Saturday Knife Making Class at Brown County Forge
This past Saturday we had a couple gentlemen from the Corydon area north of Louisville in class.
Caleb and Greg drove up to take the Knife Making Fundamentals Class and get some pointers to use at their home forges.
Both guys had been tinkering for a little while, but wanted to learn more.
Hammering Out Knives
After a brief demo focused on hammering technique, I turned the hammers and tongs over to Caleb and Greg.
Using 3-pound mini sledges, they started hammering their spikes into shape.
Caleb brought his personal Hilltop Forge Rounding Hammer. I hadn’t seen one in action before and was impressed with how it moved the metal.
Steady Work with Good Results
Greg and Caleb put in the time to improve their hammering accuracy and control during class.
Just about anyone can walk in off the street and start pounding on a piece of hot steel.
To make it look good takes control and some finesse.
We had a good conversation about the costs and benefits of heavy hammers.
As a general rule:
- Blacksmiths don’t do the majority of their work with heavy sledges. It’s inefficient and too tiring. The hammers I use most range from 1.5 pounds to 2.5 pounds. That range is a good all day swinging weight once you get used to it.
Interested in Improving Your Hammering Skills?
Terran Marks, the owner of Brown County Forge, teaches classes multiple days a week.
For current Saturday knife making classes and other dates, check out the Classes page.
Friday Knife Making Class at Brown County Forge
Each week at Brown County Forge, students from Indiana and around the Midwest try their hands at blacksmithing.
The above photo shows the knife Mike, from the Valparaiso area, made in the Knife Making Fundamentals class.
He began the class with no forging experience and within a few hours produced an excellent first knife.
From No Forging Experience to Completed Projects
Since January 2016, I’ve been teaching people how to forge projects ranging from wall hooks to knives.
Most people arrive at the shop in Bloomington, Indiana with no prior experience.
They all leave with a completed project that they made themselves.
It’s an amazing process to be part of.
What Is Knife Class Like?
The knife making class at Brown County Forge has a set structure designed to help new blacksmiths get great results.
In simplified steps, this is what it looks like:
- We start class with a safety talk including the specialized forging equipment we’ll be using.
- The project for the day is laid out on the workbench in various stages of completion:
- Freshly forged.
- Beginning to grind.
- Finish grinding and polishing.
- Hardened knife.
- Second polish.
- Tempered blade.
- Final polish and sharpening.
- As the blacksmith, I then demonstrate the techniques the new student will use to forge their knife.
- This involves a combination of flattening, drawing out, and controlling the profile of the knife.
- After a few demonstration heats at the forge, the tongs are turned over to the student to start working the metal.
- They then follow the steps laid out below Item #2 above: Forging, Grinding, Polishing, Hardening, Polishing, Tempering, Polishing, and Sharpening.
Great Results and An Awesome Experience
Coaching blacksmithing students over the years has been a lot of fun. We’re currently approaching 1000 successful student projects at the shop.
You are welcome to join a Friday knife making class or look at some of our weekend options.
If you have questions or are ready to book, please contact Terran Marks, the owner, at firstname.lastname@example.org.