We had a blast! I absolutely recommend this half-day course to any beginner! I am a woman, with not a lot of strength in my arms and moderately fit, and we came together with a guy friend. We both found it challenging in the arms (don't hesitate to ask for a lighter hammer sooner - 2.5kg was too much for me, but a lighter one was much better!) but oh so satisfying and fun. You get to do each step of the process yourself (except the differential tempering which requires experience).
Andy and Dave were super friendly and warm. They explained anything that needed explaining, gave proper demonstrations, answered all our questions; they corrected us and helped us out when necessary. This is a working forge, so most of the time we were left on our own to do our thing (which I really appreciated) but they kept an eye on us and checked in regularly. Sometimes they would rectify whatever needed rectifying, to make sure that, for example, no cracks were going to develop later, ruining our work.
I loved the forging bit. Using the belt grinder was a bit more challenging for me because I never used any power tools before, but given time to focus it actually got fun. Overall we ended up super happy and physically tired (in a good way!) and we have a beautiful custom knife that we can show off and use. Also, we had a bit of choice and liberty in the shape of it so our knives don't exactly look the same and that's satisfying.
The forge is a fun place to be in, with all the stuff and gear and the music around, and Andy and Dave working on their own projects. The price is very reasonable for the experience and result you get. I recommend this experience to all and especially to women who wonder if they'd like it or if they can do it. For me it was very new and exciting, and I'm sure you'll love it too!
This course was fantastic. I enjoyed every minute. Andy was great. Very friendly atmosphere. Instruction was clear and supervision was at just the right level. Andy allowed me to work independently and gave a true bladesmithing experience and avoided any over explanation or prolonged demonstration. This was truly hands on! Perfect experience!
Absolutely fantastic!! Andy was an awesome instructor. Clear instruction and guidance but didn't hover over you and let you get stuck in. Genuinely nice guys. I will be coming again 😁 thank you. Love my knife 👍
My wife bought me the 3 day sword course for my 50th and it was great! Andy was very informative and even though I've been in metalworking for most of my life I still learned a lot. Haven't stopped admiring my sword since I got back but be warned, after the course you will want to get your own forge, anvil and belt grinder to practise your new skills! My wife wasn't too happy with that bit.
When you arrive at the forge the sounds, smells and heat can be a little intimidating but have no fear. Within minutes Andy will have you swinging a hammer with glee as you begin to shape and craft your own knife from glowing hot steel.
The course is fun and informative from start to finish. Andy is always on hand to help correct mistakes and provide guidance.
A few points of advice.
1. Make sure you follow the suggestion above and take plenty of drinking water.
2. If you can secure yourself a pair or grip/impact supporting gloves for your hammer yielding hand you may save yourself the odd blister. If you can't then you'll still be able to hammer away so don't worry.
Enjoy your time in the forge. I certainly did and will be booking again in the near future.
No past experience with metal work or forging. Andy put us all at ease and made the day a fantastic memorable experience even with a trophy (knife) to bring home as well. I would definitely do again and definitely recommend it.
Absolutely brilliant!!! I got this as an anniversary present for my boyfriend who likes knives and does woodwork, so thought he would enjoy learning how to make a knife from the beginning. I was also taking part but didn’t expect to have so much fun doing it myself! Dave and Andy are both great and easy going lads, they made sure we were safe in everything we did but also wanted us to have fun and make our own knife, only intervening when needed on corrections to make sure we had something nice to take home but still with our own mark on it. Great atmosphere and definitely an experience worth having. I know we already have our eye on the axe course! Wholeheartedly recommend! Thank you both guys 👍
I attended the full day knife forging course a couple of weeks ago and couldn't recommend it enough. Andy is a great teacher and all round nice chap, he gives clear and insightful instruction without loading you with technical detail and guides you through all elements from start to finish. At the end of the day I walked away with a knife I was incredibly proud of.
Would definitely recommend to others.
The axe making course was a great experience, the guys at the forge were friendly and made it easy to understand what to do. They explained things clearly and made sure you knew how to stay safe in the forge. They let you get on with it but always kept an eye on you and only intervened if things were going a bit wrong to make sure you had something to take home at the end of the day. Would definitely recommend to anyone.
I only have good things to say about this course. If you're in to metal working then I highly recommend attending. Andy was superb, making the day interesting and extremely fun. A completely genuine lad with a clear passion for his craft. I enjoyed it immensely and will for sure be heading back to Highfield Forge for another class. Cheers for the day Andy. I love my knife!
My wonderful girlfriend got me this course as a Christmas present. Upside: hands down best Christmas present literally EVER! Downside: there's basically no way I'll ever be able to get her something even on par with this for her.
Now for the meat of it:
Andy and his apprentice(?) Dave are both what you'd expect from a blacksmith, big mountains of men. That said they've both got a very friendly demeanour, and easy smiles.
Their teaching style really worked for me, a quick demonstration of how something is done, then they let you at it. While you're forging they're never too far away, and always there with a pointer or suggestion if they see you're struggling with something.
All in all it was a fabulous experience and I'd recommend them to anyone with even a tiny bit of interest in forging. I was having such a blast my girlfriend decided to take the half day knife course while I finished my Seax course!
The rating system doesn't go high enough for the rating these craftsmen deserve!
A full day knife making, I was in my element. Andy and Dave are very helpful, would definitely book again!
I did the full day knife making course and came away at the end of the day with a finished knife. It was a great day in a relaxed atmosphere, Andy and Dave demonstrated the techniques and allowed me to get a great hands on experience. I felt the balance between letting me do the job and their guided input was spot on. I was also very impressed wth their attitude toward safety. Definately recomend this for anyone who wants to get their hands dirty and have a go.
I booked this course for my boyfriend for his birthday. Absolutely fantastic experience from start to finish. Although I wasn’t taking part, they made me feel welcome to stay and observe and I’m so glad I did. Andy & Dave were fantastic teachers, they created a relaxing atmosphere and had a laugh with everyone whilst still making sure everyone was safe and learning the right techniques. Both clearly knew their stuff and were happy to answer any questions. It was so nice to see a working forge, and for my boyfriend to live out a dream of his and forge his own knife! Andy & Dave let everyone make a knife exactly how each person wanted and nothing was ever too much. Thanks for making his birthday special, and for letting me be part of the experience with him! Also I’d like to say thank you to Natalie for making it so easy to arrange this.
My wife got me this course as a birthday present. What a treat, Andy and Dave made the day. You are taken through the full forging process with excellent guidance all the way. Great technical knowledge and they are both easy going. You are able to adapt your design and come away with a great piece of hand forged steel. I can't speak highly enough of the staff or the experience. Already planning our next trip to the forge.