Blacksmithing 100s-400s: Foundational Skills

The Foundational Skills Series was developed to grow a student's basic understanding of the forging process and aid them in producing clean, repeatable forgings in a manner that is not too laborious.

We recommend that you take at least one Introduction to Blacksmithing class before registering for this series.

The series is broken up into four parts, each with four projects, which build upon the skill sets learned in the previous classes. Throughout the series the teachers aim to constantly hone your blacksmithing skills, widen your vocabulary of smithing processes, work on your body mechanics, and help you develop a good hammer finish. The objects in the class are forged from precise, set distance material, and made into similarly precise final sized items, This is done to help you understand how much material gives you a final object and teaches you the concept of repeatability. Throughout the sixteen classes within the series are, interspersed, classes which focus on the five “points”: square, octagonal, round, chisel, and diamond. We believe that the points disciplines are a great tool for teaching people how to do good clean hammer work, practicing on shapes which are precise but not considered precious.

Below is a breakdown of the classes in the series, along with the ‘points’ which correspond to them.

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100s: Square Point

S-hook (101)- In this class we introduce you to the concept of hammer control and proper physical mechanics while introducing some core blacksmithing processes including: square taper, scrolling, forming and twisting

J-hook (102)- J-Hook(s) is your next step after S-Hook. This adds the set down and short square point process in formation of your leaf top and jumps you to a large section of steel to further add in the development of hammer power and control.

Square point (103)- Through forging the Square Point you will learn good hammer control, hammer finishing, and material placement on the anvil.

Fire poker (104)- Building on the skills learned in the previous three classes, we now introduce fishtail scrolling and an applied use for a short square point.

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200s: Chisel Point and Round Point

Chisel Point (201)- Having worked at a consistent angle on all sides through the previous points, forging the chisel point will challenge you to forge both flats and angles. Additionally it introduces the process of upsetting.

Basic Chisel (202)- This will be your first introduction to high carbon steel and learning the different techniques used to forge, harden, and temper it.

Round Point (203)- Building on the Octagonal Point your skills in forging and hammer finishing are honed by forging 16ths and rounding out.

Basic Center Punch (204)- Using what you learned in 302 and 303, you will now make a center punch, a usuful tool for any smith.


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300s: Octagonal Point

Steel Bracelet (301)- We begin with the forged steel bracelet. Comprehension of dynamic form, fishtails, edge bevels, and controlling the flow of lines will keep you busy far after the class.

Octagonalized ring hook (302)- Bringing in the hooks from the very beginning of 101 and adding new skills of octagonalization, one approach at forming a right angle, and ring forming. With the addition of  new processes we have the opportunity to create a new aesthetic within the same construct.

Octagonalized point (303)- Building on the construct of the Square Point, forging the Octagonal Point hones your ability to forge on the corner and control accurate symmetry.

Steak turner (304)- We apply all the skills from the 200 series in a beautiful and functional manner.

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400s: Diamond Point

Diamond Point (401)-The diamond point is the last of your five points. It is the same concept as the Square Point, but done on the corners as opposed to the flats. This truly develops your stock hand control.

Leaves (402)- The forged leaf is a motif that has been used for centuries by metalsmiths. Beginning with a square point, the leaf form is isolated out on the edge of the anvil, this is the pre-former. From this pre-former the leaf is born, by forging and spreading it begins to take shape and with dapping it takes its true life and form.

Scoop (403)- Taking the two-sided isolation of the leaf from last class and applying our abilities of spreading material to predetermined shape and size, the scoop is a perfect interjection in a large material size to 'zoom in' on your work and really see how far we can manipulate the material.

Spoon (404)- Ah the humble spoon, how easily it is forgotten. This is one of our favorite objects to forge, so much fun and so expressive with such beauty in function. Forging a spoon can be such a simple process or an endeavor into technical madness. In this class we explore forging and forming processes to create an elegant and simple steel spoon.


What Next?

Upon completing this series of classes you will be well versed in the Foundational Skills of Blacksmithing. This will open you up for further Blacksmithing Intensive classes, or you can practice your skills by taking some of our Introduction to Blacksmithing classes. These will be in a drop-in format and scheduled throughout the year.

If you have also completed the Knife Grinding 100s-400s Foundational Skills program, you are henceforth eligible to enter into the Bladesmithing 100s-400s Foundational Skills program.