"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!"
"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!
"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."
"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!"
"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"
"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!"
"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."
"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!"
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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!"
"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!"
"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."