Great day. Never done forge metalworking before but Spike explained and demonstrated every process clearly and then supported me through making my own knife, which I now have to keep.
I spent two days at the Bearded Pig Forge with Spike as a course bought for me as a gift. It was one of the single most fun and interesting experiences I’ve had.
Spike is incredibly patient and very easy to work with, offering help and guidance whenever you need or want it. Clearly a very good teacher! He is also very knowledgable and clearly passionate about his craft which adds even more to the experience.
It is hard work but you definitely get as much out of it as you put in. I would recommend a course with Spike to anyone and everyone. Will definitely be looking at going back and working on another project.
I received this present as a gift after geeking out on forged in fire and I wanted to try and see how hard it was. The answer is that it was harder and easier!
It takes a lot longer than you think to work the metal and it's quite technical in places. What I found though was that Spike was infinitely patient, allowing you to work after he demonstrated the techniques and then making suggestions to improve your own technique. I felt like the work I produced was mine even though Spike gave me as much or as little guidance as I needed.
He is a good teacher and it is obviously something he is passionate and skilled at. He was keen to pass on these skills.
I highly recommended this course to anyone.
As fans of the TV series ‘Forged in Fire’ I thought this would make the perfect Christmas gift for my boyfriend and let’s just say it didn’t disappoint. Spike is extremely knowledgable in his field and clearly very passionate about what he does. He also makes a mean BLT!
My boyfriend and I are complete novices, but with Spike’s teaching were able to make some great knives. What a fantastic day and a unique experience. Thanks so much Spike.
Spent a fantastic day at the bearded pig forge with Spike. Decided to male a knife which went way better than i expected. Spike is a great teacher and extremely informative. If you looking for something a little different as a present or a day or so learning this amazing craft i couldnt recommend Spike highly enough.
Had a great day with Spike. Made a bracket for a hanging basket in the garden. Learnt lots about blacksmithing, both practical and theory. Great guy to learn from as he has a very wide knowledge and is happy to answer all your questions. Also a wood turner which I didn't know in advance and pleased me no end. If you are interested in something new and quite different I would recommend this course. As someone else said, he makes a lovely BLT sandwich!
Amazing day with Spike, the course was everything I hoped it would be and more! Spike's an excellent teacher that allows you get on while keeping an expert eye on you. I can't rate this experience highly enough.
One of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences I've ever had!
I've been an avid watcher of 'Forged in Fire' for several years, and commented to my wife how much I'd like to make my own knife - and so, for my 50th birthday, I was given vouchers for a course from friends and family. I did my research, and booked my course with Spike, based on the excellent reviews on this website. Spike's communication was excellent throughout our correspondence, and I booked a two-day knife making course with the intention of making a kitchen knife; something of which I could make good use following my experience.
The cost was £250, for two full days of one-to-one tuition with all materials etc provided. I personally find this to be extremely good value.
Please bear in mind that Spike's courses are extremely popular - weekend courses are booked for months to come. I was able to sort dates for week days, and still had to wait for a couple of months. Spike adheres to a very strict cancellation policy, which I feel is absolutely fair - it's his living after all...
I would recommend getting in touch as soon as possible, particularly if you have vouchers with with a run-out date.
On the first day of the course, Spike started with a safety brief, which of course is extremely important as you will be forging metal at extremely high temperatures. All requisite safety equipment is provided, and suitable footwear/clothing must be worn at all times
Spike illustrated every concept of forging, before letting me get stuck in. We started with my billet of high carbon steel, which was heated in a coal forge, then 'drawn out' to a suitable length before starting on the tang (the thinner piece to which to handle is attached). Spike then demonstrated how to create the curvature of the blade by hammering on the anvil. At the end of the first day, I had created my basic blade shape.
The second day comprised of several techniques - 'quenching' (hardening), grinding to shape, heating and punching a hole in the tang for the pin, attaching the handle etc...all done in a traditional manner with no power tools (other than the belt-grinder).
What really impressed me was that Spike never took my work from me to start each process - he demonstrated forging techniques on a different piece of metal - this really was going to be a knife that I made.
Throughout the course, I really enjoyed talking to Spike. He's a very easy-going and incredibly knowledgeable guy. There was so much that we chatted about which aided to a very relaxing and enjoyable experience.
At the end of the course, my only disappointment was that I didn't get the handle finished - I had the daunting task of shaping the wood at home. I'd never done woodwork before. Spike instructed me what to do, and with a couple of hours work on the following day, my knife was finished. I was absolutely delighted with the final result - a fully functional (and very sharp) kitchen knife that will last for many years.
My plan is to look after it well and leave it to one of my children whenever 'that time' comes. As I have two children, I will most definitely be booking another course with Spike in the future...
Absolutely loved my knife making course - Spike is so knowledgeable and passionate about blacksmithing and both myself and my husband who came along as a guest learnt so much. It's a great laid back atmosphere and don't worry if you've never made anything out of metal before, Spike is on hand to give you tips and direct you on how to turn a lump of metal into something more interesting! We will be returning to do some of the longer courses soon. Thanks Spike for a great day!
I attended the 1-day knife making course as a guest, I bought the experience for my wife for Christmas. As usual, I left things right to the last minute but Spike made sure I received my wife's gift voucher in time.
From the moment we got to the forge Spike made us feel completely at home, his relaxed manner coupled with both his extensive historical and scientific knowledge made the day one of the best experiences I've been to, and I was just spectating!
Furthermore, there will be only one request for my birthday present, a day at Spike's forge!
p.s. he makes an awesome BLT sandwich!
If asked to sum up this course in a single word, I'd have to say:
I've been on a lot of craft courses over the years, from making Tudor Christmas Decorations to building a Cob Oven, and my day at the Bearded Pig Forge was easily the best to date.
Bearing in mind I'm a complete novice working with orange-hot metal, heavy hammers, super-sharp blades and a crazy-fast belt sander, Spike (the blacksmith) was immensely calm and patient, only stepping in when I was in danger of losing an eye, ;-) setting fire to myself and the forge or, worse of all, messing up my knife! He explained and demonstrated everything clearly and concisely and answered all of my questions in much the same way.
Added to that is the fact it was a lovely, sunny day in glorious surroundings and that Spike is great company, it was - in a word - brilliant.
Next stop: axe-making!
I had a one day course and feel very proud of the knife that I made with Spike’s expert tuition. A very enjoyable day which I hope to repeat and would highly recommend. Spike is very knowledgeable and passionate about his craft and very good at sharing this his student in a way that I could understand and apply.
I had a day course with Spike and decided to bring my own design.
This was a pruning knife with a curved blade.
With Spikes guidance this was completed with time to spare.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable day, with Spikes easy way and excellent teaching.
Great one day knife making course at the Bearded Pig Forge. Spike is a patient and knowledgeable tutor. I'd really recommend this as a course for yourself or a gift. Thanks!
What a great day ,directions are clear and easy to follow.Spike made me feel very welcome at his forge and is very easy to talk to.
After a coffee followed by a saftey talk, then started with the knife making,spike is a very good teacher of his craft,and shares his knowledge and skills
with you, he shows you each process and talks you through each stage and explains why it is done that way .
I started the day unsure if i could achieve what i wanted ,before i knew it the day was over and i am now the proud owner of a great little knife made by myself,all thanks to Spike. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in knife making, hopefully i will be taking another course with him later in the year .
Was excited about doing something different and it didnt disappoint. Day was excellent and Spike was brilliant, even coping me being left handed. Spike is obviously passionate about his craft and loves to pass his knowledge on. Would recommend this day and looking to book the knife day
A really enjoyable and rewarding day with Spike, he was welcoming, informative and great fun. Something i’d been looking forward to and it didn’t disappoint. Looking forward to the next course already.
Absolutely loved every minute of the day! Spike was very welcoming, professional and an excellent teacher. Catered for everything throughout the day offered very good teaching tips and cues and allowed me to forge a Viking seax from scratch. Will definitely book to do another days experience loved it that much.
An all round fantastic day with spike who is knowlegable and an excellent teacher of this amazing craft.I will be booking another course in the future and would highly recommend that anyone wanting to give this a try look no further than the beardedpig forge
This course was awesome! Spike was great, helpful, encouraging, knew loads about the craft, the history, and the science of what we were doing. I was so happy with the knife I made, it's so pleasing to hold and feel and know that I made it from a bar of steel. I cannot recommend this course enough on every front! Thanks Spike!