Blacksmithing – knobs, knockers and handles with Andrew Smith

Ref: SWE13128

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About this course

Explore how to make door knobs, door knockers and handles in metal. Learn and develop your blacksmithing techniques.

Course Description

You will explore the making of door knobs, door knockers and door handles in metal.

The technical focus of this course is upon practicing those metalwork techniques which lend themselves to making these domestic scale objects.

The structure of the course will be through guided demonstration and example, followed by student practice and application. Different approaches and ideas will be explored and shown, leading towards a finished object(s). You should be able to produce at least one of the objects in the main categories of door knobs, door knockers and handles.

A range of techniques will be demonstrated by the tutor and then practiced individually, such as curving, spiralling, cutting, bending, tapering and shaping using a variety of tools and methods to hot and cold form the metal.

By the end of the course, you should be able to understand, practice and use metal techniques and feel more confident with understanding how these techniques are applied to creative metalwork. You should be able to confidently undertake further explorations of this fascinating and rewarding craft.


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


  • All fuel costs and mild steel stocked by the College.
  • 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 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 selection of art materials including sketchbooks, pencils, rubbers.

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. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout steel toecap safety covered footwear.


Andrew Smith

Andrew, an experienced artist, craftsman and tutor, has a BA (Hons) from West Surrey College of Art and Design and an MA from the Royal College of Art. He has a large portfolio of architectural and public art commissions, from sculpture to functional metalwork. Andrew has substantial teaching experience at University level and has been teaching metalwork at West Dean College since 1987.


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

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in metalwork?

Our Foundation Degree in Metalwork will enhance your employment prospects, give you the skills to set up as a self-employed craftsperson or allow you to continue to higher education. Encompassing both silversmithing and blacksmithing, you will learn practical skills, material properties, placing your work in a broader context and historic metalworking techniques. Find out more