For more information: Virginia Blacksmithing Institute Website
Try Your Hand at Blacksmithing!
Swing a big hammer to strike a glowing piece of metal against a solid anvil and create something beautiful, useful – or both! Courses meet at the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing, South River complex, 200 W. Twelfth Street, Waynesboro, with most scheduled one Saturday and Sunday, 9 am-4 pm. Unless otherwise noted, courses are led by instructor Dale Morse, who attended Penland and John C. Campbell craft schools in NC, and studied in Germany and Italy. A 2015 Virginia Juried Master Artisan Award Recipient, Dale was selected by the Artisans Center of Virginia for his excellency in design and craftsmanship. The award also recognizes Dale’s commitment through education and mentorship to passing on his trade to future generations.
From beginning and intermediate blacksmithing to metal jewelry and stained glass, there’s a course to meet your skill level and area of interest!
NOTE: The Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing is located in a gated warehouse complex. Students will need to obtain the keypad code when registering. Required attire for all classes: natural fiber clothing only - no synthetic materials; boots or closed-toe shoes (no sandals). Shoes/clothing will get dirty. Eye and ear protection provided.
2015-16 Fall–Winter Classes
To register, please call 540-453-2215.
Modern Metal Work and Welding
In this project-driven class, you’ll learn the art of metal work, fabrication and welding -while creating projects to take home. This class is also great for engineering students who need practical experience or artists who want to begin learning about metal fabrication and welding to create metal sculpture. Work will entail using an acetylene torch, mig welder, various grinding equipment and an electric band saw. Whether you are a beginner or have some metal work/welding experience, this class will be fun and educational.
Meets: Nov 21-22 OR Dec 5-6 OR Dec 19-20 OR Jan 9-10 OR Jan 23-24
Beginning Metalsmithing - Introduction to Soldering & Stone Setting
Day 1: Introduction to Soldering
After an introduction to silver soldering using an oxy-acetylene torch, you will make a finished sterling jewelry design of your own creation using various soldering techniques.
Meets: Nov 14
Day 2: Introduction to Stone Setting
Create a custom bezel and set a cabochon stone in sterling to make your own ring, pendant or earring design. Stones are provided, or you may bring your own. Introduction to Metalsmithing or other metal experience is helpful; however beginners may also take this class and work at their own level.
Meets: Nov 15
Fee: $99 ($30 material fee, payable to instructor)
Beginning Metalsmithing – Bracelet Workshop
Designed for the beginner or intermediate student, this class will teach metal forming techniques to create a bracelet in NuGold (red brass) or copper. You’ll use hammers, anvils and specialized forms to create a bangle and cuff bracelet and explore finishing techniques such as embossed (hammered), planished (smooth), polished, satin and various patinas.
You may choose to spend the day on a single complex design or on several smaller bracelets. Great for gifts!
Meets: Dec 5
Fee: $99 ($30 material fee, payable to instructor; sterling silver available upon request)
Build a Shield
Learn all you need to know about shop safety, fire management, and hammer control. Create a shield with your own emblems ready for mock battle - a great piece to show off at the next Renaissance Fair.
Meets: Nov 14-15
Build a Spear
Practice shop safety, fire management, and hammer control as you make a spear head of your own pattern…worthy of Middle Earth! A dowel will be provided for each spear head.
Meets: Dec 12-13
Build a Helmet
Create a helmet with your own embellishment to show off at the next SCA event or Renaissance Fair. Refine your shop safety, fire management, and hammer control skills.
Meets: Jan 9-10
Fireplace Tools for the Home
Tired of the handles on the store-bought poker falling off? Learn how to create a fire poker and shovel that will last for generations, as you learn about shop safety, fire management, hammer control and forging techniques. As time allows, you may also make individual hooks or a hook rack for the new tools.
Meets: Jan 23-24
Tongs, Tools, & Knives
Forge your own set of tongs and get an introduction to knife making in this two-day intermediate class that focuses on simple tools, hardening and tempering. Prerequisite: Any Blacksmithing Beginner Class or previous blacksmithing experience.
Meets: Nov 21-22
Introduction to Stained Glass Workshop
In just one day learn all the basics of working with stained glass and create your own masterpiece! No previous experience is necessary! Students will learn step-by-step instruction on the fundamentals of creating stained glass pieces. Learn pattern preparation, how to cut glass, foil and solder. Take home a creation of your own making.
Meets: Nov 28
Fee: $99 ($30 material fee, payable to instructor)
Fun-da-metals Evening Course
Artistic metal fabrication and blacksmithing is what you will learn in this comprehensive course. Topics include shop safety, layout and design, cutting, oxy-acetelyne torch techniques, mig-welding, drilling, grinding, finishing, and beginning blacksmithing. Build a stool, garden gate, or fire screen project - or work on a project of your own. Four Tuesday evenings.
Meets: Dec 1, 8, 15, 22 OR Jan 5, 12, 19, 26
Blacksmithing Certification Program
If you like to work with your hands and be creative, learning a trade in the art of traditional blacksmithing might be the career journey for you. Designed to train students in the art of architectural and ornamental metalwork on a professional level, this certification program qualifies successful students to work for and continue their training with a professional blacksmith. The Certification Program begins in September and is limited to 10 students each year. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a certificate from Blue Ridge Community College.
Workshops meet 8 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday; most of the 12 workshops also include afternoon labs on Fridays (3-6 pm).
The Blacksmithing Certification Program begins each September. During the 12-month program, you must register for each monthly workshop online or by calling 540-453-2215. Workshops must be taken in sequence, unless you’ve had prior experience AND pass an aptitude test.
The 12 workshops cover many aspects of blacksmithing, as well as topics such as introduction to business management/accounting, zoning and building codes. The instructor may also recommend other online micro-business management courses. Certificate program instructor Dale Morse has more than 35 years of experience in traditional blacksmithing, is the co-founder of the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing and proprietor of Clay Hill Forge, an artisan blacksmithing company specializing in architectural and ornamental ironwork.