Blacksmithing Classes in North Carolina 2021 [Updated]


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List of Blacksmithing Classes in North Carolina 2021 [Updated]

blacksmithing classes in North Carolina
Blacksmithing is a traditional Appalachian craft that continues to be practiced and taught to new smiths across the state of North Carolina.

North Carolina is a southeastern state with strong ties to blacksmithing, both historically and in the present day. As in most other US states, the blacksmith played a large role in the foundation of small towns and was an important and well respected individual within early North Carolinian settlements.

Townspeople and farmers relied on their local blacksmith for farming tools, household items, horseshoes, and repairs. In the rural Appalachian region of North Carolina, the skills of blacksmiths were especially vital. Those who lived secluded in the mountains would have rarely ventured to larger cities to buy new goods and nearby blacksmiths could make repairs for a lower price.

In the Civil War era of North Carolina’s history, blacksmiths were needed more than ever before. Area leaders sometimes reassigned drafted blacksmiths to communities with compromised farming operations in need of blacksmithing services.

This rich history of blacksmithing in North Carolina helps support the craft today. Blacksmiths live, work, and teach across the state and offer unique learning opportunities for beginner, intermediate, and advanced smiths.

Below are some of the best blacksmith classes in North Carolina in 2021. With so many to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect fit!

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) Calerin Forge

  • Type: Blacksmithing, Knife Making
  • Classes: small group, full day, 1-2 days
  • Price: $275-$650
  • Website: http://www.calerinforge.com/
  • Telephone: N/A
  • Location: Balsam, NC

Calerin Forge is owned by David Burress, who teaches classes alongside his son, Caleb. David began forging metal in the 1980s, beginning in industrial welding and transitioning to blacksmithing full time. Caleb has over 20 years of experience working in the forge with his father.

Classes at Calerin Forge focus on introductory principles in blacksmithing and knife making, advanced techniques, and tool making for your own forge. Specialty classes include Scottish Dirk making, Tomahawk making, and Damascus knife making. Students learn all the necessary skills needed to create finished products and replicate them at home.

Class offerings are described as being “project driven and fast paced” so if you are a quick learner who feels confident in your ability to concentrate in an intensive learning environment, Calerin Forge is likely a good option for you.

David and Caleb Burress offer classes throughout the year over one or two days, making Calerin Forge a great option for almost anyone. Beginners through advanced classes are competitively priced, especially considering the intensive nature of the curriculum. Class offerings from March to November 2021 are already posted online, so take a look and plan ahead for the year.


2) Penland School of Craft

  • Type: Blacksmithing, Welding
  • Classes: small group,6-15 day sessions
  • Price: $867-$1944 plus $938-$4147 for room and board if applicable
  • Website: https://penland.org/workshops/iron/
  • Telephone: (828) 765-2359
  • Location: 67 Doras Trail Penland, North Carolina 28765

The Penland School of Craft offers fully immersive, hands-on education for craftspeople. Its classes are based in the traditional arts and students learn from guest studio artist instructors. Students at the Penland School enroll in one course at a time to ensure that they are completely focused on the topic of choice.

Metalworking opportunities at the Penland School of Craft include blacksmithing and artistic welding. These programs emphasize traditional and nontraditional forge uses to craft one of a kind pieces. Students can choose from a unique range of courses that teach Damascus blade making, metal sculpture, utensil making, and metal furniture building.

Students attending the Penland School have the choice to live on campus during their studies if they are traveling from a distance. The higher cost of tuition at Penland plus room and board fees make this a more expensive option compared to others listed here. However, if you are someone living in North Carolina or the surrounding area and are looking to take your smithing skills to the next level, the Penland School of Craft is a really unique institution in the state.


3) Jeep’s Forge

  • Type: Blacksmithing
  • Classes: small group, 1-2 days, weekends, weekday, full day
  • Price: $125-$200
  • Website: https://jeepsforge.com/index.php
  • Telephone: (704) 213-1097
  • Location: P.O. Box 452, Rockwell, N.C. 29138

Jeep’s Forge is owned and operated by James “Jeep” Sabo, who began blacksmithing in the mid 1980s. Jeep works as a smith part time through demonstrations, apprenticeships, and teaching his own classes.

Jeep offers Basic Blacksmithing classes with levels 1-5. At each level, students learn techniques of increasing difficulty and complete a project incorporating the new skills learned. Examples of projects include hooks, nails, hinges, handles, utensils, shelf brackets, and blacksmithing tools. These projects are more practical in nature and are best for beginner students or people wanting to use their existing skills to make some useful items.

In addition to hands-on work time, Jeep also lectures on the history of blacksmithing, tools, shop safety, and materials. This would be a great introduction for complete beginners who need ample background information about blacksmithing and proper methods of forging.

Because of the practicality in teaching style and projects made, plus the lower cost of classes, Jeep’s Forge is a perfect education option for those brand new to smithing or more advanced beginners who want to better grasp the fundamental techniques of the trade.


4) John C. Campbell Folk School

  • Type: Blacksmithing
  • Classes: small group, weekend, weeklong
  • Price: $354-$630
  • Website: https://classes.folkschool.org/Browse.aspx
  • Telephone: (828) 837-2775
  • Location: One Folk School Road Brasstown, NC 28902

The John C. Campbell Folk School is a nonprofit educational organization devoted to preserving Appalachian crafts in North Carolina. The School was founded in 1925 and has since taught traditional crafts like blacksmithing, woodworking, weaving, painting, gardening, and more to thousands of students.

The Folk School offers a plethora of blacksmithing classes focusing on a range of topics, from Beginning Techniques to Early American and Colonial Hardware and everything in between. The classes are appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students and are taught by some of the most celebrated smiths in North Carolina.

The moderate pricing of classes and the duration of the classes make the John C. Campbell Folk School a good choice for blacksmithing students who are interested in furthering their education and diving into hands-on work time without investing thousands of dollars. Those who work full time or have otherwise busy schedules can choose the Folk School’s weekend offerings and still learn at this awesome smithing institution without a large time commitment.


5) North Carolina Custom Knifemakers Guild

  • Type: Knife Making
  • Classes: small group, 3-4 day
  • Price: $316-$375
  • Website: http://www.ncknifeguild.com/home.html
  • Telephone: (910) 898-9600
  • Location: 1011 Page Street Troy, NC

The North Carolina Custom Knifemakers Guild was founded in 1992. It aims to promote and improve knifemaking, teach the craft to others, and support new knife makers in education and training. The Guild meets quarterly and offers knife making classes to the public at Montgomery Community College.

Students taking classes with the Guild learn basic, intermediate, and advanced knife making techniques like designing, forging, grinding, and finishing. Those with knife making experience are welcome to take a Folding Knife class, which covers the use of pivots, bolsters, and liners.

Other classes cover how to make D-guard bowie knives, tomahawks, Christmas-themed knives, and chef knives.

Students interested in taking classes with the North Carolina Knifemakers Guild should contact Montgomery Community College at the number provided above to learn more about current offerings and any other information needed prior to taking a course.


6) MakerSpace Charlotte

  • Type: Blacksmithing
  • Classes: small group, evening, open forge
  • Price: $55
  • Website: https://www.makerspacecharlotte.org/
  • Telephone: (843) 345-6420
  • Location: 900 Pressley Rd Suite C Charlotte, NC 28217

MakerSpace Charlotte is a nonprofit organization that allows local artisans and craftspeople to learn and work in a collaborative setting. As a makerspace, all tools and equipment are available for use by members all day, every day.

In addition to “open forge” work time for members, MakerSpace Charlotte offers a Blacksmithing for Beginners course that instructs new smiths on the history, tools, and techniques of the craft. This evening class is perfect for brand new smiths who desire to learn more about blacksmithing without a huge time or financial commitment.

For more advanced blacksmiths who want to work independently, but do not yet have their own home setup, becoming a member of MakerSpace Charlotte is a great option. Reach out via telephone or email to learn more about the work spaces offered and the cost of monthly membership.


7) Mill Creek Forge

  • Type: Blacksmithing
  • Classes: full day, workshops, open forge
  • Price: N/A
  • Website: https://www.millcreekforge.com/
  • Telephone: (910) 464-3888
  • Location: 4512 Busbee Road Seagrove, NC 27341

Mill Creek Forge is owned by Jerry Darnell, who has worked with iron most of his life. He taught himself blacksmithing and has gone on to teach at the John C. Campbell Folk School and other institutions in the southern region. Darnell demonstrates and teaches at workshops and conferences throughout the year and offers learning opportunities for students at the Mill Creek Forge location.

Workshops and open forge times are offered at Mill Creek Forge several times per year. They are perfect for blacksmiths with prior knowledge of the craft who want to work alongside Jerry and receive assistance on projects.


8) Poplar Grove Plantation

  • Type: Blacksmithing
  • Classes: private, 4 hour sessions
  • Price: $125
  • Website: http://poplargrove.org/discover/blacksmith-workshop/
  • Telephone: (910) 686-9518
  • Location: 10200 US Highway 17 N. Wilmington, NC 28411

Poplar Grove Plantation educates the public on the history of the Gulla Geechee people of North Carolina, slavery, and farming life. The houses and other buildings date back to the 1850s and the blacksmith workshop is the site of classes offered throughout the spring and summer.

Autumn Day teaches the beginner blacksmithing class at Poplar Grove. She has over 16 years of experience in forging and learned the trade at UNC Charlotte’s College of Architecture.

Classes at Poplar Grove Plantation are appropriate for brand new smiths. Topics covered include using a coal-powered forge, tapering, twisting, drawing out, squaring, and other basic techniques.


9) North Carolina Artist-Blacksmith Association

  • Type: Blacksmithing
  • Classes: quarterly meetings, conferences, demonstrations
  • Price: $30
  • Website: https://www.ibiblio.org/nc-abana/index.html
  • Telephone: (336) 838-2284
  • Location: NC ABANA c/o J. Phillips 97 Trinity Ridge Lane Banner Elk, NC 28604

The North Carolina Artist-Blacksmith Association, or NCABANA is an organization dedicated to preserving and promoting blacksmithing in the state. Members include hobbyists, farriers, professional blacksmiths and bladesmiths, sculptors, and others. The diversity of members means that the education and networking experiences offered are endless.

NCABANA members participate in quarterly meetings hosted at various member homes. Meetings include demonstrations, discussions, and displaying recently completed work. New and experienced blacksmiths would highly benefit from talking to and learning from fellow members.

If you are ready to meet other blacksmiths living and working in North Carolina, check out NCABANA. Membership is extremely affordable and members gain access to opportunities to further their skills and knowledge.

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