"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."
"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"
"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."
"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."
"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!"
"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!)"
"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!"
"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."
"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."
"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! : )"
"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."
"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!"
"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."
"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."
"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,"
"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."
"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!"
"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"
"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!"
"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."
"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!"
"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"
"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!"
"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."