Introduction to Medieval blacksmithing with Joe Tyler

Ref: SLW33523

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About this course

Learn fundamental blacksmithing skills and create histo r ical replicas/influenced items for the home such as arrow heads, cooking utensils, household items.

Course Description

This course is aimed to introduce you to the basic skills in the ancient craft of Blacksmithing.

The aim is that you will create various items throughout the three-day experience immersing yourself into the world of forging with projects such as, arrowhead making, candle holders, cooking utensils and tool making.

You will be introduced to various skills including forging, tapering, forming, joinery, hot cutting, fire welding, heat treating, hardening and tempering.

On the first evening you will meet your tutor and discuss general ideas you may have.

Day 1: You will learn how to control the fire and cover basic techniques of forging, forming punching whilst creating a few items along the way. The typical items would be hooks, key rings and arrow heads.

By the end of the first day, you and your tutor will have a greater understanding of what you would like to achieve over the rest of the course according to your skill level.

Day 2: You will be introduced to further skills of fire-welding and joinery to enable more difficult projects such as candle holders, hinges and cooking utensils.

Day 3: This day you can either complete the piece already started to create a more complex item using joinery, fire welding and punching techniques. For example, hanging brackets, a set of door hinges or decorative handle holders. You could also choose this day to continue making previous items and see progression in standards.

By the end of the course you will have accumulated and practiced many of the techniques introduced and created several interesting items to take home with you.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply all of the materials including all fuel costs and mild steel such as 8mm square steel for decorative hanging chains, 6mm flat steel for hinges, 10mm round steel for arrow heads, 10mm square steel, slitting discs and beeswax.
  • Leather aprons, welding gauntlets, goggles, welding helmets and ear defenders can be borrowed from the Forge.

What students need to bring

  • You will need to wear clothing suitable for workshop use, together with steel toe capped boots. Please note that cotton or woollen 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 it 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. 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.


Joe Tyler - Tutor at West Dean College

Joe Tyler

Joe Tyler trained at the National School of Blacksmithing, Herefordshire. Joe’s interests lie in history, especially ancient crafts, and all types of metal work from historical and traditional to contemporary. 
Joe carries out demonstrations and talks all year round in various locations across the UK on blacksmithing in the Saxon period as well as modern blacksmithing techniques. 


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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