About the Course
Chalk Pit Forge is run by Alex Smith, who has been a blacksmith since 1998 and has run the forge since 2008, teaching one to one courses since 2009. Please visit my website to view more pictures of what people have made on past courses.
This course is very popular and can be sold out a year in advance so please contact Alex to check available dates before buying a voucher.
The forge is within the beautiful south downs countryside at Amberley Museum, West Sussex. Here I run courses for anyone aged 15 or over [15 yr olds need a parent present and 15, 16 and 17 need to state their age when booking], where you can make whatever you like, providing I think you can do it in the time available. The course can be set around what you would like to do.
The general list of things you can make are: Curtain rails and brackets, candlestick holders, a wall sconce, hinges, rams head poker, tongs, toasting fork, brush, shovel, chestnut roaster, fire accessory stand, letter holder, paper knife, pots n pan wrack with hooks, door knocker, plant climber, t-light holder, bird bath, bird feeder holder, boot scraper, hanging basket bracket, sculpture, rose and leaves, tools, plant pot holder and a window grill.
While making something you can learn how the blacksmiths work metal by fire welding, punching, twisting, forging, bending, riveting, splitting, heat treating [tools] and dishing the metal.
You take what you can make.
If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above or telephone us. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
What's included in the price?
Materials are included in the course price, there is a large stock of mild steel available but if you need a specific size then please make sure I have it in stock before your lesson.
Lunch, tea, coffee and biscuits are included.
Health and safety gear is provided as well as tools. You will need old clothes you don't mind ruining, cotton/denim trousers [that cover the tops of your shoes so no coke/metal can fall in], trainers, shoes, cotton t-shirts/jumpers are all good.
No shorts, flip flops, football t-shirts or shell suits [synthetics] but sensible clothing that will protect you from hot flying coke.
If you have any other questions, please get in touch.
I just completed a five day course with Alex and I can definitely recommend it to anyone who may be interested. Alex is a good mannered, friendly, patient and extremely knowledgeable teacher and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in his workshop. I feel that I learnt lots, and most importantly, It was a pleasure doing so.
James Phillips - - #20092
Had a thoroughly brilliant day in the forge with Alex. I have learnt some wonderful new skills including fire welding, twisting and bending metal to my own designs. Alex is very patient and showed me each technique before letting me create my own effects on the metal. He also manage to photograph some of the action on my phone as proof that I was really making the fire poker that I took home to use that night. Great experience and I look forward to coming back again to expand and practice more blacksmithery.
Simon H - - #17765
What a fantastic experience in 1 day packed full of techniques and skills to craft a unique piece to take home. unless you complete this yourself with Alex you can't explain or have anyone understand how wonderful this experience really is - one of a kind - (6 strs ★★★★★★) +
Ron Rylatt - - #17753
I was given a day in the forge as a Christmas gift and I have to agree with the others that it was probably the best present I have ever had. Alex was very calm and patient and answered any questions. he showed what to do on a seperate piece and was unflappable even when melted a piece off! we recovered and I was still able to make a very satisfactory piece in the time, even got to make a quick extra!
It was a professional, unhurried learning experience from a great blacksmith.I would totally do it again and heartily recommend it. Thank you Alex.
Simon Gaule - - #17750
My wife bought me a voucher for the one-day course as a christmas present. I'd been looking forward to it since I booked it and it didn't disappoint!
Ended up making a door knocker. Despite being a complete beginner with any kind of metal work, I ended up making something I was quite proud of by the end of it! Alex is very helpful and a great teacher.
Dave Smith - - #17471
Alex is a highly skilled and patient tutor. He's well prepared and organised. He loves the craft and watchfully guides at every step, building your confidence with fire, tools and metal. Do it.
Nick Meyne - - #17346
Had an excellent time with Alex at the Chalk Pit Forge. Alex is a great teacher, very friendly and, importantly for me people like me with no previous experience forging, very patient! Very pleased with my ram's head letter opener! Thoroughly recommended. PS Now I know what a proper hard day's work feels like to!!
Stuart Richards - - #17323
i was bought a day at the forge with Alex as a Christmas gift and it's probably been the best present i have received!
Alex is a great teacher but also just a very nice chap. i made a large candelabra. from entering the forge alex is getting you familiar with what you will be doing and how to do it. after initial demonstrations for each stage of the build i was largely left to it so i could learn for myself with alex there to advise which was perfect for me.
i had a brillaint day and would highly recommend it to anyone who has even a passing interest in blacksmithing. i can now say i have the bug and will be looking to do more very soon!
Harry Rowe - - #17168
I had such an enjoyable day, Alex is a knowledgeable, friendly and patient tutor. I highly recommend this course.
Michael - - #17128
The one day course was fantastic and Alex is an excellent teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed my day and learnt many techniques. I am very pleased with my ram’s head poker my friends and family were very impressed. Alex was very welcoming and I would definitely recommend it, it is a very interesting and rewarding course and exceeded my expectations.
John Cater - - #17126
My wife bought the day as a present for last Christmas. Before the day I had done some evenings sessions at a local college so had some of the basics. Alex gave me a lot of tips that I did not get elsewhere and helped me clarify a number of things I was a little uncertain about. He has a really good set up and is very calm and collected and patient as a teacher. A great day which I would recommend to anyone interested in having a go.
Chris Letchford - - #16997
My wife bought me a 1 day one to one course at the forge and I was very excited to get started, the experience did not disappoint I had an unbelievable day. I have to admit I’d built the whole thing up in my mind (as I’ve wanted to do a forging course for years) it far exceeded my expectations and Alex was an enthusiastic and helpful tutor! We made a pair of forging tongs, a letter knife, bottle opener, coat hook and tried some forge welding I also got a “get it got an hit it” t’shirt!! Wish I could do another (hint, hint mrs Snuggs)
Graham snuggs - - #16522
I attended a one day course with Alex as a present from my wife and had a fantastic time. the day was very relaxed in a great setting. I feel that i learnt such a lot and really appreciated the way Alex explained things and demonstrated on a sample and then let you have a go on your own piece. it was nice to achieve such a lot in a day and then take home what you'd made. I would highly recommend a day with Alex to anyone regardless of experience as he has so much to share. I aim to book another day to take things a step further.
chay hedger - - #15272
I had a one day course as a present from my wife. What a fantastic day. Alex is a great tutor. He asked me what I wanted to make and then we worked on the design. Alex showed me the basics and then demonstrated what I needed to do at each stage of my project. Always on hand with advice and help when I needed it. A full days blacksmithing, with tea, coffee, biscuits & lunch. I'm so proud of my bird feeder and hook. I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to give it a go.
Derek Goddard - - #14854
This was bought as my Christmas present from my wife and what a brilliant one it was. I can highly recommend this and I'll definitely be going back. Thanks for your patience.
Mark Sharp - - #14740
Many thanks to Alex,
This was a very interesting day with plenty to absorb and practice on. This was a Christmas present from the family and to be honest, it couldn't have been better. For my very first time, it left me wanting more and still trying to work out how to transform my garage into a Forge ;)
I am sure this will not be my first and last time at the Forge. Thanks for your patience. A good teacher.
Dave Bunn - - #14346
I was bought a day course by my girlfriend as a birthday present and I hugely enjoyed my day in the forge. Alex has a fantastic teaching style of showing you what to do and then letting you get on with it! Even though I turned up with a vague notion about making a candlestick, Alex showed me a variety of pictures and then we drew out a rough sketch and went from there. The day flew by but Alex very subtly kept me on track and I got to go home with a lovely piece of metalwork to show off and a big grin to go with it. I only wish I had somewhere I could go and bash hot metal more often.
Olie Cook - - #14222
The one day course was booked as a birthday present as it’s something I’ve always wanted to try and have a taster of.
Alex was welcoming and helpful with the designs and very informative. I had a great day and was tired by the end of it but had a huge smile because of what we had achieved. The day flew by! Highly recommended.
Carl - - #14200
I just had another one-day course with Alex, having made a ram's head poker some years ago. This time I sent him my own design for a pan rack to hang in my kitchen and he agreed we could make it in a day. Alex suggested reducing the bar thickness which added a degree of delicacy that enhanced the resulting object.
Alex has a great way of teaching: demonstrating a technique and then letting the pupil get on with it without being overly controlling. Just the right amount of advice is given. My design has two bars with symmetrical tapered scrolls at the ends so I had to make four identical scrolls. Needless to say, I made lots of mistakes and corrections. In the initial demo, Alex showed me how to make corrections as well as the basic bending techniques: once I started making I felt no pressure from him even as I bent, corrected, re-bent and re-corrected many, many times. As a result I was able to learn from my mistakes and by the fourth scroll felt I was starting to understand the metal. Great outcome. Nice, this time, to learn some two-man techniques (forming tenons, punching holes and joining the pieces) too.
And, in the end, the pan rack's not bad either!
Jeremy Swift - - #14189
Brilliant day with Alex, Birthday present from my husband. So pleased with the final piece for the garden. Really want to make some more, just need a forge!
Jane - - #14072
A fascinating course in a wonderful setting. The day flew by and I learned so much from Alex who is a very patient teacher. I’m really pleased with the rams head bottle opener I made.
Matt - - #13979
I had a very enjoyable day with Alex, learned a lot and came away with a boot scraper to get all the mud off after our walks.
A day to remember, thanks Alex!
Malcolm Graham - - #13708
I was bought a one day course as a present by my kids.
I had a great time ... Now I just need to get my own forge ... Plus maybe a bit more tuition!
Alex is a great teacher, very patient and attentive but equally happy to let me get on with it and learn stuff for myself.
I would thoroughly recommend it, and certainly be happy to go again, maybe my arm won't ache quite so much next time!
Brian Hirst - - #13634
My one day blacksmith course was brought by my wife as a 40th birthday present and was something that I wanted to have a go at for some time. Alex shared his years of knowledge over a day with me and taught me some amazing blacksmithing skills. His instructions were very clear and informative and he guided me through each step to make a Skulls head fire poker. Although the item I made was challenging at times the results were amazing. Alex is a very friendly and patient teacher who I wouldn’t hesitate at working with again in the future. Many thanks Alex for an amazing day at Chalk Pit Forge.
Christian - - #11488
Thanks for a brilliant day, Alex! Still looking admiringly at the table I built. Perfect balance of tuition between helping and letting me get on with it. Will be recommending the one day course to all my friends!
Peter Mason - - #10639
Spent a very enjoyable day being shown blacksmithing techniques by a knowledgeable and interesting teacher. Alex gave precise demonstrations of each technique required for the finished article and then let you copy these on to your own work giving advise and help when required. I was involved with the whole manufacture with Alex`s guidance from design to finished product and very pleased with the result which now has pride of place in my garden as a permanent reminder of a brilliant day spent in the forge. I highly recommend this course to anybody interested in decorative ironwork. Thanks Alex
Ken Gosling - - #10554
Had a great day at the forge with Alex. It was the first time that I done any blacksmithing, so I was a little apprehensive. I needn't have worried - Alex explained and demonstrated the techniques very well. I was pleasantly surprised at what could be achieved in a day with his help and guidance. I now have a pair of fire tongs that I'm really pleased with. His courses are very popular and I can see why!
Roger Sinnhuber - - #10337
Really really good couple of days with Alex. Proper hands on course. No classroom stuff just a great style of teaching through years of experience. Alex puts you at ease with the tools and the processes from the word go. You look at options on the best way to make something and overcome any hiccups on the way. You get stuck in from the word go and every bit of it is interesting. You choose a design (I wanted to make a billhook which involved a lot of different processes and loads of hammering) and look at whether it is possible. Then you make it using Alex' expert tuition and muscles you've forgotten exist. It delivered exactly what I hoped. Great fun. Ive been recommending the course to all of my freinds. Still smiling two weeks later.
Allen Lee - - #10272
A really amazing experience. Alex is gets the balance just right; he teaches you a technique, and once you've got the idea he lets you carry on with it on your own until you're ready for the next bit. He was very patient and helped me make a piece I am extremely proud of. I recommend the course to any one who will listen!
Alastair - - #10246
Had a fantastic day with Alex, his knowledge and teaching was first class. Really hard work but so much fun, would recommend it to anyone to have a go.
David bunce - - #10243
What a 'smashing' way to spend a couple of days learning new skills. Alex is patient, creative and very good at tailoring your course to allow you to achieve the best product you can within your course time frame. If you are quicker than planned, them he encourages you to make other smaller items so you leave with a great experience.
Whether it is a gift for others or a treat for yourself the course is great value.
Kevin Germany - - #9783
This is a brilliant day out/course with a first rate tutor. You can do as much (or little) as you want in beautiful and interesting surroundings (all sorts of things to take in eg. Electronics museum , guided 20s bus tour etc if you have the time and inclination). I brought some of my own bits to play with in the forge and lost several pounds (weight) chopping holes in and hammering away at hot steel. A made to measure jacking saddle wes produced (by joint efforts) . Alex is a mine of useful information and can obviously handle both first timers and those who have a bit more ironwork experience. An ideal present and thoroughly enjoyable day out.
Peter Stage - - #9722
I had a thoroughly enjoyable day at the Forge and was impressed by how many different techniques and concepts I was able to get a taste of in just one day.
Alex is a skilled teacher who gets the balance of showing you the ropes and allowing you to get on and work for yourself just right. His experience and creativity were evident: having arrived without really knowing what was possible or what best to make in a day, Alex led me through a design and making process and I went home with a coat rack, which I am suitably proud of.
A really positive experience and one I'd happily recommend to anyone.
Andy Moreman - - #9621
This was a birthday present from my wife and something I have always wanted to do. Suffice to say that I was not disappointed! I have nearly 30 years worth of mechanical skills and metal fabrication behind me and throughout the day I still learnt more things than I could imagine. The course is obviously very hands on, and be prepared to have to concentrate, have attention to detail and don't rush. You will be very pleased as to what you can achieve in a single day. Prepare to use muscles you didn't know about and to get cooked occasionally - all part of the fun! Well worthwhile and thoroughly recommended for anybody with a practical lean who wants to learn the basics of the art of forgework and blacksmithing. To do it properly takes years of training and practice, but for one day - can't be beaten! Many thanks.
Mark Wilson - - #9432
What a great day I had with Alex!
An excellent tutor who expertly guided me through the art of making a wrought iron shovel. I was very proud of the finished article!
Thank you again Alex!
PhilipWilliams - - #9027
What a great day! Alex was fantastic and taught me so much in just one day. It was so rewarding to learn new skills and put them into practice and I now have a set of hinges for my bathroom door! I left with exhausted but with a real sense of achievement. Thank you Alex you are a wonderful and patient teacher! I would thoroughly recommend him.
Sarah S - - #8980
This course was absolutely amazing, in the space of one day Alex managed to teach me loads of blacksmithing skills. 100% recommend this course
Will collins - - #8861
As a Welder Fabricator for over 30 years it came as a pleasant surprise to be shown by Alex a new set of skills to add to my arsenal.
Absolutely loved it.
Well done Alex for teaching an old dog some new tricks.
Barry Miller - - #8795
I recently did a two day course with Alex. Even before the course started Alex was very helpful with organising my dates, sending out course material and even giving instructions on how to find the forge. Alex was very friendly from the moment I poked my head through the forge door and introduced myself. We spent some time deciding what I could achieve in two days and jumped straight in with a ram's head poker. Alex showed me each stage and then it was down to me. He got the level of supervision just right, as I was allowed to get on with it without feeling I was being watched but always knowing that Alex was there to ask questions or jump in to make sure I was heading in the right direction.
Lunch was provided by Alex at the Museum cafe and that was a good chance to have a nice chat and find out more about him.
On the second day I made a six foot lily with two leaves. Alex was very helpful with the design but always allowing me to make the final decision before we moved on to the next stage. He was on hand to weld the bits together but left me to do the grinding and sanding, although if you're not confident with the power tools thenI'm sure he'd do that for you too.
Alex is clearly a very talented blacksmith but he is equally adept at passing on his skills in a friendly, inclusive and patient manner. I had a total blast for those two days and fully expect to go back at some point and carry on learning. If you're even the slightest bit interested in working with metal, from novice upwards, then I would highly recommend contacting Alex for a great and instructive experience. Thanks Alex, I will be back!
Bob Antonini - - #8674
I really enjoyed my day blacksmithing with Alex! It was a fun day and I learnt a lot. Alex helped me make a large poppy sculpture on a one day course and I took away some ideas to use in my job as a goldsmith as well. Amberley is such a lovely place to spend the day and I would highly recommend the course to anyone!
Melanie - - #8246
I was bought this course as a Birthday present by my wife and what a present it was! I had a really great time at the forge learnt a hell of a lot and it was taught very well indeed. Couldn't recommend it highly enough.
Anthony Howard - - #7968
Fantastic two days spent making a hanging basket holder in the shape of a dragon. I would recommend this course to anyone and everyone
Nigel Wickham - - #7197
I had the best day with Alex. It was hard work but worth every second and Alex made it pretty easy to understand the basics as well as feel comfortable the whole day.
Would do again
James woodford - - #6669
I had a fantastic two days at the forge. Alex is really helpful and passionate about his craft, and helpful and pleasant company. On the last day I was running very late completing my piece, but he was perfectly happy to wait until I had finished quietly offering advice until I had finished. I cannot recommend him enough.
Mark - - #6420
An absolutely first class course. Alex has an excellent knowledge of the skills and provides brilliant explanation as to the processes and the theory.
I fully intend to go back and do a bit more as the experiences and the skills acquired are priceless. The best birthday present I have ever had and I urge anyone considering the- day course to have a go at it.
Rod Bruce - - #6398
To celebrate our 8th year wedding anniversary I booked my husband and I a 1 day course at Chalk Pit forge which is set in a beautiful historic work shop museum full of interesting buildings.Alex was really welcoming and made us feel very relaxed and ready to learn the basic skills of black smithing. He shared a lot of his designs and pictures of previous work to inspire us on what we wanted to achieve. We decide on a dragon shaped door knocker and Alex showed us the various techniques and made a demonstration on how to heat and work the metal into shape. We were delighted with the results and we managed to learn a lot throughout the day. Alex is an amazing teacher, he explained every step very clearly and easily to understand. The day was so enjoyable and the fact that we managed to make something special to remember our wedding anniversary was great. We really recommend this course and Alex as a teacher. Awsome unforgettable day.
Fabi - - #5800
For my 21st birthday I wanted a gift that was a bit more interesting and sentimental rather than a materialistic handbag or similar, so I asked my parents for a blacksmith lesson. It is located in chalk put forge which is a great place to go in itself. Straight away before I had even met Alex, he was so friendly and helpful- even helping me with directions before I got there! Given I didn't know anything about black smiths or how it works, Alex explained everything really well and was very patient with all the questions I had! I was also a bit indecisive about what I wanted to make so Alex showed me lots of things that I could make and what techniques I would be learning by choosing different items to make. I made some lillies and I am so proud of them. When anyone has seen them in my garden I have received so many compliments. I am very weak in my arms but Alex helped me when my arms got a bit achy. I would really recommend having a black smith lesson with Alex; he is so friendly and easy to get on with and he is a very talented man who makes everything he does look so easy! Whether you are male or female, old or young, it is a great thing to try out or give to someone as a gift. Not only is it a great experience but they will also have something that they can keep for life afterwards!
Laura c - - #5791
This was a Christmas Present and i can only repeat what everyone else has said,had a great day and learnt so much ,Alex made this course so interesting an relaxed that the effort of swinging the hammer was a pleasure. thank you Alex
Alan Mayell - - #5388
I attended the day with my partner and son. Alex could not have been more helpful or friendly. I was making a kinetic sculpture for my final project at college for which I obtained a distinction and Alex's help was invaluable.
The setting for the course is beautiful ,we had a taste-vin lunch included in the cost overall we all had a brilliant day .
My 20 year old son enjoyed it so much that he intends to go back and do a longer course.
I would recommend this course to any one who wanted to try something different .
Elaine hughes - - #5382
I really enjoyed it, a great day. Alex's skill at guiding me through the process was really appreciated, it is something that a lot of teachers can not get right but you do it to perfection. Very enjoyable highly recommended.
Chris Donovan - - #5094
I had a great day making a ram's head poker - fantastic introduction to an age-old skill and a chance to try a number of different techniques. Alex was a great tutor and very patient - the process is broken down into a series of manageable stages, and whilst there is a lot to take in, I never once felt overwhelmed - he managed to pitch it to just the right level. Would definitely recommend!
Alex Steer - - #5068
The 5 star ratings in other reviews is well deserved. This is an excellent introduction to the art of the blacksmith in a lovely setting.
Alex is friendly and relaxed but there is little opportunity rest. I could have done with bigger biceps! :)
If you are interested in metal working, this course is thoroughly recommended.
John Gill - - #5053
This was my second visit to see and work with Alex after a really enjoyable first experience, the second visit did not disappoint. I made another matching garden obelisk to match my first visit. Alex is friendly, patient, supportive and allows you to push yourself so you can get what you want out of the day. Also had the bonus of lunch being included. It's a great experience in a great place and its really enjoyable skill and material to work with.
Paul Stacey - - #5032
This was my second visit to the forge, as I had such a great day out the first time. I had a candle stick project in mind which Alex said was achievable in the one day. We did a lot of forging but the best bit was fire welding which I had always seen done but did not know how the process worked. I was a bit nervous but Alex is a good and patient teacher, and he was happy to answer all my questions, I had a really good and interesting day.
I would highly recommend his one day course.
Keith Knight - - #4998
My wife bought me the course as a Xmas present. Had a really good interesting day with Alex, where I made a snail letter rack. Alex is a first class teacher and happy to answer all the questions I had - highly recommended.
Mark Frost - - #4989
It would appear that everyone gives Alex a Five Star review and I have to agree with them all. I had a great day making (like many others) a Rams Head Poker and yet feel I had created something unique. Alex makes the whole experience interesting and fun taking you through each process but leaving you to do all the work on your piece, whilst keeping a watchful eye, so if you do go wrong he'll point it out before any disaster occurs.
This was a Christmas present that I was never going to guess, I hadn't done any Metalwork since I was at school in 1972, yet thanks to Alex I walked out with my poker and everyone (thus far) has been mightily impressed – and it works a treat in our wood burner.
Thanks for a brilliant day Alex.
Robin Seccombe - - #4968
I had a great day at the forge, Alex was a great teacher, patient & informative, I really learnt a lot and came away with a wonderful ornament for my garden. I hope to go again, a fabulous day.
Nikki Avery - - #4935
One day course was great fun, a good mix of tuition and being left to have a go (in a safe controlled way). I made a Rams Head poker which is used with pride and joy even when the fire doesn't need it :).
I would recommend this course to anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like. Alex is very skilled and good company.
simon corrie - - #4915
I am 15 and got this course as a present from my parents. Alex was a fantastic teacher who excelled in guiding me through the process with much support and wisdom. It was a very fun experience and I learnt a lot about a craft that I was interested in. It was also a very rewarding feeling to have the end result, a rams head toasting fork.
Joshua Williams - - #4850
I am 15 and got this course as a present from my parents. Alex was a fantastic teacher who excelled in guiding me through the process with much support and wisdom. It was a very fun experience and I learnt a lot about a craft that I was interested in. It was also a very rewarding feeling to have the end result.
Joshua Williams - - #4849
My 1-day course was a 65th birthday present from my wife, bought after we'd enjoyed a day out to this incredible museum, a hidden gem! As well as being a master craftsman, Alex is a natural tutor brimming with enthusiasm for his craft and infinitely patient in explaining the basic techniques. He has a real gift for sensing how far to leave you to practice what he's shown but always willing to step in and guide, help or takeover as he senses you need. I made a pair of log tongues with pteradactyl handles and two garden lampholders which will have pride of place round my yet-to-be-built fire pit. I came away with an even greater respect for this centuries old craft.
Mike Eyre - - #4822
A superb course and an excellent, patient tutor. I came to Alex with a wish list of skills to try as long as my arm - forge welding, upsetting, drawing down, annealing, normalising, hardening, tempering, bending, twisting, tool manufacture etc etc - we pretty much accomplished the lot in a long hot day at the forge. Alex really knows his stuff and is a very capable tutor. Your experience will be very hands on from the word go. 5***** and looking forward to another session in the future. Cheers.
Scotty Dodd - - #4745
I was given a one day course as a birthday present and greatly enjoyed it! I made the rams head poker, which allowed me to learn all sorts of techniques. Alex was a great teacher, and even as a complete novice beforehand I felt like I knew what I was doing! Came away with a great piece, an amazing experience (and quite a few aches!). Would recommend to anyone interested in giving it a go.
William Finnie - - #4668
I was bought a 2 day blacksmith course as a Christmas present with Alex, and was not disappointed. Alex is a very patient and knowledgeable instructor with a passion for his work and encourages you have a go at whatever you want to design and make. He keeps you topped up with tea and biscuits whenever you need a break, and the Amberley museum is a great place to have a go at being a smithy. I was pleased with the items I made which was a rams head poker and a large standard light, which was quite challenging due to the size of the piece, but Alex kept me on track and I was pleasantly surprised to get in finished by the end of the second day. I would definitely recommend him to complete beginners or those with some blacksmith experience looking to expand their skills.
Keith Franklin - - #4591
I was bought a day at the forge as a (surprise) birthday present and had a fantastic time. Alex is a very patient and knowledgeable teacher. I would certainly recommend this for anyone with an interest in metalwork or even just the desire for an adventurous day out. The items I made are in use - a dragon's head shoe horn and two ornate lantern brackets (now with lanterns, very pretty).
Luke Mortimer - - #3718
Always wanted to have a go at blacksmithing and I think this was probably the best introduction I could have had. Alex is clearly a very gifted blacksmith (and very nice bloke); his style of instruction is patient and clear and there is no time wasted - from the start you are at the forge and hammering away. Embarrassingly proud of the rams head tongs I made - could not recommend this more highly.
Tom - - #3710
My husband and I did the one day course, we both had a fantastic day, we made some coat hocks for some drift wood we had. Alex is a very good teacher, patient and explains things very well. My husband had great fun doing some fire welding. We would both highly recommend Alex, Thank you for a great day.5
Sara Brown - - #3577
I enjoyed the one day introduction to blacksmithing so much, that this is my second time visiting. Alex is knowledgeable and keen to pass on the experience that he has. I would thoroughly recommend this as a day out as there is something elemental and relaxing about clouting red hot metal and turning it into something useful and beautiful.
Ben Sylvester - - #3546
This course was a fantastic experience, and I got a useful object out of it afterwards! It was very informative, hands on and concise. Chatting over tea and biscuit breaks were also an absolute pleasure, and a great way to recharge and cool down before returning to the heat of the furnace. I'm definitely going to try to pursue this as a hobby from now on, seeing as I've had such a positive experience with it right off the bat!
11/10 would strongly recommend even to people who have never considered blacksmithing before.
Mike Bailey - - #3544
A brief chat changed my unrealistic expectations into a plan that was achievable in a day. No, I couldn't manage to turn out a full size replica of the Tour Eiffel, but I could create an amazing piece of garden art.
Learning the basics of fire and tool management I began to turn a flat piece of metal and bar into something with shape, form and texture. Alex was encouraging, knowledgeable and adaptable, not to mention patient. He watched and waited for me to achieve the action, suggesting alternative methods, rather than stepping in and taking over.
I don't know how you can call a day relaxing, when you spend 8 hours on your feet, swinging a hammer, pounding away, but it was just that. Beautiful surroundings, charming tutor and a truly unique object, an amazing day.
Regrets? Absolutely - the day job getting in the way of returning every day. Will definitely be back.
Thanks Alex for an inspirational day
Gill Cox - - #3542
Alex was an excellent teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed the course and learnt everything I need to get me started, and more. I came away with lots of things that I never thought I would be capable of making.
Alex made it not only informative but also very interesting. I would definitely recommend him to complete beginners and look forward to returning for a second course once I have put what he taught me into practise.
Thanks Alex, I look forward to my return trip.
Chas Blundell - - #3534
My wife treated me to a one-day blacksmithing course with Alex as a birthday treat. An excellent decision! Alex is a patient and encouraging instructor. He keeps you busy for the full day,which all adds to the sense of enjoyment. I went home with a delightful triple candle holder, which now has pride of place on our dining table.
A wonderful experience, and highly recommended.
Hugh Jones - - #3533
My one day course at Chalkpit Forge was a Christmas present from my wife, following a visit to a smithy in Devon where I was allowed briefly to try out my skills with a hammer (neglected for 60 years).
Alex Smith treated us to a most rewarding day, making a new design of candlestick, with me as striker and my wife as artistic director! Alex's easy teaching manner and superb skills at the hearth and anvil made the day memorable. And I now have a unique candle holder to light us to bed!
Jim Green - - #3532
I was bought a week-end of forging with Alex as a birthday present. I last worked with metal 40 years ago when I was 11, and it’s been something I have wanted to do again ever since. My astute wife picked up on my mutterings and there I was in the dimness of the forge (so you can see the different colours of the metal in the furnace) not knowing what to expect. Alex’ approach was exactly as I wanted. A calm and patient tutor, but very much hands off. This is your project, you are the designer, I will show you the techniques, now get on with it. Over the course of the week-end I learnt a whole range of forging techniques and made a rams head front door knocker. Quite a large one at that, and one that will now require a new front door on which to mount it. Seeing as until then the sum of what I had done with metal was drilling and sawing, I’m really quite proud of what I achieved.
If this is your thing, I can’t recommend this week-end highly enough. Not only is Alex a great tutor but he has a good line in banter too. His calm observations on life complement very much what he does for a living, and you will come away from the experience all the richer for it. And as a bonus, his forge is set in a working museum, so by chance I had free entry to an Alfa Romeo day. All in all a great week-end. Thank you Alex (and my wife for the present of course!)
charlie wale - - #3459
My husband knowing I always fancied having a go, treated me to this one day course for my 50th birthday. I knew what I wanted to make and Alex was up for it and so made a 5ft garden osbliske for my mop head hydrangea in the garden. It took all day and I had to weld it together later at home in our shed with my son's help. It was hard work and hot but I really had a brillant day, so much so, that my daughter commented on the way home that I look like a chimney sweep, my face being black from working on the forge. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and now wish to continue, Alex was great and very patient. So ladies, (and men) Blacksming is so rewarding and it's not just for boys!
Janet Pierpoint - - #3401
We bought a one day course for our friend's 40th birthday - she had an excellent time (and so did I watching). As other reviewers have said Alex demonstrates and then it's your turn. Gradually taking you through each stage of the process and answering questions. My friend went home a very happy customer with a much-admired ram's head poker. I was very impressed.
Jeannette - - #3289
I attended the one day course today and had a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Alex's blacksmithing skills are second to none and his ability to teach blacksmithing to someone with no prior experience is amazing. Just the right balance of tuition and time for hands on practice. The fact that the forge is within Amberley Museum only adds to the experience. I cannot thank Alex enough for his patience and encouragement and I wholeheartedly recommend the course to anyone.
Steve - - #3105
I did a two day course with Alex and it was great fun! I made a candle stick holder and a rams head poker. Both were very interesting things to make and combined a number of different techniques. Alex's approach is to demonstrate a technique and then supervise while you to try it for yourself. This worked well as it means that the final item you end up with is completely your own work - from the initial design to the final finished piece. I learnt so much on both days and would love to go back in future. To top it off, my candle stick holder got full approval from the other half so it's made it to a prime location on top of the dining room table! Well chuffed! : )
Rob Baker - - #3050
I have worked at a forge for 5 years and learned more in one day with Alex than my entire training so far, I cannot reccomend this highly enough for anyone who wants to learn from a highly skilled Blacksmith, Alex is patient, informative and willing to allow a great amount of free reign and hands on experience. It is very humbling to be able to learn some time honored skills from someone who has spent their years perfecting and mastering a now rare trade, perhaps one of the most striking things about the experience was that Alex is so willing to pass his skills and knowledge to his customers, I shall keep his helpful advice and information with me every time I light the forge, and I shall most definately be back! Thank you Alex.
Peter Barnes - - #2768
My sons bought me a 2-day course for my 60th and I can't thank them enough for it. I had two days of excellent tuition by Alex, giving me the confidence to try all the techniques that I needed to produce more work than I had expected and very pleased with my pieces.
I would highly recommend this to anyone - if you have ever thought about it, go try it!
Chris Hope - - #2754
I have attended several day courses with Alex over the past 4 years. Alex is a highly experienced and knowledgeable Blacksmith who will tailor the session to suit your needs and experience. The location and setting within the Amberley Chalk pit Museum complex adds to the whole experience and provides a real feeling of how the craft was practiced during an age when Blacksmiths were an integral part of everyday village life.
Martin Wood - - #2663
It was great being able to make a poker from scratch with no prior experience and being able to take it home and use it. Very satisfying.
Tristan Parr - - #2616
A most enjoyable day spent with Alex at his forge. His easy manner and patience when demonstrating techniques and his 1:1 teaching were a joy. His knowledge of Blacksmithing is awesome. I choose to make a hanging basket bracket which I had thought may have been too much for a novice in one day, but Alex demonstrated all the techniques required as we went along and I bashed hot metal under his ever watchful eye. Hard work but great fun and at the end of the day one completed bracket, which will have pride of place outside the front door. I would thoroughly recommend a day with Alex at his forge you will learn so much from a man who knows his stuff.
Keith Knight - - #2599
I bought my son a 1 day course for his birthday because he had been nagging me to try this for over 18 months; Alex was kind and patient and with his expert guidance my 15 yr old crafted a most beautiful poker which is now prized possession. I was impressed by the level of craftsmanship accomplished in one day and the fact that Alex allowed my relatively young and inexperienced son so much freedom with the work. I would recommend this course, not least because of the beautiful and fascinating setting,
Liz Pearce - - #2595
I had a fantastic time doing the one day course last September which I received as a birthday present. I made a Rams Head Poker for our wood burner which I am very proud of. I certainly ached a bit the following day but would jump at the chance to do more.
Alex is really nice, very patient and a great teacher. His style of teaching by demonstrating the techniques as we went along rather than doing it all for you, means that I can look at my Rams Head Poker and know I made it 100% myself. My family were really impressed, and it sits pride of place by the fireplace. I would recommend this course without hesitation - excellent.
Howard Smith - - #2591
I attended the second day of a two day course for my wife. Alex is an excellent teacher, calm, clear and the sort of patience that I've not seen for a long time! We came away with some nice pieces and (I think) the ability to reproduce should we happen across a forge somewhere. I would whole-heartedly recommend spending some time with Alex if this sort of thing interests you. He's got a nice list of things to make if you're not sure. If you do have a project in mind, he seemed more than willing to work with you to develop something unique. Book a course and get it 'otter!
Jon - - #2589
You got to do it, male, female, it does not matter, the only way you can appreciate and understand the work that goes into blacksmithing is to do it yourself. If you're wondering about the cost, then don't, where else these days can you get a full days tuition, one to one, and enjoy every minute of every hour. Good luck ALEX see you again, Ian
Ian Dewey- 19th April
Ian Dewey - - #2553
Joining Alex for a day's blacksmithing in the historic and beautiful surroundings of Chalk Pit Forge is an experience not to be missed. He is a calm, patient and humble teacher who is passionate about what he does and wants to share that passion. My Ram's head poker is now centre stage by my stove. Every time I jab it into the fire, I do so with pride! Thanks Alex!
Harry Newington - - #2552
This course was a birthday present. I was studying GCSE Resistant Materials, and Alex was brilliant, not only as a teacher, but in helping me to contextualise everything to my schoolwork. I made two handles for my school project, and Alex was patient and his expertise was just amazing - I was very happy to realise that he let me do everything myself! I really gained confidence with metalwork under his tuition. Having Alex as a teacher was truly inspirational and I would recommend taking a course with him in a heartbeat.
Arielle Johnson - - #2528
Spent the day with Alex and made a Rams head poker, I really didn't think I would manage to make it in one day but I did. It was such an amazing day and Alex is such a great teacher. Really am pleased with the result. Enjoyed it
So much I booked my dad on a course for his birthday. Everyone comments on the poker at how good it is! I would recommend anyone giving it a go!
Jon - - #2527
Absolutely fantastic, thoroughly nice bloke. Completely understands whatever your capabilities are and can guide you through anything you want to do. Very knowledgeable man, any questions I asked, he was able to explain both simply and in detail. I will be whole-heartedly recommending this to my friends and family
Josiah Jones - - #2519
The course was a 60th birthday present from my family who knew I was keen to try my hand at blacksmithing.
Alex is a truly inspirational teacher. Under his patient, hands on, and very thorough one to one instruction, we were working the whole day, with a break for lunch and refreshments.
The time flew by. I learned a great deal, and haven't enjoyed myself so much for years.
There is nothing quite like getting to grips with a forge, hot metal and the right tools and producing something unique!
With Alex's friendly and expert help you can make it happen, give it a try!
Jon Little - - #2513
I was given a one day course with Alex as a Christmas present by my family. I thoroughly enjoyed it for many reasons, but primarily because Alex is not only an excellent teacher but also very good company. Alex has got the balance just right between showing/explaining how to do things and letting you have a go, which is important if you only have a day - too little tuition and you'll end up frustrated as you mess it up, but too much and you'll not get to have much of a go yourself. We jumped straight in and learned as we went along, which was perfect, and I got to try lots of different techniques too. Alex is also more than happy to explain the reasons why things are done as they are, which I found really interesting. The day left me wanting to find out more about blacksmithing in terms of the theory and science behind it, as well as wanting to have another go at bashing things, all of which speaks volumes for the course. My wife and son came down with me (it was the school holidays) and there was lots for them to see/do at the museum while I was on the course, but Alex also made them feel welcome to the forge and was more than happy to show and explain what I doing to a curious 12-year old - he'd now like to have a go when he's old enough. Beautiful location too. Definitely recommended.
David Wilson - - #2499
The blacksmithing course was a present. Probably because I had said I very much enjoyed metalwork and welding at school- best part of 40 years ago. Alex explained everything very clearly and answered my numerous questions. He is a good teacher. Don’t be afraid if you’ve never done this before, it’s great fun and satisfying to create something. I would recommend it to everyone. I made a chestnut roaster, which is well used and much admired. Ask to see the photos of some of the work Alex has done. Very impressive.
David Beer - - #2498
I am 77 years of age and this course was a present from my family.I had a wonderful day, learnt a lot Alex was a great teacher patient and informative.I would recommend this course for anyone who would like to learn Blacksmithing.
Raymond hunt - - #2495
This was a present and something I wanted to do. It was one of the best days I've had. Alex is a brilliant tutor, and helped me acheive what I wanted to make- a garden obelisk. I learnt an awful lot during the day and we used many techniques. Quite frankly one of the best creative things you can do. The forge is in the attractive surrounds of amberley chalk pit. My only regret is that I have not been back again.
Paul Stacey - - #2492
Hi...had a one day course as a present ...brilliant!
Loved it...now I just need to get my own forge ... Plus maybe a bit more tuition!
Alex was a great teacher...very patient and attentive....chuffed to see my door grill in the pics too :0)
I would thoroughly recommend it, and certainly be happy to go again
Charlie Batty - - #2490
I attended a one day Blacksmithing course at Amberley Chalk Pits Museum, which was given as a Christmas present, and found it to be one of the most instructive and enjoyable things I have done. The one to one tuition was excellent, to a degree that at the end of my day I had achieved a level of skill sufficient to produce a wrought iron door knocker which now has pride of place on my stable door. I would recommend this course for its friendly, instructive and relaxed approach to this skill and look forward to attending further courses at this venue.
Colin Palser - - #2487
Great fun you get very dirty and hot and very tired and ache the next day and if there is something you want to make its even better as its quite rewarding . I loved it .....
Barry moore - - #2481
I was given a days course as a Christmas present. Made a rams head poker and a plant pot wall mount. As an engineer i found it very interesting, in no time at all i was at the hot end and the whole day went by very very quickly, the skill and patience of the man is just amazing.
If i am ever lucky enough to do it again iI think i may ask for the anvil to be raised. at 6ft 4 it was a bit low and although during the course it didn't bother me, it certainly did the next day, and the next.
If your reading this and wondering if you should do it. Phone him and do it. you won't regret it
Neil Tonks - - #2465
Had a great day and was put to 'work' in minutes, made a Rams head poker with an attachment to open the woodburner plus some lantern stands for the garden. Tutorial style is very much talk, show, your turn, with encouragement all the way.
Fabulous place to have a go at an ancient craft. Low tech, high skill, great fun.
Alex - - #2464
One day course bought for me as a present by my wife. Slightly apprehensive due to slightly arthritic wrists and very cold day that I chose to attend! Once started the time flew, Alex kept me working hard and I didn't have time to think about how I was feeling. Good instructor and very supportive of my efforts and design chosen. Resulted eventually in the component parts for a section of a wrought gate at home. A robin sitting on a branch, with leaves, in a hoop of metal - all ready to weld into the gate. Came away feeling very chuffed with myself and proud of what I had achieved. Recommend it to anybody who likes to create beautiful items and fancies having a go in metal. It is great fun.
Martin Holland - - #2460
I had a one day course bought as a Father's Day present last year. I was apprehensive about attending the day but needn't have worried. Alex welcomed me and put me at ease straight away. It was a brilliant day and I made a plant hanger and 2 garden stakes. Alex was there to help and advise every step of the way. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone. It was just brilliant and Alex was extremely helpful. I would like to have another day there and hope I get another surprise gift this year to spend another day there5
Nigel fry - - #2454
I did a one day course with Alex. I made a flower pot stand and a couple of lantern hooks for the garden and was very impressed with the way in which Alex demonstrates the techniques used and does not let you stand about, you are shown and then it is your turn to imitate.
I was amazed how quick you pick up the art of bending and curling metal with just heat,hammer and anvil.
Brilliant day out for me and would highly recommend it if you want to have a go.
I found it facinating and Fun.
David Wallace - - #2453
I did this one day course together with my daughter. Alex was an excellent tutor and very patient! We made a poker and a candle stick which we are still very proud of. I would wholeheartedly recommend anyone trying it.
Richard Ord - - #2451
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