Hey! I found your awesome blog while checking out blacksmithing tags and your work is absolutely fantastic. I noticed you're roughly in the same area as me. I was wondering what classes you could recommend to get started?
Oh, thank you! I actually teach at the two places that I most recommend: Prospect Hill Forge in Waltham, MA, and The Steel Yard in Providence, RI. At both places I teach an eight/nine week class (one 3hr class per week) that takes you from complete beginner making an s-hook through bottle openers, tool making, all the way to silly dragons. At PHF we call it “Ready, Set, Smith!” and at The Steel Yard we call it “Fundamentals of Blacksmithing” where it’s only eight weeks long with no forge welding (that’s a separate class that I teach).
They’re both great, the shops are very different, PHF is much more traditional where we only use hand tools, and make all of our own tools ourselves. The Steel Yard also does welding and ceramics and such, they’re more heavy industrial, but I teach the same things at each place.
At PHF we also have a Rudiments of Blacksmithing series, taught by Carl West who’s absolutely wonderful and taught me loads about both teaching and smithing. It is the same one class per week format, but split into four week chunks. You learn the same skills in it as you would in Taste of Blacksmithing (a single session try-it-out class where you make an S-hook in 3 hours) as well as Rudiments I and II. After Ready Set Smith you can plug right into Rudiments III to keep learning. 😀
In addition, we also have a Nothing But Knives class taught by Carl which is three weeks once per week, where we take you through everything you need to know to make a forged, ground, hardened, tempered, and sharpened knife. If knives are more your thing.
Long answer, but it’s an answer! Happy Smithing!