The Basics of Forging Metal @ 1400 Degrees Celsius
with Artistic Blacksmithing M Craig Campbell
The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire. – Author Unknown
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.
Critical Blacksmith Shop Safety
Ergonomic hammer techniques for sustainable blacksmithing
“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.
“A 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.
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.
It’s choose your own adventure, with options to suit every budget! You can cook all your own meals, pay for lunches only, or get the full meal deal. You can camp with or without power, bunk in with some fellow artists in shared accommodation, or rent a private cabin.
Full Details on our Food & Accommodation Options can be found on the main forestART page or when you go to register!