afternoon session (where we make something specific) when I’d asked about making a gecko! Not something they’d ever done but with a bit of research, thought and trial and error we made a fantastic gecko!
Thank you and I’m hoping someone will buy me another lesson for my birthday later in the year!
Had a great day. Bob's an excellent teacher, a good brew maker (I had black coffee) and I will definitely be going back to improve my skills.
Wow! What a fantastic day I've just had with Bob. Such a great guy who by end of the day felt like an old friend. I went along for a day expecting to hit a bit of iron and ended up learning so much about the craft. I now know so many interesting facts about horses feet and horseshoes.
Bob is such an interesting character and a master of his craft. He's great at pointing out what you need to do, but also knows when to leave you to it so you can find your own feet. He even makes a half decent brew!
Thanks again Bob, I've had a brilliant day.
I spent a great day with Bob and learned a lot. A wonderful friendly atmosphere and Bob has great practical skills which amazed me all day. I came away with some amazing things I'd made with Bob's help. I cannot recommend this day highly enough.
My 17yr old son had the best time on the half day course. It was everything he hoped it would be, the instructor (Bob) was so friendly, he made the experience so enjoyable. My son came home with a piece of ironwork that looked so professional, something we'll have many years of use. He'll definitely be returning for further education.
My boyfriend booked this course for us as a surprise for my birthday, and I can honestly say it's the best gift I've ever received! Bob was an excellent teacher, with incredible skill, endless patience and a clear passion for the craft. He guided us in building a basic foundation of skills and tool use, which stood us in good stead for the crafting in the afternoon. We made bottle openers and amazing Viking style knives, and I can't stop looking at them, I can't believe I made that! I've had an absolutely fantastic day, Bob creates a lovely atmosphere, with lots of tea and banter and made us feel comfortable straight away. I really can't recommend this course enough. Thank you Bob!
Booked this course as a surprise for my fiance who loves gaming, fantasy and forged in fire! So obviously he loved it! Bob was amazing, very patient and obviously very skilled in his craft. We did the half day course and, as well as making tips and learning hammer skills, at the end he got to make his own viking knife! Very enjoyable experience and we will be back for another half day soon! Thanks Bob!! #legend
This was easily the best blacksmith course I have done (and I have done a few!). The emphasis was definitely on developing skills rather than just completing a finished object (although I was very pleased with my products) as can be found on other courses.
Bob is a great teacher, giving you guidance and advice but also leaving you time to work on your skills, and most importantly a desire to do it again and become even better.
Myself and my two sons, had a great day on the course, which was perfectly ran by Bob, who is a real character. We had lots of laughs, and learnt an awful lot, thanks to Bob's guidance, and we had a brilliant lunch with him at the local dine-in chip shop, which I thoroughly recommend.
We made a boot scraper, a set of Belfast sink brackets, and Dan’s unique long handled shoe horn!!
I can’t recommend the course enough, plus we stayed overnight at The Fleece pub nearby which was brilliant as well.
Cheers again Bob....!
Fantastic day. Hard work, taught basic skills and then made our door foot scraper.
Went last week, had a great time with Bob and learnt alot. One of the things I made was a bottle opener, which I've used frequently since.
Completed a day with Bob last week. He is a knowledgeable and patient teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely do it again. Excellent course.
absolutely amazing time, been a couple of times now, with both Colin and Bob and they are both patient and good teachers
I booked this course as i wanted to get in to blacksmithing as a hobby, and i am glad i did.
Bob has loads of patience and talks through the process, step by step in a calm manner. I made a set of tongs to carry on my blacksmithijg journey.
Ps fish and chips are good too.
My son and I had a brilliant day with Bob! I hadn't used a forge since I was at school and that probably made me a liability; but Bob took us both through each of the essential, primary, hammer skills over and over, step by step until something akin to competence emerged. His patience paid off because we both managed to make a useful item: my son a Viking knife and me, a poker. Wonderful and permanent reminders of a great day. Thank you Bob
Thanks for the course today.
It was superb. Amazing to see the way you handled the metal and great to try my hand at trying some of the blacksmith basics and thrilled to be able to take away a few self made items too!!
I'll definitely recommend you and Colin to anyone who asks. It was a pleasure to meet you and a great way to try something new.
Bob is an excellent tutor. Patient, intuitive and fun to work with. We're complete novices at blacksmithing with a look to setting ourselves up a hobby workshop. Bob took us from working the hammer and the fire right through to making our own door handles and a giant toasting fork. Thanks for a great day.
I had an enjoyable and instructive day with Bob. He takes you through the fundamentals, with a concentration on getting the basic techniques right, which is an essential foundation for everything that follows. Then in the afternoon we made a couple of pairs of Blacksmith's tongs to take home. Everything is explained well, with a demonstration followed by putting it into practice yourself. I really recommend this day, either to try Blacksmithing out, or to enhance your techniques. There are plentiful cups of tea and Bob is a really nice bloke. What more could you want !
I did this course with Bob and thought it excellent, you get a good insight into the trade whilst also learning all the basics. I made a couple of holdfasts for my work bench in the afternoon and a lovely decorative poker for my fire, Bob knows his trade very well and puts you at ease from the start. If you're interested then I would highly recommend this course.
A great experience. Went with my brother to celebrate my 65th birthday. We both learnt such a lot from Bob and the banter between us all was good. I left with a very fine poker and Les with a welly boot scraper. Would highly recommend this experience. Thanks Bob, a day to remember.
Utterly brilliant. Bob has a very well paced training programme that built the skills. He then supported & encouraged individual work to achieve my dream piece. Bob & the forge is the real deal.
Well Bob you’re an amazing bloke. Had an incredible time, learning a variety of new skills.
One of the best days of my life.
Seriously if you want to get into blacksmithing; try it. You won’t regret it.
Fantastic day with Bob. Great experience and a brilliant and patient tutor. The course itself progressed nicely from basic forge and hammer control to handle and fork making. A long and hard day but very much worth while. I would recommend this to anyone who want to give blacksmithing/metal work a go.
Fantastic day learning how to work the the metal into something more! Bob is fantastically patient and has a critical eye for seeing what's going wrong. With just a few words he told me exactly why I wasn't getting the right result so the next attempt was always better! My wife is very impressed with the letter opener, slightly less impressed with the bottle opener (which has been put to good use tonight!) and loves the expertly crafted horseshoe.
I hope I'll be back but you can rest assured I'll be recommending the day to everyone.
Thanks for a truly enjoyable memorable day!
Had a great day with Bob, on his Hammer Skills course. I am not a physically strong person and am recovering from long-term illness, personally I didn't expect to be able to cope with holding a hammer for a day. However, Bob was aware of my needs and abilities. He gently guided me through a series of skills, gradually improving skill-on-skill through the day. I wanted to know if I could take up blacksmithing as a hobby to make garden furniture/sculptures and came away knowing that "yes" I can do this! Thanks Bob...much appreciated! I am very happy to recommend your course to my friends, family and business associates! (Just so long as you don't get too busy to be able to take me back for more training!!!)
Really enjoyable day, I learnt a lot within the time, and was able to make progress. It's tiring, but worth it and is a great way to introduce you to the skill and knowledge required for blacksmithing. Plus you get to take home your creations.
Booked this course with Bob and had the best time ever, the course was delivered in an informal but professional manner by Bob, my course was one on one and i had a full day of trying to copy the techniques that Bob not only demonstrated but made them look so easy, as do all master craftsmen. After a full day spent between forge, anvil and hammer i produced a take home piece that i am truly hapoy with, thanks Bob for a wonderful day.
I attended bobs 1 day hammer skills course as a birthday present from my fiancee. I had an absolutely awesome day thank you so much bob. I learnt so much from bob who is a natural teacher and very patient, he taylors the course around you. I came away with a new passion absolutely loved my whole day drove home grinning like the Cheshire cat, my fiancee loved her new candle holders. I would highly recommend this course to everyone I will certainly be back bob very soon got loads of ideas.
My wife arranged this for my sixtieth birthday surprise, had been mentioning my desire to do something just like this. I couldn't believe my good fortune when an old colleague of nearly thirty years ago was doing this course. I remembered that Bob Pickard was a Blacksmith and had to take a subaticle from smithing. Well he certainly knows his stuff and his skill is something to be envied, he put me through a very enjoyable experience, yes for periods my arm gave way but a five minute break and a little refreshment enabled me to go on.
You do learn very quickly that it is not how hard you hit but the accuracy of the hit and with Bob's patience managed to produce a basic implement, a fork, which I know show off to family and friends. I do think that my tale will lead to others booking. I can only recommend the experience, one that you will always remember. Excellent Bob.
My wife and I spent a wonderful afternoon in the tutelage of Bob, where we learned the basics of using the fire hammer and anvil to shape metal in different ways. Bob's experience makes it an absolute pleasure to watch and learn from and his helpful manner made us feel welcome and confident as we made hard work of what he showed effortlessly.
It was thoroughly enjoyable and really interesting as an intro in to something we had never tried before.
Had a really great time doing this course. Something very different . Provided a glimpse of complexity in blacksmithing. Definitely recommended!
I recently attender the Blacksmith Hammer Skills course with a friend and we had a brilliant day.
We were made so welcome by Bob the instructor who did a great job at showing us how to heat and fashion metal bars. The snail I made has pride of place in the windowsill.
I would definitely recommend this experience, it was such a great day out.
This day was so good I came back for another.
I knew it was for me as soon as I heard the health and safety talk. Essential and practical.
First day was a present. I went on about it so much I got another.
Bob is a natural teacher. He's patient and constructs the course around you as it goes along, so you have just the right amount of pace matched to your skill level. It's not until you get home that you realise how much you have learned.
It's not very often you get to learn alongside a master craftsman.
I'll be back
I just want to start by saying sorry for taking so long to leave a review, I attended the hammer skills course on the 10th of jan and was absolutely blown away. I had the absolute pleasure of working with Bob that day and all I can say is what a guy. He is he had moving metal straight away, I was expecting it to be so much harder than it was with Bobs years of experence guiding me I had made some shelf brackets for my sons bed room and a fire poker for my log burner by the end of the day. All in all what a fab day, I am looking forward to going back for my birthday around May so to wrap up, if you are interested in the course then don’t even hesitate best day ever.
Spent a cold Sunday huddled around the fire with Bob (Who is a really nice guy). Had never done any smithing before, so was fantastic to learn the basics. Enjoyed my day and looking forward to trying to set up my own shop and practicing what I have learnt.
I attended the introductory to blacksmithing course on the 2.2.18. Had a brilliant time and definitely thought the course was value for money. Bob was really helpful and thorough which helped me achieve a greater understanding into the basics of blacksmithing. I would definitely recommend this course.
Myself and brother-in-law were bought this for a Christmas present and were not disappointed!
Fantastic taster course to learn the basics and Bob was a very patient with us both!
Considering another day to learn more skills.
You are also provided with more tea than you can drink!!!
Honestly a fantastic experience and a great day out
My son Thomas went on the hammer skills course with Bob. First the contact with Bob before the course was excellent. Bob is a really pleasant and friendly gentleman who was easy to talk to, with a great sense of humour. Thomas has not stopped talking about the course since attending, and if we could get to Bob's place more easily, I think he would be there every week.
In the day Thomas learned basic skills and came home with articles that he had made himself (under Bob's guidance). Thomas says that Bob is easy to understand, patient and a great laugh; creating an amazing learning and working environment
An excellent start to looking at blacksmithing.
Thank you Bob.
I attended this course with Bob in December as a surprise for my oldest son who is 16 (he wants to be a black smith). The day was excellent!
Bob was great with working with both my son and I at the same time, even though we had different skill levels.
He is extremely knowledgeable and not only great at black smithing, but also great at explaining the process for learners!
I definitely recommend this course.
Me and my dad went on the hammerskills course before christmas, we really enjoyed it and learnt a lot, found bob really helpful what a top guy! and the atmosphere was brilliant. Came away with some tongues and looking forward to using them on my own forge, would recommend this course to anybody interested and will be definitely booking again in the future to learn more skills.
Just spent a wonderful day with Bob , a great course and Bob is an excellent teacher . Highly recommended
just had the day with bob on the hammer skills course.i would thoroughly recommend this to anyone wanting to learn how to properly undertake the basics of blacksmithing .there is a lot to learn and bob is a great teacher, he is truly an expert at this ancient art. for the money it costs i would say its a great value day out
Had a fantastic day with Bob, learnt loads, and would like to thank him for his patience and excellent teaching. I drove home with a big grin, super proud of my curtain rail. It has to be the best birthday present I have ever had.
What an excellent course this is. Took my son for a taster half day and he loved it. Bob is excellent and obviously very experienced and a great teacher. I was that impressed I will be booking a go in the not to distant future!!
Second Round - Great again!
Visited Bob for another 2-day class of basic blacksmithing a few weeks ago. Among a lot of things and thoughts for the purpose of a freshen up the first course experience , a tremendous amount of new helpful advises to learn and gain further basic knowledge of ” how to do blacksmithing” properly. Thanks Bob!
Had a great day with Bob learned more in a day than a month of watching youtube vids. if you get the basics right, all the rest just falls into place kid really recommend this course for anyone starting Smithing
Absolutely amazing. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Bob picard, who was a very good instructor. Complete patience with me, even when I was struggling. I was made to feel comfortable in every aspect of what we did. Also I would like to add, Bob made me look for my own mistakes, this i believe makes everyone get a better grip on what it is they are doing. I would do it all again, and from this experience will one day open my own forge.
As someone who has enjoyed blacksmithing before, I went along to a 1 day hammer skills course to get a bit better at it. Bob proved to be an excellent instructor, patiently guiding me through figuring out my own mistakes and giving me the principles needed to improve. I left with plenty of tricks to help with my own practice, a working pair of tongs, and a far better understanding of how to make them. I thoroughly enjoyed my day at the forge and I'd recommend this course to anyone who wants to improve their skills, as well as beginners who want to get the best possible start - I wish I'd done it sooner!
I went on the introductory course to blacksmithing, had an excellent day, with great tuition thanks Colin. Brilliant atmosphere, I came home with a fantastic poker and a boot scraper. Thanks for a great day.
This hammer skills course suits in my opinion perfect for everybody who seriously wants to learn
the essentials of blacksmithing. It`s a well-conceived setup based on practical experience.
I really enjoyed the two days with Bob as a fabulous teacher.
A great craftsman with patience and a good humour. Thanks Bob!
My son Ted attended this course in the summer after he declared that he wanted to train to become a Blacksmith. This was just the kind of introduction we wanted to him to experience to see if he was serious! I must say that the course was impeccably organised and impeccably carried off by Bob and his forge partner. Ted came home after a full day's work, battered and bloodied but clutching a toasting fork and wearing a huge grin on his face. Bob was a marvellous instructor, so much so that Ted is keen to go back and undertake a few more days work to further hone his enthusiasm.
Thank you Bob!
A great introductory course to blacksmithing. Bob the instructor made the day pleasant and instructive with a good atmosphere and plenty of tea! I came home with an aching arm, a bottle opener, a coat hook and a poker. Thanks Bob for a great day.