Blacksmithing

BLACKSMITHING & BLADESMITHING

Guilford Art Center operates a fully-equipped forge where students take classes and workshops in blacksmithing, swordsmithing, bladesmithing and metalworking. It is one of the largest working/teaching forges in Connecticut and the Northeast that is open to students of all levels and abilities. 

Our award-winning instructors are highly-regarded in their fields, offering expertise across the metal arts. Classes range from the functional items, including knives, blades, cooking utensils, to sculptural, including jewelry and other decorative iron objects.  We cater to absolute beginners, experienced students and hobbyists, as well as accomplished artisans. Introductory sessions run multiple times throughout each semester; most workshops are 1-2 days, while some extend to 3 or 4. Classes typically run for 4-6 weeks. Additionally, we offer classes just for teens who are looking to experience this special art form with friends and peers. Private instruction is also available.   

Planning to take a class? You’ll need to make sure you wear the following items: safety glasses, leather work gloves, jeans and non-flammable cotton shirts and boots or leather shoes. 

 


 

Blacksmithing 101
Mace Vitale
Session A: 4 Tuesdays, begins
November 2 (no class November 16)

Session B: 4 Tuesdays begins December 7
6:00PM – 9:00PM
This class will introduce students to the basics of forging steel to shape using a hammer and an anvil. Fee payable with tuition $45.00.
Tuition $300.00
Members $270.00

Open Forge
Mace Vitale
Session A: 5 Wednesdays begins September 1
Session B: 4 Wednesdays begins October 6
Session C: 4 Wednesdays begins November 3
Session D: 5 Wednesdays begins December 1
6:00PM – 9:00PM
Here is a chance for Blacksmithing and Bladesmithing students to continue projects they have started, or start a new project they have been wanting to do under the guidance of a working smith. Projects will be tailored to the individual student. Pre-requisite of a beginner blacksmith or bladesmith class. Fee payable with tuition $20.00.
Session A & D Tuition $337.50
Members $303.75
Session B & C Tuition $270.00
Members $243.00

Intro to Blacksmithing Workshop
Mace Vitale
Session A: Saturday – Sunday, September 4-5
Session B: Saturday – Sunday, December 4-5
10:00AM – 4:00PM
This workshop will introduce students to the basics of forging steel to shape using a hammer and an anvil. Fee payable with tuition $45.00.
Tuition $300.00
Members $270.00

The War Hammer Workshop
Mace Vitale
Saturday – Sunday, September 25 – 26
10:00AM – 5:00PM
In this weekend workshop students will hot punch holes in 1 1/4” round bar, split the face of the hammer and then forge a spike off the back end. Heat treat and hickory handles…then some testing on a steel drum!. Fee payable with tuition $60.00.
Tuition $350.00
Members $315.00

Jewelry from the Forge Workshop
Marsha Trattner
Saturday – Sunday, October 2 – 3
10:00AM – 4:00PM
Learn to make unique jewelry in a unique way—from forged steel. This class will teach you hand forging techniques to transform steel into rings, necklaces, and cuffs. Fee payable with tuition $45.00.
Tuition $385.00
Members $346.50

Making a Tomahawk Workshop
Aidan Garrity
Saturday – Sunday, October 9 – 10
10:00AM – 5:00PM
Students will create a tomahawk using the slit and drift method. The instructor will also demonstrate the wrap and weld method and explain the variations. Topics covered will include forming the shape of the head, drifting the eye, fitting a handle, grinding and polishing the bit, heat treating, and sharpening. Fee payable with tuition $30.00.
Tuition $350.00
Members $315.00

The Bowie Knife Workshop
Mace Vitale
Thursday – Monday, October 21 – 25
10:00AM – 5:00PM
The Bowie Knife is one of America’s most famous knives steeped in history and legend. In this five day intensive students will learn the ins and outs of forging, grinding, and heat treating this iconic blade. Once the blades are ready students will create a guard and handle using steel and wood. Attention will be made to the feel and balance of these knives as well as the edge geometry and performance. Pre-requisite of a beginner blacksmith or bladesmith class. Fee payable with tuition $45.00.
Tuition $875.00
Members $787.50

Making Cooking Utensils Workshop
Marsha Trattner
Saturday – Sunday, October 30 -31
10:00AM – 4:00PM
This class will teach you basic skills to make useful kitchen and BBQ utensils, emphasizing hand forging and individual expression. Transform steel round, square and flat stock, as well as sheet metal, into your choice of bottle openers, hooks, bowls, cheese knives, spoons, egg spoons, skewers, steak turners, BBQ forks, spatula, ladle or small pan. Drawing down, slitting, twisting, spreading, scrolling, stretching and planishing are some of the techniques. Fee payable with tuition $45.00.
Tuition $385.00
Members $346.50

The Forged Viking Seax Workshop
Emiliano Carrillo
Saturday – Monday, November 6 – 8
10:00AM – 5:00PM
Forge a historically inspired seax. We will explore the form using original examples as a push-off point to create authentic everyday use blades. The emphasis of this class will be on the marriage of aesthetics and function to create a tool for hard work that looks beautiful. Fee payable with tuition $55.00.
Tuition $673.75
Members $606.37

Intro to the Hand Forged Blade Workshop
Mace Vitale
Session A: Saturday – Sunday, November 13-14
Aidan Garrity
Session B: Saturday – Sunday, December 18-19
10:00AM – 5:00PM
This weekend workshop will cover the basics of forging, grinding, heat treating, and sharpening of a small utility knife. The instructor will discuss fit and finish, overall knife design, how to sharpen and care for knives, and how to begin making knives on your own. Students should expect to forge several blades over the weekend, and get at least one to the point of a usable knife. Fee payable with tuition $45.00.
Tuition $350.00
Members $315.00

The Art of the Japanese Blade Workshop
Mace Vitale
Thursday – Monday, November 18 – 22
10:00AM – 5:00PM
In this 5-day intensive students will learn to forge a traditional Japanese tanto blade. The blades will be ground and filed clean. Heat treat will be done with a clay coating to create the “Hamon” or hardening line separating the hard edge from the soft spine. Blades will then be polished and etched to reveal their true beauty. Fee payable with tuition $70.00.
Tuition $875.00
Members $787.50

Fireplace Tools Workshop
Greg AmEnde
Saturday – Sunday, November 27 – 28
10:00AM – 4:00PM
This weekend class will cover the making of a set of fire place tools (poker, brush, ash shovel). You will learn the basics of blacksmithing, including tapering (drawing out) forge welding, bending, riveting and setting down. Fee payable with tuition $50.00.
Tuition $300.00
Members $270.00

Forging Tongs Workshop
Greg AmEnde
Saturday – Sunday, December 11 – 12
10:00AM – 4:00PM
In this workshop students will learn the basic techniques of forging blacksmiths’ tongs. We will go through the basic process and explore different jaw styles that will enable you to hold multiple projects and stock configurations: flat, round, square and irregular pieces. This class will seek to teach students the skills to make this crucial smith’s tool as needed. This workshop is intended for students who have some forging experience and good hammer control but beginners are also welcome. We will concentrate on the forging of smaller tongs and students can expect to bring home 2 or 3 pairs of finished tongs. Fee payable with tuition $45.00.
Tuition $300.00
Members $270.00