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.
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.
Modern Metal Work and Welding
Modern Metal Work and Welding
Our Modern Metal Work & Welding 2-day class is now a project driven class. Students will learn the art of metal work, fabrication and welding while creating projects that they can bring home with them. This 2-day class is great for engineering students that need practical experience or great for the artist that would like to begin learning about the art of 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 with no metal work experience or someone with some metal work/welding experience, this class will be fun and educational. Each student will have completed the class with the basic knowledge of modern metal working, a genuine skill and a finished project.
Meets: Jan 3-4 OR Jan 17-18 OR Feb 7-8 OR Feb 21-22 OR Mar 7-8 OR Mar 21-22 OR Apr 4-5 OR Apr 18-19 OR May 2-3
Introduction to Stone Setting – Cabochons NEW!
Students will create a custom bezel and set a cabochon stone in sterling silver. Stones provided, but students are welcome to bring their own. $20 Materials fee payable to instructor at time of class. Prerequisite: Intro to Soldering or prior soldering experience
Meets: Jan 10
Introduction to Forged Jewelry NEW!
This introduction to metalsmithing teaches the traditional techniques of the silversmith and blacksmith. Using hammer and anvil, student will learn the graceful art of moving metal. Students will be using copper wire and sheet with Sterling silver available at an additional fee. A $10 material fee will be payable to the instructor at the time of class. No prior experience is necessary.
Meets: Jan 24
Metalsmithing - Chainmaking
Chain making introduces basic jewelry techniques to first time students and advanced design opportunity for more experienced students. A creatively designed chain can stand alone or greatly enhance a pendant. We will cover soldered and non-soldered links so it is a great opportunity to learn or get more practice soldering. Sterling silver and copper provided. A $20 materials fee is payable to the instructor at time of class. No experience is necessary.
Meets: Feb 7
Metalsmithing - Hinge Workshop
This class is an overview of several hinge mechanisms; Students will create a basic five knuckle hinge and cradle hinge. This class will be a great compliment to the Metalsmithing Container Class offered March 7th and an important skill for the serious metalsmith. A Materials fee of $10 is payable to the instructor at the time of class. Prerequisite: Prior metal experience helpful but not required.
Meets: Feb 21
Metalsmithing - Pierced Celtic Designs NEW!
Beginners are welcome! Students will focus on piercing, the use of a jeweler’s saw to define the intricate patterns of traditional Celtic designs. A great skill building opportunity for experienced students. A materials fee of $10 is payable to the instructor at the time of class. No experience necessary.
Meets: Mar 7
Metalsmithing - Containers – (Making Small Boxes) NEW!
Students will construct a small box container with a friction catch. Students who have taken the hinge workshop may integrate a hinged opening. A materials fee of $10 is payable to the instructor at the time of class. No experience is necessary.
Meets: Mar 21
Metalsmithing - Foldforming
Have fun exploring specific techniques of fold-forming, the art of hammering metal along a fold to create three dimensional shapes. Fashion some truly unusual forms of your own design that will make beautiful earrings, pendants or pins. Students will also learn how to make jump rings and ear wires in this class. Prior experience helpful, but not a prerequisite. There is a $10 materials fee payable at the time of the class.
Meets: Apr 18
Metalsmithing - Torch Fired Enamels
Painting with fire! Torch firing enamels onto metal is an affordable and fun technique for students of every level. It offers extreme spontaneity and versatility for students looking to add color to their jewelry designs without the time and experience requirements of kiln fired enameling. $10 materials fee, payable to instructor.
Meets: May 2
Hook Rack & Candlestick
Hammer metal to create a candlestick and wall-mounted coat rack in this beginner level course. Class includes safe shop practices, fire management, efficient hammer techniques and basic forging. Note: *This is the best technique-driven class for the beginner.
Meets: Jan 10-11 OR May 9-10
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: Jan 24-25
Heart and Roses
For that special someone, make a heart shape with a rose out of steel that will never wilt. A perfect Valentine’s Day or Christmas gift! You’ll also learn about shop safety, fire management, and hammer control.
Meets: Feb 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: Feb 21-22 OR Apr 18-19
Fireplace Tools for the Home
Tired of the handles on that store bought poker falling off? Learn to create a fire poker and a shovel, fireplace tools that will last for generations. As time allows, you will also make individual hooks, or a hook rack for your new fire tools. This is a project driven class. Prior blacksmithing experience not required.
Meets: Mar 14-15
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: Mar 21-22, Saturday and Sunday, 9 am-4 pm,
Kitchen and Bath Hardware NEW!
Need a towel ring for those dish and hand towels? Want to customize your paper towel holder? How about a utensil rack for the kitchen? This class will let you spice up your space with metal fixtures you make. Students will learn shop safety, basic fire management and forging skills.
Meets: Mar 28-29
Wall-Mounted Pot Rack
Learn basic blacksmithing skills, shop safety, fire management, and hammer control, plus riveting and bending tools and techniques. Projects include a wall-mounted pot rack.
Meets: Apr 11-12
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: Feb 28-Mar 1
Create decorative patterns in metal by forge welding steels of different carbon contents as you explore pattern development. You will make three billets of damascus in three different manipulated patterns. This is a good class to take prior to Intermediate Tongs, Tools and Knives. Prerequisite: any Blacksmithing Beginner Class or previous blacksmithing experience. Saturday and Sunday, 9 am-4 pm.
Meets: Apr 25-26
Introduction to Stained Glass Workshop NEW!
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. Each student will go home with a creation of their own making. All materials will be provided; there will be a materials fee up to $30 payable to instructor at time of class.
Meets: Jan 17 OR Feb 28 OR Mar 28 OR Apr 25
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: Jan 6, 13, 20, 27 OR Feb 3, 10, 17, 24 OR Mar 3, 10, 17, 24 OR Apr 7, 14, 21, 28 OR May 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). 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.
Weekend Workshop 5
Intermediate skills will be introduced to the student in the form of scroll-foliate design. The student will produce a full scale layout, accurately formed scrolls with organic leaf motif. New skill introduction will be basic forge welding. Projects will include a “sketch in iron” reminiscent of a study in architectural ornamental form. Four individual three hour labs will be required of the student to perfect foliate and scroll forms. Students will need to demonstrate an ability to make consistent leaf and scroll forms, and seamless forge welds.
Meets: Jan 3-4; required afternoon labs: Jan 16, 23, 30, Feb 6
Weekend Workshop 6
Forge welding, tenon joints, and scroll forming skills will be built upon with the introduction of trefoil design. The student will produce a tri symmetrical full scale layout and will add jump forge welding to their repertoire. Projects will include a table top trivet with two jump welds, three lap welds, and six tenons in a specific geometric form. Four individual three hour labs will be required of the student to perfect the formation of ring and trefoil forms. Student will need to demonstrate an ability to produce consistent and symmetrical geometric forms to a given layout, consistent forge welds, and consistent tenons.
Meets: Feb 7-8; required afternoon labs: Feb 12, 19, 26, Mar 5
Weekend Workshop 7
Sheet metal repousse will be added to the students skills as well as beginning chasing techniques. Students will be introduced to the traditional as well as modern sheet metal cutting methods. Projects will include multi-piece roses with chased leaves forge welded to stems. Four individual three hour labs will be required of the student to perfect sheet metal skills and basic hot chasing work. Students will need to be demonstrate an ability to produce consistent floral forms with leaves with clean chased veining.
Meets: Mar 7-8; required afternoon labs: Mar 12, 19, 26, Apr 2
Weekend Workshop 8
Students will now put all their accumulated skill into producing a fire place set project. A common forge welded form will be taught and students will reproduce this form during the weekend class and subsequent labs to make a five piece (poker, shovel, brush, tong, and stand) fire set. Emphasis will be put on consistent form and appropriate scale.
Meets: Apr 4-5
Weekend Workshop 9
Continuation of the fireplace set project.
Meets: May 2-3