List of Blacksmithing Classes in Wisconsin 2021 [Updated]
Wisconsin is a state in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions of the US. Known for its agriculture (particularly dairy farming), manufacturing, and health care, Wisconsin’s economy is diverse and was once heavily supported by local craftsmen such as blacksmiths.
During Wisconsin’s history as a frontier state in the early and mid 1800s, blacksmiths were integral to the formation of small towns and helped grow large cities like Madison and Milwaukee, where artisan blacksmiths continue to work and offer instruction in their craft today.
Farmers across the state relied on local smiths to create unique farm implements and horseshoes and make repairs. As farming machinery advanced, the traditional blacksmith’s role diminished.
Despite economic changes, blacksmithing remains a popular hobby, artform, and profession throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Let’s take a look at the blacksmithing classes, workshops, and other educational opportunities offered in Wisconsin in 2021.
- Hoffman, Liam (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 162 Pages - 08/25/2017 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
- Type: Blacksmithing
- Classes: small group, 1-2 days, weekends
- Price: $160-$495
- Website: http://bensondesigns.com/classes/index.php
- Telephone: (920) 499-4027
- Location: 1651 Brookfield Ave Unit E-5 Green Bay, WI 54313
Benson Designs is owned by Jeff Benson, a blacksmith with almost 25 years of experience. Benson specializes in ornamental blacksmithing, creating functional art for businesses and homes. He also offers beginner blacksmithing classes each year.
While information for 2021 classes is not yet available, 2020 classes at Benson Designs included Introduction to Blacksmithing and Blacksmithing 101 and will likely be offered again this year. These 1 and 2 day classes teach the fundamentals of smithing like tapering, upsetting, twisting, punching, riveting, and more.
Projects completed include knives, fire pokers, hatchets, candle holders, trivets, jewelry, and tools.
- Type: Blacksmithing
- Classes: small group, 2-5 days
- Price: $200-$1250
- Website: https://naumansnorthernschoolforblacksmiths.wordpress.com/
- Telephone: (262) 626-2208
- Location: 4190 Badger Rd Kewaskum, WI 53040
Workshops at Nauman’s Northern School for Blacksmiths are taught by Dan Nauman, who has been smithing since 1979. He has won numerous awards for his work, has taught across the country, and served on the board of directors for ABANA.
Students can choose from beginner, project-based, and technique-based workshops. Topics covered in past offerings include forging a rose, door handles, tools, twisting, and joinery.
Advanced blacksmiths would benefit from attending a Personalized Tutorial Workshop with Nauman, where you request the topic to be learned and work through it together. These private lessons are great if you are serious about building your skill set and possibly opening your own business one day.
- Type: Blacksmithing, Welding
- Classes: small group,1-3 days, full day
- Price: $125-$385
- Website: https://shakeragalley.org/product-category/adult-workshops/blacksmithing-welding/
- Telephone: (608) 987-3292
- Location: 18 Shake Rag St. Mineral Point, WI 53565
Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts is a non profit arts and crafts school with the mission to cultivate creativity in Mineral Point’s rural community and preserve the historic buildings that make up the Center.
Metalworking enthusiasts will be impressed by the range of blacksmithing and welding classes offered at Shake Rag Alley. Beginner welding and blacksmithing classes cover necessary techniques and instruct students on how to make simple projects. Other classes focus on specific projects like garden gates and yard art.
The mix of beginner and intermediate class offerings make Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts a great option for those newer to smithing. The prices of classes are also more affordable than other offerings in the state.
- Type: Blacksmithing
- Classes: small group, 3 hour sessions
- Price: $50
- Website: https://www.nanaschowalter.com/
- Telephone: (608) 523-4750
- Location: N8126 Postville Rd, Blanchardville, WI 53516
Nana Schowalter is a sculptor with an MFA in fine arts from the University of Wisconsin. She started blacksmithing in 1984 and creates interior and garden sculpture from iron, copper, and brass.
Classes with Schowalter take place inside the Postville Blacksmith Shop, which was built in 1856. Students learn to heat and hammer metal to create custom, artistic pieces like hooks and hardware.
Classes with Nana Schowalter would be ideal for people completely new to forging who want to learn blacksmithing from a more artistic, unconventional perspective.
- Type: Blacksmithing
- Classes: one-on-one, 2 people maximum, weekends, weekdays, half day, full day, open forge
- Price: $50-$75/hour
- Website: http://www.stormcloak.com/index.html
- Telephone: (414) 507-0305
- Location: Mequon, WI
StormCloak Forge is owned and operated by Sam Laturi, an artist blacksmith with over 20 years of forging experience. Laturi opened StormCloak Forge in 2011 and completes his work in a restored stone and mortar building from 1844.
Classes with Laturi are one-on-one or one-on-two to allow for individualized learning. Introductory, beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes are offered and range in length from 2 to 8 hours, making them highly customizable based on your needs.
Projects completed in class include S hooks, fire pokers, bottle openers, tongs, and more depending on student skill level and interests.
Smiths with prior experience and a desire to make a business out of their passion should consider signing up for Laturi’s Advanced class. In it, Laturi teaches the business side of blacksmithing and explains concepts like pricing, designing, and selling products online.
StormCloak Forge also offers open forge times called Custom Blacksmithing, where smiths without a home workspace can come and use Laturi’s tools and supplies and get help with projects.
- Type: Knife Making
- Classes: small group, 2 days, full day
- Price: $400
- Website: https://www.schroederknifeworks.com/
- Telephone: N/A
- Location: 1516 Gilson Street, Madison, WI, 5371
Isaiah Schroeder Knifeworks is a small knife making workshop that has been producing hand forged blades since 2010. Schroeder has a background in woodworking, sculpture, fine art, and cutlery, and uses his acquired skills to make high-quality, personalized knives for clients.
Schroeder is offering a Chef Knife course this year, in which he teaches students how to forge a Japanese style kitchen knife. Techniques covered include forging, heat treating, grinding, sharpening, and handle making.
The goal of Schroeder’s instruction is for students to become so comfortable with knife making techniques that they can recreate the process at home. If you are interested in learning knife making in-depth so you can apply the skills to your own work, Isaiah Schroeder’s classes would definitely be of benefit to you.