This class is an introduction to bladesmithing and will conclude with attendees completing at least 2 knives using various techniques. This is an intense two day class and while there is no set age requirements, we recommend the classes for ages 16 and over and is limited to 3 students per class and scheduling is done on a first come, first serve basis. All materials, including steel, abrassives and fuels needed to complete knives will be provided along with needed safety gear. We will be using a combination of coal and gas forges during classes. Belt grinders, air tools, abrasive saws and other power equipment may also be used by students. The area will be enclosed, but is still subject to the weather so we encourage students to dress in layers for their own comfort. With multiple forges burning at a time things can heat up quickly. Attendees must wear closed toe shoes, preferably work boots and are encouraged to bring their own tools such as hammers or tongs if they have them but this is not required.
Saturday will consist of an introduction to the forge, its parts and the tools we will be working with. We will start by learning basic hammer techniques and students will learn to forge out a simple one piece knife, which will help give a feel for what will be required for forging out a larger full tang knife. Students will be given a piece of high carbon steel on which they will design a knife. This blank will be shaped by stock removal and will be used as a reference template when forging out our main goal, the hand forged knife. The rest of Saturday will be over the anvil, working the steel to shape, followed by basic clean up of the finished blank and will conclude with annealing.
Sunday, the forged blades will be removed from the annealing box and students will design the handles, including making holes for pins in both the forged blade and the blade template they made. From here on out, we will be working two blades at the same time. Students will then learn to use files and various power equipment to refine blade shape and beveling the edges. Blades will be returned to the forge for normalization and hardening. During the tempering cycle students will refine handle shapes and we will have open discusion of various forging techniques/open forge time as our schedule permits. After tempering students will fit handles, set pins and learn to finish. This will include using files, power tools and hand sanding to bring the blade and handle to their final forms.
Classes will begin at 9am and end around 5:30 - 6pm with a break for lunch. Refreshments will be provided. Attendees are responsible for their own lodging if needed and there are several motels, hotels and bed & breakfasts within short driving distance in both Hershey, Elizabethtown and nearby Mount Joy. Class is rain, snow or shine, but please include your celphone number if possible in the event we need to get a hold of you. Due to the upfront costs of materials and scheduling, classes are non refundable but we will gladly reschedule to suit a change in your schedule.
- Learn proper firing of the forge
- Safety in the use of equipment
- Blade design and geometry
- Hammer techniques
- Forging the blade
- Stock Removal
- Various forms of heat treatment
- Handle construction
- Stabilizing of wood
- Final Assembly and more!