Our intermidiate blacksmith class

We had a chance to hold a continuing education class this last week. One of my Students from about 4 years ago got ahold of me last week and asked to come take a refresher and an intermediate or next level class. John came to our shop for the beginning class from his home of Spokane, Washington. After his first class with us he went home and built his own Smithy. He added tools and a home built forge over time. He is now a full fledged member of ABANA and the Northwest Blacksmith Association.

John wanted to back up his experience, work on his chops and get some new instruction on traditional joinery. He and his wife came out to Portland on Monday and class started early Tuesday.  We decided to create the class around some practice hammer work, refresh on technique and basics and then we settled into some scroll work, mortise and tennon joinery and hot rivet work.  I came up with a few projects for John to work on during his three days here at the forge.  We ran through a few studies in castle door nails, hooks, scrolls and various hammer textures.

John after completing his shop sign hanger for his Smithy.
John after completing his shop sign hanger for his Smithy.

We combined several features to create a wall mounted sign hanger.  The kind you’d hang your shingle on.  The features included, random hammer marks with a scalloped edge; fish tail scrolls; hot puching the rivet holes, creating tendril shaped hooks for the sign; adding an arrowhead terminal to the front. Here are a few of the pictures from class.

Finished product
Finished product

hpim53841This turned out to be a fun and good project to compose all these ideas. At the basic level it teaches you how to think ahead in the construction your iron art. What are the stages that you need to complete first before you can move on? Scroll first or rivet?  Texture or punch the holes?  These types of classes are fun for me because I have to learn all over again or remind myself of what I do all the time. Its great to see these ideas fresh from a students perspective.

hpim5383This is the tendril hook that the sign will hang from. It is set up with a tenon and bradded over to secure it to the frame. After we finished this one and sat back to admire it we noticed that we put it on the wrong side!  Oh well, cut it free and try it again.  Keeps me on my toes!

I really enjoy classes like this because the student who wants to further their knowledge and skills is eager to try new things and experiment a little. Or perhaps to leave a comfort zone for new areas.  In a class like this we can discover the myriad of  projects that these techniques can be applied to.  Gates, rails, fire place screen, etc.

A little clean up with the wire wheel.
A little clean up with the wire wheel.

Thanks John for the chance to show some of the information I have learned over time and to be able to learn again myself.

If you’d like to know more about the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America or the Northwest Blacksmith Association, please check out our links page.