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Hello guys! 

My name is Daniele (Danielito in the forum) and I'm completely new, to the forum to the hobby to the business to the art and I'm based in London. I come from an European historical smithy background that strongly stopped with my parents and I'd like to learn how to blacksmithing, starting from the basics, really basics. I have experience in crafting wooden/bamboo bows and plastic/fiberglass cosplay but never used a forge or an anvil and I'm settled in London so not sure how training/apprentiship/practising would even work. I don't even know if this the right section of the forum.

I did send several emails to all the smithing associations and universities/education sites regarding this but none has replied to me at all hence why I'm here looking for directions. I'm sure you are the best at this. 

 

Thanks all. 

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Do you mean London Ohio USA?  If so then SOFA is definitely where you want to go! If it's London Arkansas, USA then there are a number of members here from that state who can help out.

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Drat, I used to live near the Ohio one.  I assume you have already tried BABA and perhaps Basher, Badger and the Iron Dwarf who have posted here from the UK.

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28 minutes ago, Danielito said:

It looks like there are no blacksmiths in UK. 

Welcome to the forum, Danielito.  Please don't take offense, but "no blacksmiths in the UK" has got to be a joke.  :lol:   A bit of searching on the Internet will put you in touch with many...........if not way more than "many" blacksmiths in the UK.  Try checking here:  http://blacksmiths.mygenwebs.com/

Also, if you'll check this out, https://www.history.co.uk/shows/forged-with-steele/articles/blacksmithing-in-the-uk  I think you'll find that Alec Steele could put you onto a bunch of blacksmiths over there.

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Welcome aboard Daniel, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the header you'll find out how many members of Iforge are Brits. 

Anyway there are a lot of Iforge members of the black booger gang in and around London. You can check on Iforge's opening page by scrolling almost to the bottom. There you'll find organisations and there is a member list. A web search will find lots of smiths and such on the Isle. A hint about searching Iforge, forget the embedded search engine, it stinks big moldy ones, instead use your usual search engine and include Iforgeiron in the search terms. for instance "Scrolling wrench Iforgeiron" and it will search Iforge first. 

Remember this stuff is fun so take it that way and you aren't as likely to give up before you can start making a business of it. Have you taken a course in running a business? If you want a blacksmithing business you must remember it's a business first. <sigh>

Enjoy the addiction and remember, we'll help.;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Hi there Daniele- welcome to the forum.

I'm based in Benfleet, Essex, UK, so not far from you.

I started Blacksmithing around 2 years ago, in a similar position to yourself in terms of looking for training and courses etc. Since then I'm now lucky to be set up with a dedicated indoor workshop/forge in my garden. You're welcome to visit any time if you feel like a trip to Essex.

 

As for courses/training, its generally very expensive in the UK. Experience days charge a premium price. I've now done a couple of these, and I'm not sure I wholly recommend them..... the problem is they main clientelle are people are arent serious, who just want a fun day and to get a trinket that they can say they made at the end. They're usually not looking to properly teach you blacksmithing skills for later use.

If I had my time/money to spend again, I'd personally visit the Copper Elf/Iron Dwarf at Kettering. Iron Dwarf is a member of this forum. The Copper Elf is his friend and colleague and its the elf who does the teaching classes. His prices are far more reasonable than most, and after one quick chat with him I can tell he'd be a much better teacher than most also. He's set up more for teaching than experience days but its probably a happy medium to see if you really like it.

http://www.copperelf.co.uk/

If you're serious I would ask the elf for a beginners toolmaking class and try to come away the day with some punches, chisels and maybe even a basic pair of tongs. This will massively help you get started.

Further to that, there are a series of good value 3 day course at Hereford College. This is probably the biggest UK blacksmithing college/university. You actually get a qualification at the end also. I'm looking to take this myself sometime soon. I wish I'd known about this much earlier!

https://www.hlcollege.ac.uk/course/580f77471dfd6/Introduction-to-Blacksmithing

https://www.hlcollege.ac.uk/course/5854155a53ffe/Intermediate-Blacksmithing

https://www.hlcollege.ac.uk/course/5d357200e0960/Blacksmithing-Tool-Making

 

Also, join the British Artist Blacksmith Association (BABA) on Facebook.

If you want to visit me sometime for a day's forging, I'd be happy to hook you up with a hammer, and help you make a set of tongs.

.... dont spend a fortune till you know you like it.

What sort of property do you live in in London? I know many are in apartments, flats, etc. Do you have the space to set up a forge etc? Blacksmithing is quite a space-hungry hobby!

Jon

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Hey guys!

Happy to see many answers and advices! 

I contacted a couple of links you all sent me above and I'm currently in a flat. Having a garden would make everything easy but maybe renting a container or a garage would do the same (question here as well). 

I don't want to spend for specific and mono-purpose tools until I'm actually in front of a forge and be able to stand pounding an anvil for hours. It has to be a hard trial and I need to be sure mine is not just a wish but actually a hobby/business/talent I can work on and beyond. If I need to buy a forge soon, I would go for a propane one and can't start from knifes/blades due to UK restrictions and regulations (other question hiding here).

A University replied to me and said that the NVQ L3 in Heritage Skills is not available anymore. Didn't understand If just for the 2020 or It has been completely wiped out. Shame I guess. But what would be the actually qualifications then? Would I make my way with just 3 days course?

Thanks guys! 

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On 2/10/2020 at 9:22 AM, Danielito said:

London in UK

Welcome to IFI, the international forum.

We won't remember your location once leaving this post, hence the suggestion to edit your profile to show it. This thread is a good place to learn the in's and out's of the forum. READ THIS FIRST

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22 hours ago, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

Welcome to IFI, the international forum.

We won't remember your location once leaving this post, hence the suggestion to edit your profile to show it. This thread is a good place to learn the in's and out's of the forum. READ THIS FIRST

Done it! Changed.

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Hi Daniel, we may be a little away from you, but can offer a comprehensive intensive basic blacksmith skills course.

https://www.google.com/search?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.iforgeiron.com%2Ftopic%2F50457-westpoint-forge-three-day-course-content%2F&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b

will give you some idea of what we do., we also have back up betyond this course.

Good luck wherever you choose to learn.

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Hi Daniele,

I would echo what Jon said - Hereford college is a great place to go for courses according to it's many established alumni.

If you want to give it a go, get in front of an anvil and get some basic skills down (drawing basic tapers, upsetting, etc.), I'd also echo Jon's invitation. Jon and I have done a couple of sessions with each other's kit and it would be useful to see what you like best (I use propane, Jon uses coke). We live 15 mins from each other in Essex and I'm sure Jon won't mind me saying that we'd be happy to spend an afternoon or two with someone with an interest in the craft.

Feel free to message me and we can set something up if you're interested.

N

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Hi Daniele,

Sorry - forgot to answer the unasked questions:

1. potentially any rented space could be suitable, but look at by-laws, rental contracts and liability insurance. Also, be aware of ventilation needs to stay safe.

2. knives are enjoyable to make but check out the prescribed list in the Offensive Weapons Act 2019. Manufacture and simple possession of any such weapon (swordsticks, push-daggers, throwing stars, etc.) is a criminal offense. 

N

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