Weekly Blacksmith Classes

Weekly Blacksmith Classes - Brown County Forge

Terran Marks teaches weekly blacksmith classes at Brown County Forge.

The classes come in two formats:

  • Beginners Class – This class focuses on five fundamental blacksmithing skills: drawing out, scrolling, quenching, bending, and twisting. The class is project-based meaning each student starts with a fresh piece of metal and forges it into a finished piece.
  • Knife Making Class – This class is also project-based, but it’s more specific that the Beginners Class. Each student takes a standard railroad spike and turns it into a functional knife.

When Are Weekly Blacksmith Classes?

The Beginners Class currently starts at 10 AM on Saturdays and wraps up between 12 and 1 PM.

The Knife Making Class begins at 2 PM on Saturdays and ends by 6 PM.

These are the set class times each week.

However, time during the week is available for private lessons/special appointments.

Terran would be happy to set up a class time Monday-Friday with you.

Classes run from early March through mid-December. (February in Indiana is usually just too darn cold.)

How Much Do Classes Cost?

The Beginners Class is $120 per person for the single session.

The Knife Making Class is $220 per person for the single session.

Can Beginners Take Either Class?

Yes! Absolutely.

Both classes are set up for complete beginners. No prior experience is required.

Out of the 581 student projects coming out of the shop, 98% of them were made by beginners.

Rustic and Rugged - Brown County Forge

How Old Do You Have to Be?

For safety reasons, the minimum age is 14 for both classes.

A parent or guardian must be present during the class. However, they are not required to participate.

How Dangerous is Blacksmithing?

On a scale from sitting on the couch to jumping out of an airplane:

Blacksmithing is less dangerous than using chainsaws.

It’s also not as dangerous as driving a car.

The biggest difference between driving a car and blacksmithing is the variability of other people.

In blacksmithing, at least at Brown County Forge, your environment is carefully controlled.

Terran takes great care in mitigating risks in the shop and explaining what can happen.

Where Can I Find Out More About Weekly Blacksmith Classes?

The Classes Page has more information and available dates.

Seymour Indiana Student Project

Seymour Indiana - Blacksmith Classes - Brown County Forge

Jeremy from Seymour, Indiana Forges a Fire Poker

Seymour Indiana is just under an hour from Brown County Forge.

Jeremy made the trip west for the 10 AM Beginners Class at the shop to forge his own fire poker.

In the 2-3 hour Beginners Class, students have the option to make one of three items:

  • A traditional “J” hook.
  • A bartop bottle opener.
  • A fire poker with a twist in the handle.

Beginner Blacksmithing Classes - Indiana - Brown County Forge

The decision about what to make usually comes down to what they would find useful.

The goal of every project and product that comes out of the shop is that it look good and be useful.

Jeremy opted for the fire poker so he could use it when he goes camping with his family.

Hammering It Out

Seymour Indiana - Blacksmith Classes - Brown County Forge

To forge the fire poker, we need to get the steel very hot: over 1500 degrees Fahrenheit.

The glowing yellow-orange you see in the photo is the steel’s color straight out of the forge.

Now we have about 15 seconds to hammer on it before it gets too cold again.

We do 30-40 heats per project in the Beginners Class.

The Blacksmith Equipment We Use

Having the right equipment definitely makes it easier to blacksmith.

Jeremy used one of our 70 pound NC Tool Company anvils as his work surface.

Some benefits of this lighter anvil:

  • You can work steel up to 1 inch thick.
  • It’s easy to move around by yourself.
  • It costs a lot less than larger anvils. (A 70 lb, anvil like this will run you about $280.)

Other tools Jeremy used:

  • A Majestic Knifemaker Economy Forge – This is a two-burner forge made by a company based in Ohio.
  • Centaur Forge V-bit Bolt tongs for holding on to the fire poker while he forges it.
  • Vaughan 2.5 pound blacksmith’s hammer. A very solid hammer that has held up for almost a decade of steady use.

Was the Gentleman from Seymour Indiana Successful?

Absolutely!

Jeremy came away with a great fire poker that he forged on his own.

He was proud of what he was able to accomplish with no prior experience.

I think this gift from his wife was a success!

Forging Knives with Chef-Owner Red Barn Kitchen

Red Barn Kitchen - Decatur Illinois - Brown County Forge

Dagan Stocks, the chef-owner of Red Barn Kitchen (Decatur, Illinois) made the trip to the shop today to forge his first knife.

As a long-time professional chef, Mr. Stocks has used many knives over the years. He also has a good-sized personal collection.

During the class, we geeked out a bit over Bob Kramer’s Meteorite Knives while I showed Stocks how to forge steel the old-fashioned way.

First Time Forging – Excellent Results

I’ve had a few professional knife wielders and collectors in the shop over the years. They consistently do a great job.

I think using and studying a tool for a long time makes it easier to forge.

With over 530 student projects at the shop over the years, having manual dexterity and heat tolerance help, too.

An Epic Gift

Red Barn Kitchen - Brown County Forge

Mr. Stocks didn’t end up at Brown County Forge by chance.

His wife set up a weekday knife class for him some months back.

After solving some scheduling issues, we were able to make it happen.

Putting the Knife to Use for Red Barn Kitchen

Stocks plans to use the knife to section some hogs for the restaurant.

The pork will be sliced into the cuts he needs for his barbecue entrees.

Is it sharp enough, you might ask?

Yes, it is. He took his time grinding in the bevel and hand filing to get it sharp enough to slice.

He’ll be using his personal whetstones to put the final edge on it.

Is forged steel food-safe?

Absolutely! Your kitchen knives at home are made out of steel.

Granted, very few of you will have forged blades, but steel is a great choice for cutlery.

It’s durable, easily cleanable, and won’t transfer food particles like porous plastics.

Red Barn Kitchen - Decatur Illinois - Brown County Forge 3

More Info on Red Barn Kitchen

To experience their farm-to-table comfort food, craft cocktails, and a huge selection of whiskeys go to:

910 S. Airport Rd.

Decatur, IL 62521

217-330-7777

Thanks for making the drive to Brown County Forge!

How Much Do Blacksmith Classes Cost?

How Much Do Blacksmith Classes Cost - Brown County Forge - Terran Marks the Blacksmith

Ready to dive into blacksmithing, but aren’t sure about how much blacksmith classes cost?

If you’re searching the Internet for classes near you, you might have a hard time finding class pricing.

Since Brown County Forge is in Indiana, I’ll use Indiana class offerings as the example.

Four Options for Blacksmith Classes in Indiana

There are four main options for blacksmith classes in Indiana, each with a different pricing structure and availability:

  • Conner Prairie
  • Indianapolis Arts Center
  • Indiana Blacksmithing Association
  • Brown County Forge

Conner Prairie offers a few single-day blacksmithing classes per year that last from 9 AM – 5 PM for $225-$235.

The Indianapolis Arts Center offers 8-week classes during the summer for $389 per person. Each class session is 3 hours long in the evening from 6:30 – 9:30 PM.

The Indiana Blacksmithing Association (IBA) is a not for profit organization started in 1981 “with the purposes of gathering and disseminating information about blacksmithing, exposing the public to blacksmithing, and encouraging the training of blacksmiths.”

The IBA holds meet-ups once a month at different locations around the state. During these meet-ups there will be a live demonstration and opportunities to swing hammers at no charge. Membership is $35 per year paid in June.

There are 14 IBA satellite groups around the state of Indiana.

Brown County Forge offers classes every weekend that range in price from $120 for a 3-hour Beginners Class to $220 for a 4-hour Railroad Spike Knife Making Class.

Because I focus solely on blacksmithing classes and there’s no coordination of locations, supplies, and demonstrators, I can offer classes this often.

The benefit to you is that you have the opportunity each week to learn more about blacksmithing. Even if a given weekend’s classes are full, you can always request an evening appointment.

The Price Range By the Numbers

  • Conner Prairie – $235/person for 8 hour day a few times per year
  • Indianapolis Arts Center – $389 over 8 weeks for 3 hours per session. A few offerings per year.
  • Indiana Blacksmithing Association – $35 for annual membership. Meet-ups once a month near you with 14 groups around the state.
  • Brown County Forge – $120-$220 for 3-4 hours every weekend and by appointment.

Why Does a Blacksmith Class Cost More Than $100

I can only speak from my personal experience running a business, but I would imagine that the following holds true for other organizations.

The price of a class includes these factors:

  • Materials – From the steel we hammer to the fuel we use to the consumables like wire brushes and grinding belts. Everything has a cost.
  • Overhead – I rent my shop space from a larger business to be able to host classes.
  • Liability Insurance – In order to keep everyone safe and covered, I carry $1,000,000 in liability insurance.
  • Expertise – There is value in learning from people who have extensively studied their field and put it into practice.

Here to Help!

I hope this post helps answer some questions about blacksmith class pricing. If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me:

browncountyforge@gmail.com

What to Wear to Blacksmith Class

What to Wear to Blacksmith Class - Brown County Forge - Terran Marks the Blacksmith

When it comes to deciding what to wear to blacksmith class at Brown County Forge or any other blacksmith shop or school, there are a few good rules of thumb:

  1. No synthetics – Synthetic materials like lycra, spandex, nylon, and polyester don’t stand up to high temperatures and sparks. In fact, they melt almost immediately when the come into contact with fire and hot surfaces. To avoid injury, I always encourage attendees of my classes to avoid synthetics if at all possible.
  2. Boots or sneakers – Ideally, we would all be wearing leather boots in the shop, but I understand that not everyone owns boots. Sneakers are also fine, but be aware that the rule about synthetics also applies to footwear. I’ve seen someĀ really nice shoes get damaged when a piece of hot scale or a spark landed on them.
  3. Cotton, canvas, denim – This goes along with the synthetics rule, but if you’re ever wondering exactly what goes and what doesn’t in the shop, stick to Cotton t-shirts and canvas pants (think Carhartts) or denim jeans. These natural materials, as long as they aren’t blended with lycra or elastane, will resist sparks. They’re not fireproof but they help.
  4. Hair tied back – Long hair in the shop is no problem as long as it stays out of the way and away from the fire.

And that’s it! I provide all other safety equipment in class including hearing protection, eye protection, and gloves.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you in class soon!