Blacksmithing Classes in Minnesota 2021 [Updated]


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List of Blacksmithing Classes in Minnesota 2021 [Updated]

blacksmithing classes in Minnesota and Minneapolis
Blacksmithing as a hobby and profession thrives in the northern state of Minnesota.

Minnesota is a northern midwest state in America with a rich Scandinavian history and a diverse population that helps nurture the arts scene. The state was settled by immigrants from Norway, Sweden, Finland, and other northern European countries in the 19th century who relied on a local blacksmith for tools, horseshoes, and other necessities of the frontier.

The prevalence of Scandinavian heritage in Minnesota also means there is an interest in Viking history and culture. Blacksmithing, therefore, thrives in the state as hobbyists and professional blacksmiths explore the weapons and tools used by Vikings and seek to recreate them through forging.

The large Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are home to around a dozen museums of art, history, science, and culture and many smaller cities across the state of Minnesota also boast respected arts and culture institutions. The artsy vibe of the cities, coupled with a statewide interest in history and sciences, makes Minnesota a great place to learn an ancient craft like blacksmithing.

Below are some of the best blacksmithing and bladesmithing classes currently offered in Minnesota. With a range of locations, topics, and prices, you will be sure to find a class that is right for you.

Forged a Guide to Becoming a Blacksmith
  • Hoffman, Liam (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 162 Pages - 08/25/2017 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

1) Ken’s Custom Iron

  • Type: Blacksmithing
  • Classes: small group, full day, evenings, couples, parent/child
  • Price: $150-$375
  • Website: https://www.kensiron.com/
  • Telephone: (320) 746-8161
  • Location: 37634 County Road 9, Avon, MN 56310

Ken Zitur, the owner of Ken’s Custom Iron, began blacksmithing in 1974 and completed his apprenticeship with the Railway Education Bureau in Minnesota. His work has been featured in the Smithsonian and department stores across the country. 

Ken offers blacksmithing classes for beginner and intermediate students that cover all the necessary techniques like drawing out, scrolling, bending, splitting, and more. All classes include materials and snacks. 

A unique offering at Ken’s Custom Iron is his Viking Style Knife Class. Students learn to forge a blade step by step and create an artistic handle. 

Unlike many other blacksmith shops, Ken offers classes for couples, children, and teens. If you love blacksmithing and want to introduce it to your family, these classes would be a great opportunity to do so.


2) Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center

  • Type: Blacksmithing
  • Classes: small group, multiple sessions over several weeks
  • Price: N/A
  • Website: https://www.cafac.org/
  • Telephone: (612) 294-0400
  • Location: 3749 Chicago Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55407

Founded in 2007, the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center is a non profit organization dedicated to teaching art forms that use the flame including blacksmithing, glass working, jewelry making, and much more. 

Classes at the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center include Build Your Own Forge, Blacksmithing Basics, and Project Shop. Forge building at the Arts Center is offered twice per year and allows you to build a propane forge for your home workshop. Blacksmithing Basics classes are great introductions to the craft. Students learn all the essential techniques of blacksmithing and get to make hooks, utensils, and tools. Project Shop classes focus on specific projects like door knockers, and bottle openers. 

Taking beginner classes at the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center requires a larger time commitment than other offerings, as classes are up to ten sessions long. If you are serious about learning all the basics of blacksmithing and have the time to do so, this option may be a perfect fit for you.


3) VanMadrone MetalWorks

  • Type: Blacksmithing
  • Classes: small group
  • Price: N/A
  • Website: http://www.vanmadronemetalworks.com/
  • Telephone: (612) 964-4037
  • Location: 3555 5th Avenue South, Suite 109 Minneapolis, MN 55408

VanMadrone MetalWorks is owned and operated by Jef Van Syoc, who began blacksmithing in 1999. Jef is an artisan blacksmith who creates custom pieces for clients, and instructs students when he has time.

Classes at VanMadrone MetalWorks are beginner friendly and also suitable for more advanced blacksmiths. Students receive one-on-one instruction with Jef and get to make a hand forged item to take home.


4) North House Folk School

  • Type: Blacksmithing
  • Classes: small group, 1-4 days
  • Price: N/A
  • Website: https://northhouse.org/
  • Telephone: (218) 387-9762
  • Location: 500 W Hwy 61 PO Box 759 Grand Marais, MN 55604

The North House Folk School was founded in 1997 with the intention to teach locals traditional northern crafts. Learning for the sake of learning is one of the key principles of a folk school, and something that is emphasized in blacksmithing classes and the other offerings at North House. Students learn at their own pace in a cooperative, friendly environment.

The classes offered at North House Folk School are very unique and highlight traditional smithing methods. Examples of class offerings include Blacksmithing: The Basics and Beyond, Viking Fire Steels, Folding Knives, and Crafting Knives in the Finnish Style. Craftsmanship and intentional design are at the heart of these classes, and are useful elements to consider for your own projects.

Check out the Folk School’s website for a list of archived classes to get a better feel for offerings and call for information on current classes.


5) Tunnel Mill

  • Type: Blacksmithing, knife making
  • Classes: small group,
  • Price: $90-$450
  • Website: http://www.tunnelmillcrafts.com/Calendar/Calendar.htm
  • Telephone: (507) 289-4189
  • Location: 28036 County Highway 1 Spring Valley, MN 55975

Tunnel Mill is a historic mill and blacksmith shop purchased by John and Carol Adams 1982. Blacksmithing classes taught by guest instructors are offered at the Mill throughout the year and range in topic from beginner blacksmithing to Damascus knife making and more. 

Beginner students learn drawing out, upsetting, bending, and twisting to create a fire poker. Knife making classes cover heating, treating, grinding, and handle making so students feel confident in the process from start to finish.


6) NorthStar Forge

  • Type: Blacksmithing, Knife Making
  • Classes: private, small group, full day
  • Price: $325
  • Website: https://www.northstarforge.com/classes-training/
  • Telephone: (612) 597-5639
  • Location: Carver, MN (30 miles southwest of Minneapolis)

Master bladesmith Jason of NorthStar Forge began making knives and swords in 2011 and opened NorthStar Forge in 2012. He is a member of the American Bladesmithing Society, was featured on the History Channel’s Forged in Fire series, and competed in Discovery Channel’s Master of Arms.

Jason currently teaches railroad spike knife making to students of all skill levels. Students learn to forge the blade and handle, profile, and refine the shape of the blade all in the full-day class session.


7) Raspberry Island Folk School

  • Type: Blacksmithing, Knife Making
  • Classes: small group, full day, 1-2 days
  • Price: $40-$225
  • Website: https://raspberryislandfolkschool.blogspot.com/
  • Telephone: (218) 851-6085
  • Location: 50569 218th Place McGregor, MN 55760

Raspberry Island Folk School is owned by Gary and Janet Hill and offers students a chance to learn traditional crafts through hands-on instruction.

The Hills offer a wide range of blacksmithing classes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students. Beginning Blacksmithing covers all the basics of smithing like upsetting, tapering, hot cutting, fullering, swaging and more. Project specific classes allow students to make tongs, hooks, and hangers. Students interested in knife making will appreciate the Folk School’s Damascus knife making class, which teaches material preparation and forging.

An interesting offering at Raspberry Island Folk School is Frontier Blacksmithing. This class series teaches students how to make tools and weapons that would have been used by pioneers. Cooking tools, axe heads, and railroad spike knives and some of the projects completed in the Frontier Blacksmithing classes.

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