Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum

Blacksmith Shop & Blacksmithing Classes

The California Blacksmith Association (CBA) is a group of nearly 1,000 amateur and professional blacksmiths and metal work fans.  Members interests include traditional and modern forging, sculpture, blademaking, tooling, farrier work, reproduction and restoration blacksmithing, custom architectural ironwork, home implements, rendezvous/reenactments/Renaissance Fairs, repoussé, flintlock gunsmithing, wheelwrighting, and just about any other aspect of iron and steel forging you can think of.  The CBA produces several annual get-togethers, a bi-monthly journal, and classes and workshops throughout the state to fulfill its primary mission of sharing and developing the craft of hand forging.

The Vista Forge of the California Blacksmithing Association 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.  We meet on the grounds of the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, where we are surrounded by steam traction engines, threshers, huge old Caterpillars and other marvels of the mid-19th to 20th century technologies.  Our barn up on the hill (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 Tractor Shows, the single-cylinder kerosene engine in the barn is fired up allowing blacksmiths to use the 200 pund Bradley Helve Power Hammer.

Classes are open to all who are intrested and can be signed up through the Museum's educational page.  

Blacksmithing 101

Instructor: Ken Rose

Meets the fourth Saturday of each month 

Students will learn to light and work with a coal forge to heat metal to more than red hot and then to use hammers and other tools to forge, bend and twist the hot metal to desired shapes.  Two outdoor cooking tools, the steak turner and a pair of barbeque tongs will be completed as well as a first pair of Blacksmiths’ tongs.

Satisfactory completion of Introduction to Blacksmithing is required for participation in the California Blacksmith Association’s Basic I Blacksmithing course. 

Currently there is a waiting list, Start

 date must be confirmed by phone

with  Museum Educational Staff.  

You will be responsible for your own safety equipment (eye protection, ear protection, gloves, protective clothing and closed toe shoes)

Blacksmithing 101 (Paired) 

Instructor: Dave Carroll
Meets the fourth Sunday of set months

Students (Ages 10 and up) will need to be accompanied by an adult, together they will  learn to light and work with a coal forge to heat metal to more than red hot and then to use hammers and other tools to forge, bend and twist the hot metal to desired shapes.  Two outdoor cooking tools, the steak turner and a pair of barbeque tongs will be completed as well as a first pair of Blacksmiths’ tongs.

 

Satisfactory completion of Introduction to Blacksmithing is required for participation in the California Blacksmith Association’s Basic I Blacksmithing course. 

 

Currently there is a waiting list, Start

date must be confirmed by phone

with Museum Educational Staff

 Basic I: Beginning Blacksmithing. Instructor: Dave Vogel: 

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.

Class start promptly at 8:00 am

 

 Basic II: The Blacksmith's Craft

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.

Class start promptly at 8:00 am

 

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.)

Class start promptly at 8:00 am

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