Blacksmith Shop & Blacksmithing Class Information
September 2, 2013 Update:
Matching Donations Are Coming In for the $35,000 Matching Challenge Grant for Construction of a New Metal Arts Education Facility. However, More Are Needed Urgently to Meet the December 31, 2014 Deadline.
From the August-September 2013 Ignitor:
to help us succeed in reaching our goal please visit "Support the Museum" to make your donation today!
The Vista Forge at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum offers classes in blacksmithing at several skill levels, providing the opportunity to try an ancient craft, make useful and decorative pieces, and learn classic techniques of both tool making and architectural ironwork. The Blacksmith barn is located in Building G, has over 15 forging stations, and shares space with a wheelwright shop and a line shaft powered machine shop. During the twice annual Antique Engine & Tractor Shows, the single-cylinder kerosene engine in the barn is fired up allowing blacksmiths to use the 200 pound Bradley Helve Power Hammer.
Classes are open to all who are intrested and can be signed up through the Museum's educational page or by calling the Museum Office (760) 941-1791. Students must be a current Member of the Museum, details for membership can be found on the Membership page.
Basic I: Beginning Blacksmithing
* All incoming Basic 1 students must have completed Blacksmithing 101 prior to attending.
Meets the first Saturday of each month.
Learn the fundamental skills of blacksmithing while forging useful decorative items (trivets, BBQ tools), home hardware (hinges, wall hooks), and necessary blacksmithing tools (chisels, punches, tongs). Must have completed Introduction to Blacksmithing satisfactorily and secured instructor recommendation. You'll learn how to light and maintain a coal fire, use an anvil, post vise, and hand tools to shape iron and steel, harden and temper steel tools, and work safely with hot iron. Basic skills covered include drawing out, upsetting, bending and scrolling, twisting, punching, hot and cold cutting, fullering, riveting and forge welding. You should come to class with eye protection and a hammer. If you have them, you'll find it helpful to bring a tape measure, center punch, steel file, wire brush, and blacksmith's tongs. Students must have completed Introduction to Blacksmithing satisfactorily and secured instructor recommendation.
Basic II: The Blacksmith's Craft
* All incoming Basic 1I students must have completed Blacksmithing 101 & Basic I prior to attending.
Meets the third Saturday of each month.
This is a course in the core skills of traditional architectural blacksmithing, including making the inevitable tooling required for such work. You must have a CBA Basic I certification (by completing the Basic I course or testing out) to join this course. Coursework largely follows "The Blacksmith's Craft" text published by the British Rural Development Commission (RDC), with several additional projects and skills. This course expands blacksmithing skills to encompass all the fundamental techniques of traditional architectural blacksmithing. This includes lots of tool making and forge welding along with developing a better eye-hammer link. We also discuss design methods and approaches, equipment selection and sources, ferrous and non-ferrous forgeable metals and other topics. Even if architectural ironwork is not your focus, the skills, tricks and tool making you'll learn here will improve your forging and inspire new design ideas in whatever metal work you pursue. We ensure you have a decent basic set of hand tools, and both understand and can implement the skills taught in Basic I. For those seeking certification, expect that at least two years of fairly diligent work will be required.
Basic III: Forging to Dimension:
A monthly meeting held on the second Saturday for Basic II graduates and master and professional blacksmiths. This meeting includes and supports those working on their California Blacksmith Association certification in Basic III (which can be used to obtain Journeyman status in some countries.)