Beginners blacksmithing with Thomas Gontar

Ref: S1D13310

Location: West Dean
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About this course

Learn some basic forging techniques and learn how to make a forged item, such as a bottle opener or forged toasting fork.

Course Description

Learn some basic blacksmithing techniques, such as: set downs; punching and drifting holes through metal; how to work the fire correctly; how to work the metal in the fire, along with the correct hammering techniques. There will be forging techniques demonstrated and learnt, such as tapering and slot and drifting.

You will be making forged items, such as a bottle opener and a toasting fork. You will be shown how to use different tools, such as slot punches and drifts for the bottle openers and a hot chisel for the toasting fork.

By the end of the course, you will have learnt some basic blacksmithing skills and gained an understanding of how a working forge operates. You will leave with two beautiful hand forged items.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course, the College will supply steel, fuel, hand tools (files, rasps, etc.).
  • You must wear goggles (provided) and suitable protective clothing for this course. Leather aprons, work gloves, welding gauntlets and goggles can be borrowed from the College Forge. Other protective equipment, e.g. welding helmets and ear defenders are also available in the Forge.

What students need to bring

  • Working clothes
  • Steel toe capped boots
  • Plenty of water
  • You will need to wear clothing suitable for workshop use, together with steel toe capped boots. Please note that cotton or wool clothing is preferable to nylon or other synthetics. Shorts do not provide necessary protection. For your safety, it is mandatory to wear steel toe capped safety boots when undertaking a course in the Forge. You must provide your own footwear and bring them with you to wear on the course. If you fail to bring suitable footwear, you will not be able to take part in the course. Safety boots can be purchased from most tool hire shops and builders’ merchants, as well as online.
  • You must wear goggles (provided) and suitable protective clothing for this course. Leather aprons, welding gauntlets, goggles, welding helmets and ear defenders can be borrowed from the Forge or you can bring them along if you have them. If, for example, you have particularly large or small hands, your own leather work gloves are likely to be a better fit.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art and craft materials.

Additional information

Please note: This course will be in the Forge, which is a 10-minute walk from the main house through the walled garden or can be accessed by car. You should arrive by 8:50am for registration at the Main House, to ensure you can walk/be directed over to the forge at 9:05am for a 9:15am start. Classes are from 9:15am – 5pm. As this course is held in the Forge, morning coffee and afternoon tea will be held in the nearby Carrington Studio. You will return to the main house for lunch. Please note that tutor supervision is always required when you are working in the Forge. The tutor’s instruction on health and safety will include access to and use of the power hammer.


Thomas Gontar Positive Loop

Thomas Gontar

Thomas Gontar has been practicing as an artist blacksmith since 2013, working on a wide variety of projects including sculptural work, architectural work and furniture design. Thomas moved into Glynde Forge in May 2016, where he is now based.

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