List of Blacksmithing Classes in Michigan 2021 [Updated]
Michigan is a state in the Midwest region and is surrounded by the Great Lakes. Its geography means it is economically interconnected with Canada and other states, as its many waterways and bridges connect the peninsular state to other areas and allow for movement of goods.
Michigan produces much of the United States’s dairy, Christmas trees, and most famously, vehicles. General Motors, Ford, and other automotive companies are headquartered in Michigan and represent the industrial capacities of the state. Like other states across America, this industrial spirit may well have started in the forge.
The blacksmith shop was a necessary business found in most small towns across rural Michigan in the 18th and 19th centuries. Smiths worked as jacks of all trades to create and repair a range of everyday tools. Smithing would have inevitably suffered as Michigan’s population and economy grew and the transition to large-scale manufacturing replaced small-town craftspeople.
Despite economic changes and growth within Michigan, blacksmithing continues to thrive in the state. Independent blacksmith shops, historical sites, and art schools offer blacksmithing classes that are appropriate for all skill levels and interests. Below are some of the best class offerings available in Michigan this year.
- Hoffman, Liam (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 162 Pages - 08/25/2017 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
1) CJ Forge
- Type: Blacksmithing
- Classes: private one-on-one, small group, weekdays and weekends, evenings
- Price: $204-$414
- Website: http://www.cjforge.net/
- Telephone: (248) 543-4010
- Location: 86 E. Ten Mile Rd Hazel Park, MI 48030
For over 15 years, CJ Forge has provided custom metalwork and classes to its community. Donny Miller, the owner and instructor at CJ forge, is an artist blacksmith who instructs students in the fundamentals of the craft.
Classes at CJ Forge are private, one-on-one, and scheduled based on student needs, so if you are looking for instruction that is completely tailored to you, this location may be a great option for you.
Each class builds on the basics and is centered around completing a project chosen by students. Options include blades, fireplace tools, decorative leaves, and hooks depending on the student’s skill level and interests.
- Type: Blacksmithing, Bladesmithing
- Classes: small group, one and two day courses
- Price: $250-$600
- Website: http://www.osborneforge.com/
- Telephone: (734) 680-6689
- Location: 2277 Willow Road, Milan, MI 48160
Chad Osborne, owner and operator of Osborne Forge, has been a farrier for 26 years and began forging swords and knives as a child. He is a certified Journeyman blacksmith who enjoys teaching classes and crafting custom pieces.
Osborne offers blacksmithing and bladesmithing courses appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students. It is important to note that most of his classes require past experience or the completion of his “Introduction to Blacksmithing and Bladesmithing” class in order to participate. In this foundational class, Osborne helps students become comfortable in the workshop and teaches how to forge barn hooks and a railroad spike knife.
Other class offerings at Osborne Forge focus on the creation of Damascus knives, chef’s knives, hunters knives, camp knives, and tomahawks. Most bladesmithing courses take place over two days, so they do require a larger time commitment.
An exciting new offering coming to Osborne Forge in 2021 is sword making! Call or email to find out more about this class or any others listed here.
3) Smith Shop
- Type: Blacksmithing, Knife Making
- Classes: small group (1-6 students), evenings, weekends
- Price: $400-$485
- Website: https://smithshop.com/
- Telephone: (313) 559-2237
- Location: 180 Victor St Highland Park MI 48203
Smith Shop was founded in 2012 by Gabriel Craig and Amy Weiks, who have been metalsmithing for years and have received BFAs and MFAs in metalworking. Craig and Weiks are recognized nationally for their work, which has been featured in many prestigious art museums.
Blacksmithing classes at Smith Shop include “Beginning Blacksmithing,” “Intermediate Blacksmithing,” and“Knife Making.” Classes cover the basics of smithing and added tips and tricks enhance the learning experience. Students complete their own projects like hammers, knives, and hooks.
Classes take place on evenings and weekends, so they are accommodating for people who work typical daytime schedules. Materials are provided, and small class sizes encourage interaction with other students and the instructor.
- Type: Blacksmithing, Bladesmithing, Open Studio
- Classes: small group, weekends, 1-2 days
- Price: $45-$310
- Website: https://www.mifolkschool.com/blacksmithing.html
- Telephone: (734) 436-8973
- Location: 7734 Plymouth Rd Ann Arbor, MI 48105
The Michigan Folk School is an organization dedicated to teaching traditional crafts through hands-on experiences. The school offers a wide range of classes, but some of their most popular are blacksmithing and bladesmithing. Most classes are taught by Wade Buck, a metal artist with over a decade of experience.
Beginner level classes are offered in blacksmithing and bladesmithing. Students learn how to use tools of the forge and learn skills like drawing and bending, profiling, beveling, heat treating, and finishing depending on the class chosen. Beginner blacksmiths create an S hook to take home, and beginner blade smiths craft a small knife.
Classes at The Michigan Folk School are also appropriate for intermediate level blacksmiths. Fire poker and tongs classes are offered to students who have already completed the beginner level courses. These classes are great opportunities to make your own tools under the guidance of a professional.
Open Studio times are available on Sundays in three hour blocks. This is an affordable way to work in a forge if you do not have a home setup. All tools are provided and Open Studios are supervised if you need assistance.
- Type: Blacksmithing, Bladesmithing,
- Classes: small group, all day, weekday, weekend
- Price: $275-$650
- Website: http://www.tillersinternational.org/classes?category=Blacksmithing+%26+Metalwork
- Telephone: (269) 626-0223
- Location: 10515 OP Ave E Scotts, MI 49088
Tillers International is a non profit organization working to teach agricultural and traditional practices to people domestically and internationally. It was founded in 1984, and has since worked with farmers in Africa to help them improve their techniques and has established a school at its headquarters for American students.
The blacksmithing offerings at Tiller International are extensive and unique to competitors. Students can choose from classes such as “Advanced Blacksmithing,” “Blacksmithing for Women,” “Intro to Blacksmithing,” and many more. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced smiths would all benefit from taking classes at Tiller International.
Classes are expensive compared to the other options discussed, so take your budget into consideration before signing up. Several classes are held on weekdays and last a full day, so they are best suited to people working flexible schedules.
- Type: Blacksmithing, open forge
- Classes: small group (1-4 students), family classes
- Price: $150-$270
- Website: https://www.troyhistoricvillage.org/programs/blacksmithing/
- Telephone: (248) 524-3570
- Location: 60 W. Wattles Rd Troy, Michigan 48098
Troy Historic Village is a living history museum that replicates a typical early 19th century village. As part of the Troy Historical Society, the Village hosts events and classes for Society members and non-members alike.
Blacksmithing classes at Troy Historic Village are appropriate for beginner and intermediate smiths. Two types of classes are offered: “Family Blacksmithing,” a private family class for ages nine and up, and “Anvil Time,” which is an open forge class. Both classes are centered around the completion of projects like tapered nails or student’s choice.
The family-friendly nature of classes sets Troy Historic Village apart. If you are a smith and a parent who wants to introduce blacksmithing to your child, these classes are a great opportunity to do so.