Introduction to Blacksmithing

Beginner Blacksmithing Courses

with M. Craig Campbell

“The finest steel must go through the hottest fire."
- Author Unknown

The Class:

Learn to manipulate hot steel like modeling clay. Working with a coal fire, hammer and anvil, M. Craig Campbell will teach you the basic skills of blacksmithing in this hands-on class for beginners. With your new skills, you will be encouraged to explore your creative side at 1400 degrees Celsius.

This course will provide a sound understanding of basic blacksmith skills and tools. Participants will be guided through a series of hands-on lessons that culminate in knowledge of how to move and form hot steel with hammer and anvil.


Good physical health and an easy comfort with hand tools & fire.


  • Critical Blacksmith Shop Safety

  • Ergonomic hammer techniques for sustainable blacksmithing

  • How to start and maintain a coal fire.

  • Forging techniques: draw down, upset, hot cut, fuller, swage, punch, drift, forge weld

  • Scrapyard steel identification

FAQs, Schedule and Required Materials listed below.


July 26th – July 29th, 2021

Tuition: $620 Includes:

  • Base Registration Fee of $495
  • 21 Hours of Course Time
  • Material & Equipment Fee of $125
  • An unforgettable experience

Material & Equipment Fee: $125
Some tools, equipment and materials are supplied by forestART and vary from course to course. Details in the FAQ section below.

Meals & Accommodation: Purchased Separately

Available options are on the registration page

Covid-19 Policy: 

  • Physical distancing during class and throughout the Ness Creek Site must be practiced
  • Each participant will have access to their own outhouse for the duration of their stay
  • Participants will be given their own workspace and set of tools to use for the duration of the class
  • Some tools and equipment may be shared by participants which will be sanitized with bleach after each use

Contact Us
We are happy to help answer any questions you have about forestART!

Phone: 306 220-2640
Email: nesscreekforestart@gmail.com

Your Instructor : M. Craig Campbell

Once said to Craig…

“You create because you have to create. You like the feel of metal, you like the potential in metal. You like simplicity in your designs because the metal itself has something to say. You like the noise, the smells, the fire, and the weight of what you do. You like to open the doors and let people wander in. You like to talk about what you do. You never tire of telling people about the material, techniques, joinery and finishes. You like to teach. You want to learn.”

Craig began blacksmithing in 1992 at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon. A hobby that became a passion and a career, blacksmithing has taken Craig across Canada, to Hawaii, England, Scotland, France, Italy and New Zealand. Craig’s focus as a contemporary artistic blacksmith is on sculpture with a few commissions in architectural ironwork and furniture. He describes his design aesthetic as industrial minimalism.


"An outstanding and unique learning experience in the wild boreal forest. The inspiring environment supported my creative process while M Craig Campbell did an amazing job supporting my confidence as an absolute beginner to Blacksmithing. I am very happy with the skills I gain and the work I was able to take away from this course. "
Debi Anderson
Past Course Participant


FAQ & More Info

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for blacksmithing is mostly common sense. Cotton and leather clothing, no synthetics that melt in high heat or spark.

Safety eye ware is highly recommended. Non prescription safety glasses are easily available. A larger version or goggles can be used over prescription glasses.

Gloves help protect you from burns and blisters. Snug fitting leather gloves offer better dexterity and control while a much looser fit can be flung off in a single motion if required. Craig often wears a glove on his left hand and almost never on his right (hammer) hand.

Hearing protection is a must. Disposable roll-up foam earplugs or the over-the-ear cup-style hearing defenders; both are fine.

Many smiths employ a leather apron or chaps. (The instructor does not.) Canadian Tire, Lee Valley and sometimes Princess Auto sell leather aprons.

Headgear keeps ash from the coal fire out of your hair. A hat, bandana or no head gear is your choice.

Blacksmith hammers have no sharp edges or completely flat faces. All surfaces are radiused.

Your instructor will supply a wide variety (shape and weight) of hammers for you to experiment with. You are encouraged to change hammers often to discover their various forms and applications and to find your favourite style.

Small superficial burns are almost inevitable when staring out. Be assured that if you accidentally touch hot steel you will quickly let go and harm will be minimal if any. A bit of burn ointment and a coffee break take care of most mishaps.

This course is unique in that it teaches you much of the basics of Blacksmithing AND gives you enough time and practice to walk away with some pretty cool projects. You can apply the new skills you’re learning to practical application by making a fire poker, wall hook, or bottle opener. If you have a simple project in mind, there may be some latitude to create it during the week.

Monday 1pm:             Official Start / Group Orientation

Monday Aft.               – Shop orientation, safety, light coal fires, draw down exercise.

Tuesday                 – Upset exercise, fuller exercise, cross peen exercise.

– Hole punch exercise, slit and drift exercise.

Wednesday                 – Forge weld exercise, swage exercise.

– Project: build a fire poker.

Thursday AM            – Project: build a bottle opener or coat hook.


  • Journaling and drawing, forest walks


  • Camp fire time, storytelling, walks, swimming, etc.

Supplied by the student:

  • Leather and cotton clothing (no synthetics)
  • leather footware
  • safety eyeware
  • hearing protection
  • hat or bandanna (optional)
  • thermal mug / water bottle
  • note/sketch book
  • BYOB

Supplied by the Instructor – included in $125 Materials & Equipment fee:

  • A fully equipped blacksmithing shop in the bush! 
  • coal forges
  • blacksmith coal
  • anvils on stands
  • leg/post vises
  • tongs, chisels, punches, swages, & fullers.
  • Hacksaws & hammers
  • All the metal need to practice on and for your projects.

It’s choose your own adventure, with options to suit every budget! You can cook all your own meals, pay for lunches and snacks only, or get the full meal deal. All meals are served individually, take out style. You can camp with or without power or rent a private cabin. Private cabins contain basic cooking amenities such as a hotplate, fridge, cutting board and cutlery.  Please bring your own specialized cookware if you desire.

Full Details on our Food & Accommodation Options can be found on the main forestART page or when you go to register!

Are you joining us??

 We look forward to seeing you in Beginner Blacksmithing with M. Craig Campbell

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