You will learn how to make a blacksmith's basic tool kit.
Over the three days you will make a complete set of the most essential tools needed to get you started and to become self-sufficient. All the tools you make will be yours to keep. Once in possession of this toolkit, you will be able to go on to make more tools for yourself.
Many people who have taken the 3-day beginner's course find that this course is their next natural step. The course is ideal for beginners who are setting up. It is also of great benefit to students of blacksmithing who trained at colleges where they may not have had the opportunity to learn techniques or how to make tools.
The course focuses on the techniques involved in making tools and on devloping skills that lead to self-sufficiency and thrift. Blacksmiths need a great number of tools and the ability to make them is not just an additional skill - it is a means of survival.
As students complete their tools, they will go on to use them to make more tools. A number of essential techniques will be learned.
One of these techniques is how to use a sledge-hammer, working with another person as a smith and striker. This entails lowering the anvil on to a shorter stand, so that the hammer comes down level when hitting the tool on top of the hot metal. This is the traditional way of working which leads to greater productivity because one (the striker) is using the sledge with two hands and can exert more force than one person using a hand hammer and controlling the metal to be struck.
During the tong making, students are taught how to use the power hammer for drawing down the reins of the tongs. This involves roughing down the metal on the blocks of the hammer and then using special tools called swages which round off the reins smoothly.
Punching holes is essential for making tools. You will learn how to achieve the accuracy needed to ensure that holes are central and how to stop a punch from sticking in a hole.
The angle grinder plays an important part in tool making. You will learn about its dangers, the correct methods of use and how to prevent damage.
The differences in hardness of the materials used in tool making and sources of supply other than stockists are explained. You will also learn how to maintain tools properly in a safe and comfortable manner and about the hazards which often arise from poor maintenance.
You will make a pair of tongs.
Tongs are used to hold the piece of metal being worked. Ideally, each of the many types of section of metal should have its own size of tongs. This ensures that the worked metal is held comfortably and safely. Manufactured tongs are usually too big and heavy.
You will make a punch.
This is used for making and enlarging holes. Punching holes is an essential part of blacksmithing. The punch displaces metal around the hole, thus keeping the strength which would be lost by drilling out the hole.
The other advantage of punching is that holes can be made to accommodate sections other than round, which is the drill's limitation. Round, oval, square and rectangular holes are a regular feature of blacksmithing.
You will make a drift.
A drift is a punch used to finish a hole to the exact size and shape required. The lower end is tapered so it can be put into the punched hole. The middle part has a cross-section the same shape as the required hole and is at least 5cm long. The top end is also tapered, but rather more sharply so that it will knock out of the hole easily and not stick. The drift is made of hard steel so that it retains its shape.
You will make a handled punch.
The handled punch is used to punch the large hole in a tool which has a wooden handle. It is meant to be hit by a sledge-hammer which imparts a great shock to the punch. For this reason, it is fitted with a handle made from steel rod. This is fitted slightly loosely, saving the user from shock.
You will make a cold chisel.
This is an important tool used for cutting cold metal. Unlike hot chisels which have thin blades, cold chisels are stronger and more robust. The blades are thicker and taper quickly into the shaft because a cold chisel needs more force.
Since more control can be exercised when the metal is cold, the cold chisel is also sometimes used to mark the metal before cutting with a hot chisel or sett. The marked surface is visible when the metal is withdrawn from the fire for cutting.
You will make an anvil fork.
This tool is fitted into the hardie-hole in the anvil and is used to bend metal in a controlled way. This gives great stability when manipulating hot metal into a bend. If a template of the required curve is placed on the anvil, the curve being made can be checked constantly for accuracy. It is usual to have several of these forks of different widths between the prongs, so that metals of varying thicknesses and widths can be bent.
For greater accuracy, and for tighter curves in thicker metal, scroll wrenches can be used in conjunction with the fork. Sometimes, it is difficult to get the metal to bend exactly where you want it to, for example, when the width varies. The anvil fork and scroll wrench make the metal bend at the exact point you require.
You will make a scroll wrench.
Smiths need to have several of these of varying widths. They are used to bend metal in a controlled way sometimes together with the anvil fork.
Scroll wrenches are used in the process of making scrolls with another tool, a spiral-shaped former called a scroll iron. When a scroll is being pulled around the scroll iron, it occasionally pulls away from its intended shape. The scroll wrench can be used to pull the hot metal to the former. It can also be used to hold the scroll to the iron if the scroll has been pulled too far and has to be unwound. Scroll wrenches are also used in pairs to manipulate the slight curve between the scroll's ends.
For general bending or straightening, the wrenches are an invaluable part of the smith's equipment.
You will make a hot sett.
A hot sett is a tool used to cut steel which is red hot or hotter. It looks like an axe with a narrow blade and is sometimes called a hot chisel. The blade is quite thin in order to ease its passage through the hot steel. It is hit by a hammer.
There are various shapes of hot sett for different tasks, but the one we make is general-purpose with a V-shaped cutting edge. We also make the blade angled to the shaft. This has two effects: it makes the blade visible to the operator, and it moves the hand away from the hot metal.
Hot chisels can also be made to be hand-held. The blades are always thin, but can be curved as well as straight.
Peat Oberon is a master-blacksmith and has been a member of the British Artists Blacksmithing Association (BABA) for nearly 40 years. Peat is a seven times winner of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths trophy and won the ‘Tonypandy Cup’ last year from the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths. Peat has taught and demonstrated the art of blacksmithing all over Europe and has had students in his teaching forge from as far flung as Japan, Nigeria & New Zealand.
If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
What's included in the price?
The cost of the course is £300 (£290 if paid in advance). This includes lunch on each of the three days. The course usually takes place from 9.00am to 4.30pm from Friday to Sunday.
The course is intended for people who have already taken our '3-day beginner's course' or who already have some previous experience of blacksmithing. Each course can accommodate up to eight people.
Please get in touch to confirm your booking and we will send you our course pack. This contains all the information you'll need about how to find us, places to stay and other places you can visit while you're in the area. It will also tell you about what you will be doing, learning and making on each day of your course.
Peat Oberon's School of Blacksmithing at Peat Oberon Blacksmith
Preston Park Yarm Road Stockton-on-Tees Tees Valley TS18 3RH
This was my second course with Peat and I loved every minute of it.
It adds fuel to the spark of interest you had on the beginner course. The whole weekend is really well thought out. The pace of work will keep you busy for all three days, but it's not excessive. you won't have much time for standing around. There is just enough time to make a few mistakes without falling behind.
It covers a lot of techniques making the array of tools, some you actually use on the course. It really gets you thinking about the process of forging and shaping and how to apply the techniques.
I really recommend this course to any one that has been on a beginner course or a hobbyist. If you are looking for weekend learning from a true master of his art this is it. I promise, you will be inspired.
I would recommend this course to anyone interested in making their own blacksmith’s tools. You will make a series of tools; many designed to help make other tools on the course list, along with tools for bending and making scrolls. Peat’s relaxed teaching style and encouragement during the 3 days allowed me to improve significantly on past attempts at tong making and I am now equipped to continue building my tool collection. Peat, the food and the camaraderie all helped make this one of the best courses I have done in any craft discipline.